July 7, 2020

ISD 709 News

Welcome New District and School Leaders

On July 7, the Duluth School Board approved the hire of Anthony Bonds as Assistant Superintendent and Jen Larva as Interim Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Duluth Public Schools.

“With key positions within our district leadership team open, we were faced with the task of determining the most thoughtful way to fill these roles for both the short and long term,” said John Magas, Superintendent.

The hiring process included application review, background and reference checks, a performance task and two rounds of interview, the last with input from a diverse team which provided feedback on leadership qualities through survey.

“We had an amazing pool of candidates, especially in the final round, and the decision of who to select was difficult,” said Magas. “Choosing when all of the candidates were highly skilled and qualified to serve in the roles was challenging.”

The Duluth School District is also pleased to announce Joanna Walters as Assistant Principal at Denfeld High School. Ms. Walters replaces Tom Tusken, whose appointment to Principal for Denfeld was announced earlier this year.

“Educational leaders, whether at the school or district level, provide crucial support to children, staff and families,” said Magas. “Student success is directly impacted by their leadership.”

Anthony Bonds, Assistant Superintendent

Mr. Bonds comes to Duluth from the Anniston City School District where he served as Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction. In this position he was responsible for overseeing teaching, learning and innovation and supporting, managing and evaluating principals and district office directors. His experience includes Assistant Superintendent of Teaching, Learning & Innovation for the Beloit, WI School District, supporting programming and operations for thirteen schools including virtual learning and alternative programs. While there he supported and managed eighteen administrators at the building and district level. As Director of Elementary Education for Sun Prairie, WI, Mr. Bonds supported seven schools and 10 community sites, managed the district-wide gifted and talented program and professional development (PBIS, CCSS, PLCs and Continuous Improvement, among others). His experience includes Principal and Assistant Principal for the Wauwatosa School District and teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools.

Mr. Bonds expects to complete a Doctorate in K-12 Leadership from Edgewood College, WI in May 2021. He holds a Masters Degree in Administrative Leadership from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a Bachelors Degree in Biology and Chemistry from Morris Brown College.

Professional memberships include the National Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals, Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, Executive Board Member for Family Services Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois and National Association of Black School Educators, among others.

Jen Larva, Interim Director of Curriculum & Instruction

Ms. Larva’s most recent position is Principal at Lowell Elementary, where she collaborated with the MN Department of Education Regional Centers of Excellence to develop, implement and support practice profiles in reading and mathematics. She provided leadership throughout the launch and implementation of two language immersion programs at Lowell and addressed equity through the school’s continuous improvement team and use of the Tool for Educational Equity with staff and families.

Ms. Larva’s previous experience includes Director of School Improvement for Cloquet Public Schools where she implemented strategies for improving teaching and learning, managed Title and Title 2 programs and assisted in the planning and rollout of one-to-one technology devices for elementary students. She served as Principal in the Carlton school district where she implemented strategies to improve teaching and learning and developed an employee assessment process. She served as Classroom Teacher/Building Technology Coordinator for Cloquet Public Schools and Adjunct Professor for the College of St. Scholastica, providing graduate courses in the online certification program.

She holds an Education Specialists Degree and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Educational Administration from Saint Mary’s University, MN; a Masters of Education in Educational Computing and Technology from the University of MN - Duluth and a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education/Reading Instruction from St. Cloud State University.

She is a member of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, MN Elementary School Principal Association and a recipient of the MESPA Leadership Achievement Award, among others.

Joanna Walters, Denfeld HS Assistant Principal

Ms. Walters’s experience includes Dean of Students for Denfeld High School, Myers-Wilkins Elementary and Lincoln Park Middle Schools. She brings a wealth of experience working and communicating with students, families and staff; addressing student behavior, supporting collaboration through the PLC process, problem solving through the MTSS framework and coordinating supervision and safety of students throughout the school day.

She’s served as Chair of the Attendance Action Team, Data Review Team and collaborated with Special Education staff to create a Continuum of Services program to support at-risk students.

As a music Instructor for Unity, Lincoln Park, Duluth East , Woodland Middle School, Morgan Park Middle School, Duluth Central High School and Lowell Elementary she taught Orchestra, Choir and World Percussion. She served in a leadership role both departmentally and school wide.

Ms. Walters holds a degree in Educational Administration from the University of MN – Duluth, a Masters of Arts in Education from the College of St. Catherine and a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from the University of MN – Duluth.

