New staff at Sacred Heart Area School this year include Pat DiGiovanni, left, teaching fourth grade, new Principal Charles Durham, center, and kindergarten teacher Sara Kriefall. (Staples World photo by Mark Anderson)

Durham expresses appreciation for Catholic school format

“We have great kids and great staff,” Charles Durham said about the first two weeks of school as Sacred Heart Area School Principal. His first experience in education was with a Catholic school, and he is encouraged to be back at one.

“I really enjoyed it, Catholic schools tend to be high caliber academically and behaviorally,” he said.

By adding an element of faith to the core school subjects, “It’s a good combination,” he said.

A Brainerd native, Durham worked in the engineering field for 15 years after getting a degree in that field from NDSU. He then got his education degree and started teaching math at St. Francis in Brainerd. After that he taught high school math at the Onamia school district before coming to Sacred Heart.

“The principal job is different than being a teacher, where the job is to set routines and get through the curriculum,” said Durham. 

Much of his work is making sure the school meets the regulatory requirements and accreditation requirements for a private school. Durham said he will be evaluating the school’s curriculum later in the year.

In the meantime, Durham is looking forward to spending some time in the classrooms and working with kids and teachers. He said some of the best parts of the educational year are the special events that bring in parents and community members, and he is looking forward to the upcoming workathon, grandparents day, and events such as Veterans Day and the school’s Christmas program.

As he is making his way through his first chance to be a principal, Durham said “Not a day goes by when I’m not learning something.”

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