New principal takes over at K-M Elementary School
Courtney Frie’s official start date for her new job is July 1, but she’s so excited that she’s already getting started. Frie is the new principal at Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School, and is taking over from Ariana Wright who is leaving the position June 30.
Wright will be the next superintendent in Lake City, and Frie said she’s honored to be taking over from an esteemed colleague in such a well-regarded school district as K-M.
“My husband and I always said K-M is a destination district,” Frie said. “I’m so excited to stay on with the same administrative team that I’ve been with this last year.”
Frie was hired last year at K-M High School as teaching and learning coordinator. Her past jobs within the field of education have included teaching positions as well as principal posts.
Her husband Jeremy was hired last spring to be superintendent of Dover-Eyota Public Schools so she and her family moved from Minneota, Minnesota, to Eyota.
“My husband is a Byron grad so we had always hoped to move back to the Rochester area,” Frie said.
“Now to be the elementary principal at Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School, I’m really excited to stay in the Kasson-Mantorville school district,” she said. “It was a huge opportunity. I loved being in the district last year. I absolutely loved the high school but I had elementary experience and said if an elementary position ever came open I would love the opportunity to apply. I got that opportunity this year when Ms. Wright got the superintendent job in Lake City.”
She completed the final interviews for the principal post on May 8, and found out on May 10 that she’d been selected as the next elementary school principal.
Frie grew up in Okoboji, Iowa, and graduated from high school there before going on to study at the University of South Dakota where she got a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She graduated in 2000 and then went on to get a master’s degree from the same university. Her master’s is in curriculum and instruction with an elementary education focus.
She pursued additional education at Minnesota State University, Mankato, with an education specialist degree in school administration, and she obtained her K-12 principal license as well.
Frie began her education career in Yuma, Ariz., and then moved to Medford, where she taught from 2002 to 2013. Then it was onto Minneota, where she taught for a year. From there she became principal at Lincoln Elementary in Ivanhoe, Minnesota, and Lakeview Elementary School in Cottonwood, Minnesota, before coming to KMHS last year.
“I really think K-M does a lot of things really, really well,” she said. “We have a huge commitment to excellence, and I’m excited to continue that work. I see teachers who are super dedicated to their students. There’s pride in the community for our school. I’m super excited to be able to lead at such an amazing elementary school as this one at Kasson-Mantorville.”
What makes K-M special, Frie said, is that everyone is rooting for each other to succeed. She said there’s “complete pride” for people to be from K-M, and that “really resonates with me.”
Frie is from a family of educators, and said she felt the tug to go into the field as well. “I knew at a young age that I wanted to work with kids and be a teacher,” she said. “I never thought I’d be an administrator but I had an amazing mentor who encouraged me to get my principal license.”
Being an educator, she said, isn’t just a career. “It’s literally who I am,” she said.
She has high expectations and is a communicator by nature. She considers herself more of a “servant leader” than one who stands out in front of others.
“I like to give accolades to people doing the work,” she said, “for the kids and the teachers. It’s just an honor to be their leader in the Kasson-Mantorville Elementary School building.”
Outside of work, Frie has been married to Jeremy for 22 years and they have three kids. Abby, 19, is following in her parents’ footsteps and going to college for education. Then she has Sam, 16, and Anndi, 12, both of whom are students in the Dover-Eyota school district.
The parents work hard at work/life balance, Frie said, and spend a lot of time in gyms or on fields cheering on their athletic children. The family also loves fishing and to travel. They’re sports nuts at their house, she said, and cheer for the Vikings, and the Twins.
The Frie family lives in Eyota.
“It’s truly an honor to be K-M Elementary’s next principal,” Frie said. “Ms. Wright was an incredible leader and I feel honored and fortunate to be following her and learning from her.”
Photo: Courtney Frie