Heath Larson will pilot Chester school
By JANE UTECHT, Staff Reporter
In his spare time, Heath Larson likes to hunt and fish, so his move to Chester this spring is a perfect fit for the longtime educator.|
Professionally it was also a perfect fit, an ideal opportunity for the Cresbard native to move up to the next stage in his career as superintendent at Chester Area School, replacing Mark Greguson. His first official day was Monday.
Larson comes to Chester with coaching, administrative and classroom experience. After graduating from Northern State University, Larson started his career in Colman-Egan as a teacher and coach, spending seven years with the Hawks. He moved to Brookings and taught fifth grade for two years as he got his master's degree in education leadership. He then moved to Pierre, where he was principal at Buchanan Elementary for eight years.
When the superintendent position came up in Chester, Larson knew of the strong reputation of the school district, "so I felt good about the opportunity here in Chester."
The main strength he sees in the district is the community support for the school. Larson has been in town for only a month and has already seen that "people are proud of their school."
The community has also been welcoming and friendly to his family, which includes his wife Misty and their three children. Misty will be teaching high school math in Chester. Cade will be a freshman, Makenna will be starting 6th grade in the fall, and Emery will be a kindergartner.
One of the challenges Larson expects to face at Chester will be starting the school year with a completely new administrative staff. Besides the superintendent's spot, both principal positions will be staffed by new people when classes begin in August.
"Change is hard, but it can also be exciting," Larson said. "I look to be progressive and move the Chester Area School District forward."
Building relationships with the staff and community are Larson's top priorities as he takes over as superintendent, but he is also looking forward to learning more about the cyber school offered by Chester. This educational outlet is "a creative approach to instruction," something that the public will likely see more and more of in education, Larson said.
He also expects that he may not have much time for another of his hobbies: traveling.
"A good vacation," Larson said, "is one where nobody wants to leave."
He's hoping his time in Chester will be like a good vacation, a place where he will be so comfortable he won't want to leave.