TCU principal wins award


Since 2006, when Alan Fitterer was hired as a high school principal here, he has seen a lot of changes: The construction of the Lonsdale Elementary School; superintendents who have come and gone; the building of the high school; the housing of K-12 students all in one building while the high school was being built; the consolidation of the Montgomery-Lonsdale and Le Center School Districts; and bringing together all of those high school students.
Fitterer’s accomplishments and work were recognized last month when he was named the Southwest Division Principal of the Year for the MN Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP).
According to last year’s principal of the year for the Southwest division, Kevin Enerson of Le Sueur Henderson, members of the division are able to nominate candidates, who then fill out an application with their accomplishments as principals. The executive committee then makes the selection. He said Fitterer was nominated by his peers and selected to be the SW Division Principal of the Year.
“Alan's hard work and leadership in the consolidation of two districts and the formation and organization of a new high school demonstrates his skills as a principal,” said Enerson. “The South West MASSP is proud to present him with this award.”
Fitterer said he is honored and flattered by the award.
“It is always very nice to be recognized by your principal peers.  It means a lot to me, but hopefully as much, or more to the Tri-City United community as a whole,” he said. “Each and every day, TCU is getting recognized for all that we have accomplished as a district over the past couple of years: the consolidation and its positive effects on the educational growth of our young people; the new buildings, especially our incredible Tri-City United High School with its 21st Century Technology, wonderful athletic and arts facilities, and the sheer beauty due to the color scheme throughout. Whenever I attend a meeting or an event out-of-district, people love to say ‘T-C-U’ to me. The catchy name and our school colors has helped greatly with the brand that we have worked hard to let the world know about. All is really coming together nicely!”
TCU Superintendent Matt Helgerson has worked with Fitterer during the construction of high school, and then during the consolidation process. It was a huge transition that brought about many changes, but Helgerson said Fitterer handled all of them well.
“It was a tremendous undertaking. Alan inherited 200 students and had to build a brand new (teaching and class) schedule from scratch while incorporating traveling staff between three buildings. He handled all of the purchasing for the new high school and stayed on budget while bringing in a fresh new look,” Helgerson said. 
In addition to all of that, Fitterer also has had the immense task of creating schedules, classes, new programs at TCU, at the same time keeping students from both districts under control in TCU for the first time in 2012.
“I'm especially proud of his leadership in obtaining the Project Lead the Way grant in the amount of $35,000. This is a program that will benefit many students at TCU,” Helgerson said of Fitterer’s work.
In the middle of all the activity and business that Fitterer has accomplished, you can’t forget his basic, most core reason he is at TCU: to manage the high school and the students, something that has not changed before TCU, or even before Fitterer moved to the area in 2006. He said it is the unpredictability of his day-to-day job that keeps his days fresh.
“Teens are teens ... whether attending high school at TCU HS in Montgomery, high school in California or Georgia, or even in Switzerland. Teens across our wonderful world do ‘things’; not always the kind of things that parents, teachers, or principals want them to do.  That alone is one of the neatest aspect of this job as a principal -- there are never 2 days that are ever the same and the sheer unpredictable nature of teens, which is funny because that is the constant, the consistent piece -- that ‘unpredictability’.  I don't see this so much as a challenge that hasn't changed because there have always been teenagers who do unpredictable things, but more of as an opportunity ... the opportunity to change lives for the positive; to help a young person experience life, its heartaches, and its successes; and to assist young people to get from point A to point Z as safe and healthy as possible (knowing that many young people taking many, many detours when on that road from A to Z).  I guess ‘the challenge’ would be to do this as best as possible day in and day out and try to keep the message moving forward; instead of dwelling on the past.”
Among Fitterer’s many  highlights in his career with the local high school, he said the successful vote for the building bond by the public that resulted in an incredible new high school ranks toward the top. He added that the consolidation of the two school districts follows and the opening and first day of the TCU High School on September 4, 2012.
The MASSP is made up of eight divisions, each which names a Principal of the Year. Those eight winners are then screened, and one is selected Minnesota Principal of the Year. That principal is then part of the selection process for National Principal of the Year.