Dave Anderson returns to WAPS as WMS principal

Dave Anderson smiles in a hallway of WMS

For Dave Anderson, deciding to return to Winona Area Public Schools came down to one thing.

The people. 

Anderson, who served as the assistant principal at Winona Senior High School from 2011-2015, has returned to the district as the next principal of Winona Middle School. His hiring was unanimously approved by the school board on Thursday night.

“I had several colleagues from when I was here that approached me and talked to me about applying,” said Anderson, who was the Grades 7-12 principal with Zumbrota-Mazeppa Public Schools since 2015. “They stressed how good the middle school staff was, a group and building I had very limited interaction with when I was AP at the high school. After I went through the interview process, the feeling of support and being wanted to be the next middle school principal was apparent, so making the move back here was an easy decision.”

Anderson most strongly remembers the relationships with students and colleagues during his previous time at WAPS. 

“It sounds cliche, but WAPS really does have a family feel to it,” Anderson said. “The people were genuine. When they asked personal questions about what you were up to — your weekend, your family — it wasn’t small talk.”

Anderson said his time at Z-M “seasoned” him and gave him the experience necessary to return to WAPS as the middle school principal. 

His work has already started. 

Anderson has been meeting with a committee of staff members that is working to implement Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) at the middle school. 

“Having staff that want to be in the building on July 5, when they could easily still be basking in the July 4th holiday, speaks volumes about their commitment to WAPS,” Anderson said. “We have some work to do this year with some intentional programming, but I think they are ready to put last year and the pandemic era behind them and get back to normalcy.”

Aside from PBIS implementation, Anderson is looking forward to listening to the stories from staff, students and families. 

“I want to hear all the pros and cons and how we can work together to address their concerns and continue to make WMS as good as it can be,” he said. 

Anderson and his wife are both Winona State University graduates. They have a son who is going to be a sophomore at the University of Denver.