Principal Page

Maggie Maine Jefferson Elementary

At the end of her first presentation to parents as the principal of Jefferson Elementary School, Maggie Maine shared a quote from Benjamin Franklin.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

To Maine, it’s more than just a motivational quote. It’s a mantra. 

“I’m a relationship person,” said Maine, who took over as principal of Jefferson on Aug. 1, 2019. “When you have a relationship with someone, it’s easier to have those conversations. Building a relationship with the parents and students is really, really important to me.”

That’s because Maine knows the power of the student-educator relationship.

Maine said she had an “unconventional” childhood. Her parents divorced when she was young, and her mom owned her own business and worked a lot at night. Although her grandmother was around, Maine often had to look after her younger siblings.

“I had a teacher who really took me under her wing,” said Maine, who grew up in Bloomer, Wis., a small town about 30 minutes north of Eau Claire. “She was the FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences) teacher at the high school. I only knew her my senior year. But she really took the time to know who I was. She saw there was a piece that was missing from my life.”

That teacher’s name was Lisa Warren. And Maine said she “went above and beyond” to give her that missing piece.

And that didn’t stop after Maine graduated from Bloomer High School. During her freshman year at St. Cloud State University, Maine was going through a difficult personal experience. Warren and her family drove from Bloomer — a three-hour trip, one way — just to take Maine out to dinner.

“She just wanted to make sure I was OK,” she said. “‘You’re so far from home. You need something.’

“It gives me chills just thinking about it.”

That feeling has stayed with Maine throughout her collegiate and professional career. She got her teaching license in business education and spent the first seven years of her teaching career at Becker High School, about 25 minutes southeast of St. Cloud. 

“It wasn’t until my administrative work when I realized I love elementary school,” Maine said. “There’s just a different energy that those young kids have, and that teachers have for kids of that age.”

Pushed by her principal in Becker, Maine took a job at an elementary school in Sauk Rapids as the Dean of Students. 

It was a large school (1,200 students in grades K-5) and Maine primarily handled student behavior. But she was taken aback by the confidence the teachers placed in her.

“They were so open and receptive,” she said. “It caught me off guard. It was really neat that they trusted me to get to know their students. They were willing to try anything.”

Maine liked the job, but it didn’t have the administrative duties that come with being a principal — namely, working with teachers.

“I really want to work with kids,” Maine said, “but I also want to work with teachers to help them support more students.”

That is what the job at Jefferson Elementary provided, even if it meant uprooting her family and moving to a city she visited only once before.

“I had friends who went to Winona State and loved Winona, a lot of my high school kids in Becker went to Winona,” Maine said. “I thought there must be something really special about Winona.”

Maine has found that Winona has lived up to the hype — and so has Jefferson. She heard that the teaching staff was close at the school, something she has seen first-hand the last week as teachers drop everything to help each other get ready for the first day on Tuesday, Sept. 3. 

“They know so much about their students,” Maine said. “It’s amazing. I love it. It’s more than I ever expected.”

Maine and her family are getting adjusted to Winona. Her husband works in marketing, and the company he works for is letting him work from home. Her two children will be starting at Washington-Kosciusko the same time she’s greeting her first students of the year at Jefferson — and starting to grow the relationships that mean so much to her.

“I hope parents know that they can always talk to me,” Maine said. “It’s OK if they’re angry and they’re frustrated. I’m a parent, too. I always put my parent hat on and try to think ‘What would I feel like if I went through that with my child?’

“My door is always open.”

Maggie Maine

Jefferson Elementary School