As Her Needs Changed, Anna's Journey Came Full Circle

When Anna Potvin graduated from Detroit Lakes High School, she “wanted to get away” and enrolled in the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, eventually earning a biology degree.

Anna loved living in the city 'burbs. Yet she has no regrets in making the decision to move back to the area she grew up. As a school principal, she's able to know each student by name. Awesome!

It’s what she needed at the time. “I loved the busy life” in the cities, she said.

Anna is now the high school principal of the Frazee-Vergas Public Schools.

Because that’s what she needs now.

Her story begins during her junior year of college working with a professor in a research lab. “I am a people person and I didn’t find that in a research position,” she said and quickly shifted gears. She had teachers in the family, so she went that route.

Anna earned a teaching license and found a job as a high school science teacher in Pine City, only minutes from the Twin Cities. For 10 years she taught students, then worked for two years with teachers as an instructional coach. During this time she earned licensure to be a school principal.

Anna was searching for principal jobs statewide when, in July of 2016 she interviewed with the Frazee-Vergas schools: only 10 miles from where she grew up. And Anna’s parents still lived in Detroit Lakes.

“I told them don’t be surprised if I would turn down an offer,” she told her folks as she wasn’t sure about moving so close to home.

But something happened; call it small town magic.

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“I came, and I loved the people. I had a good feeling about it,” she said. And even the principal of Pine City urged her to take the job. “He said ‘Come on, Anna, you have to take it. It’s God’s country.’”

Job accepted! “It felt strange coming home and at first I struggled,” Principal Potvin admits. “Would I recognize my classmates from Detroit Lakes, would I remember their names? Was there enough to do?”

Truth be told, any struggles were short-lived. “I got over the awkwardness of it pretty fast,” she laughs. “There is a lot to do around here. There are events year-round, stuff going on all the time.”

Anna always dreamed of being a lake home owner and the move checked that box. “I’m three and a half miles from school on a lake but it feels very rural,” she said.

And a smaller school has its advantages. “I like working in a small school. You get to know all the students’ names and the students are at the center of every decision we make,” she said. “I tell people I have the best job in the world.

“This is a special place to be.”

What does Live Wide Open mean for Anna? “The first thing that comes to mind is being open to new experiences. Being open to the opportunities presented to you.”

She continues. “This is such a great area to live. You’ve got nature, the country, outdoors, access to the arts, sports, festivals and the schools always have a lot going on. And we celebrate winter!”

Yes, that is something that needs to be done.