She’s served as a member of the PBIS Team, Member of the Continuous Improvement Team, Chair of the Climate Committee, Chair of the Data Review Team, Chair and Member of the Duluth Central Site Council, Secretary of the District Music Committee, Member of the High School Issues Committee, among others.

Free Breakfast & Lunch Available Through the Summer!

This information is also available online and via flyer.

Bagged meals available weekdays to Duluth students 18 years of age and younger. No paperwork necessary. Any student can pick up a meal at any location.

July 1 - August 21, 2020

Distribution at the following school sites & bus hubs:

School Locations 11:00AM – 12:30PM

Laura MacArthur Elementary, 720 N. Central Avenue

Lowell Elementary, 2000 Rice Lake Road

Myers-Wilkins Elementary, 1027 N. 8th Avenue East

Piedmont Elementary, 2827 Chambersburg Avenue

Stowe Elementary, 715-101st Avenue W.

Denfeld High School, 401 N. 44th Avenue W.

Bus Hubs (Look for the School Bus)

9:50AM 88th Ave West @Hilton Street

10:14AM 9428 Grand Ave/East Entrance Lower Side

10:55AM 3614 Grand Avenue Wheeler Field

Distribution sites are selected based on USDA Summer Meal program requirements.

Questions? 218-336-8707. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


Get Help Buying Food While Schools Are Closed

This program, called P-EBT, is for students who are normally able to get free or reduced price school meals. Eligible families will receive a lump sum of $325 per child plus an additional $100 per child in August.

Children may continue to receive "grab n go" meals or emergency food at COVID-19 emergency feeding sites offered by schools and community locations, even if they are receiving P-EBT benefits. Apply by July 31.

Apply Here

From the ISD 709 Special Education Department:

Family Voice of Minnesota: COVID Support

Family Voices of Minnesota is available to help families raising children and youth with special healthcare needs (CYSHCN) find needed support and services with their professionally-trained parent-to-parent network.

Website: www.familyvoicesofminnesota.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FamilyVoicesMN/

Phone: 1-866-334-8444


Denfeld Yale Book Award
Keegan Chastey, Denfeld High School, is a recipient of the Yale Book Award. The Yale Alumni Club asks schools to present the Award to a junior, based on intellectual promise and outstanding character. Counselors at Denfeld chose Keegan as this year’s recipient, congratulations!
#Inspire709 #HunterPride

Duluth East MN National History Day Success

Natalie Miller, Duluth East High School, received the Gold Medal in Senior Paper: "Too Strong for a Woman: How Bernice Sandler Created Title IX to Break Barriers for Female Faculty in Higher Education. Natalie also received a scholarship to the National History Academy in Summer 2021.
Erin Coleman, Duluth East, took 6th place in Senior Paper for "Breaking Barriers in Public Health: John Snow and London's 1854 Cholera Epidemic, congratulations!
Theme for the 2020 Virtual National History Day competition: Breaking Barriers in History.
Thanks to Mr. Tracey, Mrs. Fuller, Ms. Andrews, Ms. Jensen and Ms. Nachbar for offering History Day and supporting this learning opportunity.

Duluth News Tribune
#Inspire709 #GoHounds

Duluth East Grad Profile

2020 Duluth East grad Sarah Spencer, on playing for Duluth Northern Stars and helping others through Circle of Friends...

#Inspire709 #GoHounds

Hunters Giving Back to Community

Denfeld Girls Soccer Team, helping out with the annual Grandma's Marathon Cleanup...


#Inspire709 #HunterPride

Sharing Drum Making Skills, Many Thanks

Joe Montano of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa traveled to Denfeld where he presented a workshop with Denfeld and Duluth East students and grads. It's the completion of a hand drum lesson begun in March. Jordan Hurdknapp, Austin Sundquist and Nicholas Grayhawk are among those who took part at Public Schools Stadium.

Many thanks to Mr. Montano for sharing his knowledge.

Thanks, JP Rennquist & Hunter Pride DHS Twitter, for the photos.

#Miigwech #CommunitySupport #Inspire709



Thank You, Donors

Many thanks for funding a t-shirt for every Denfeld student last year! This was one way we were able to make an unprecedented year even more unforgettable for each student! #Inspire709 #CommunitySupport #thesupercavlives


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