ROSEMOUNT, Minn. – Mary Kreger officially took over as interim superintendent of Independent School District 196 on July 1. She replaces Jane K. Berenz, who retired June 30 after leading the state’s fourth largest school district for the past nine years.
Kreger has been the district’s director of special education and a member of the superintendent’s cabinet since 2005. In that role, she supervised seven coordinators who oversee the district’s health services and special education programs, with approximately 900 teachers, paraprofessionals and other special education staff who serve more than 4,200 students receiving special education services in the district’s 35 schools and learning centers. Prior to coming to District 196, Kreger worked for South Washington County Schools for 13 years as a special education teacher, coordinator and supervisor. She started her career in Minnesota as a substitute teacher, working in Minneapolis, Lakeville and District 196.
“I love this district,” Kreger said. “My three kids graduated from District 196 schools, so I know personally what a difference being educated in District 196 has made in their lives.”
“I am so grateful to have been with such a wonderful superintendent for these last nine years. Superintendent Berenz has left us with a culture of continuous improvement that is going to launch us into the future. We have the systems, we have the supports in place in this district and most importantly, we have the people. I am absolutely humbled and honored to serve as interim superintendent and I am confident we will continue to do great things for all of our kids.”
Berenz announced her plans to retire in March. Since there would not be time to conduct a comprehensive search process with community involvement before the start of the school year this fall, the School Board elected to appoint Kreger as the interim superintendent for the 2018-19 school year. Kreger worked alongside Berenz for the last three months to ensure a smooth transition in leadership for the district. The interim special education director position is being filled by Janet Fimmen, who has worked in District 196 since 2000, the last nine years as a special education coordinator.
Kreger has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Luther College and earned her master’s degree in special education, specialist degree in education administration and superintendent licensure from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She currently serves on the Minnesota Special Education Advisory Panel as an appointee of the Minnesota Department of Education.