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Somerset Elementary welcomes new principal

New Somerset Elementary Principal Chris Kamrath moved into his office July 8 and has since busied himself with preparing for the upcoming school year. (Photo by Jenny Hudalla)

New Somerset Elementary Principal Chris Kamrath has arrived, and while he’s all set to decorate his office with books and pictures of his family, Kamrath is especially excited to unpack a more unique display: his extensive collection of Minnesota Twins bobbleheads.

The longtime baseball fan grew up in Twins territory, and his parents treated him to an afternoon at the ballpark every year for his birthday. But baseball isn’t the only thing that runs in the family -- Kamrath’s father served as a band director in Bloomer for years, and his sister teaches choir in Prescott.  

“I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in a school environment,” Kamrath said. “I love interacting with people.”

Indeed, Kamrath has spent most of his life in school. He taught fourth grade and Title One in Chippewa Falls for six years before serving as principal of G.D. Jones Elementary School in Wausau. After earning his master’s degree in reading education in 2009, Kamrath decided to pursue the final frontier: a doctorate degree in educational administration, which he received last year.

“I wanted to reach as high as I could,” Kamrath said. “That’s what I encourage students to do, and I wanted to make sure I did it, too.”

While Kamrath enjoyed his time in high school, college and graduate school, there’s just something about the elementary level that puts a smile on his face.

“I enjoy the energy and passion of the students,” he said. “It reminds me a lot of myself -- they’re excited to be here and excited for life, and that’s a nice thing to come to work to every day.”

Kamrath’s first day as principal was July 8, and he has spent most of his time learning the basics, asking questions and popping his head in classrooms to get to know as many people as possible. Kamrath said he is excited to explore the town beyond the school building as well.

Originally from Chetek, Kamrath was attracted to Somerset because of its cozy community. With a population of 2,656, Somerset is nearly identical in size to Kamrath’s hometown.

“Here, the staff aren’t just staff, they’re your neighbors,” Kamrath said. “I love the opportunities and commitment that I’ve already seen in the community.”

While he currently lives near Bass Lake with his wife, Sonja, and three sons, Kamrath said the family plans to move closer to the village at their first opportunity.

Besides his experience as a teacher and principal, Kamrath has also coached cross country, track and swimming, served on many town committees, and gleaned many lessons from fatherhood. These roles, Kamrath said, have equipped him with a multi-faceted perspective that he will carry with him into the school year.

“My goal is to make Somerset Elementary a positive place to be for students, staff and families,” Kamrath said. “A place where learning can thrive, where students have fun and get a great foundation that will continue on to the middle and high school level.”

Jenny Hudalla
A senior at Bethel University, Jenny Hudalla is pursuing degrees in journalism, Spanish and reconciliation studies. Having graduated from New Richmond High School in 2011, she served as editor-in-chief of the Tiger Rag before taking a job as editor-in-chief of Bethel's student newspaper, The Clarion. After completing her internship with the New Richmond News, Hudalla plans to move on to a career in social justice.
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