ST. CLOUD -- District 742 welcomes a new superintendent later this week.

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Dr. Laurie Putnam becomes the new Superintendent of District 742 on July 1st. While she’s been the Assistant Superintendent for years, the promotion comes with a new set of responsibilities.

My first goal right now is to meet people. I have some real relationships in this community, but not as a superintendent. So I'll be out over the next couple of months, meeting with community leaders, civic leaders, higher education, with our principals. Just trying to build those relationships and hear from people.

Putnam has lived in the community and worked for the district for several years, but still sees the promotion as an opportunity to learn more from parents, business owners, and higher education officials.

I think one of my goals is to help people build trust with me. What do people have to say? Where do they see our challenges? What are their hopes?

Dr. Laurie Putnam succeeds Dr. Willie Jett II, who is stepping down after holding the position since 2013.

Putnam says the school is active, even in the summer. This summer she’ll be focusing on how students react after a very challenging couple of years.

I think we still need time to spend processing what has happened to us. Especially for our children, who don't yet have, at all ages, the brain development to process that disruption. I think that it is going to take us some time to rebuild that connection, to rebuild those expectations. Certainly, there were some lost social skills. So we're being very intentional about providing social, and emotional support, providing a clear structure for our kids. This is how we act. These are the expectations and not assume that our students know how to do the things at school that we ask them to.

The first day of school in District 742 is Tuesday, September 6th.

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