FAIRMONT - Her ever-present smile is testimony that Michelle Rosen loves her job as assistant principal at Fairmont Elementary School. Now she has another reason to smile.
Rosen has been chosen as the 2014 National Outstanding Assistant Principal in Minnesota by the Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association, a 950-member professional organization. She was singled out for the honor from about 100 assistant elementary principals in the state.
Rosen has been part of the Fairmont education community since 1992. She was attending Concordia College in Moorhead and was asked to apply for a teaching position by the Fairmont school system.
Michelle Rosen, assistant principal at Fairmont Elementary School, talks with Jose Diaz, a sixth-grader at the school.
"I didn't know where Fairmont was," she said.
She was hired to teach second grade, a position she held for seven years before switching to kindergarten. At the time, kindergarten classes were half-day, and Rosen was among those who worked to develop the all-day program.
She then went on to teach fifth grade and coordinate the district math program, finishing up her teaching career as a sixth-grade teacher.
"I ended up having some of the same kids in sixth grade that I had in kindergarten," she said.
During those years, Rosen studied at St. Mary's University, earning a master's degree in education and, in 2005, a degree in K-12 administration.
Five years later, she was asked to be principal at William Budd School during its last year of operation. When the elementary classes were consolidated into the present elementary building, Rosen segued into the role of assistant principal, with Jim Davison as principal.
"I love my job," she said. "I'm always happy and very positive.
Rosen has revamped and expanded the district's early childhood program, serving as its coordinator.
"I really think education starts from birth," she said. "We should all be lifetime learners. It only helps the whole education process."
Rosen's husband, Mark, farms near Sherburn. They have two adult children, a daughter in Seattle and a son in Duluth.