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New American Falls superintendent talks future plans

A week ago, Randy Jensen was selected as the new superintendent for the American Falls school district. Jensen was one of three finalists after about a three-month search to narrow it down.

“I was just real happy.”

“It’s just another challenge.”

Those were just a few thoughts that ran through Jensen’s mind when he learned he would be the next superintendent for American Falls.

Jensen will take over for current superintendent Ronald Bolinger, who has held the position for 22 years but is ready to retire.

Jensen is no stranger to education himself. He has 32 years of experience in education and all of them spent in American Falls. He first started as a teacher and coach at William Thomas Middle School. Then for the last 28 years, he’s been the school’s principal.

He said becoming superintendent seemed like the next step for him. He has been thinking about becoming a superintendent for the last several years and he’s excited to now get that chance.

Jensen said he has some plans he’d like to implement into the district. Some of those plans include more professional and technical education, more community involvement and more parent involvement at home.

“We want to focus on educating our community on the importance of parents working with their children prior to them even coming to school,” Jensen said. “We know that kids, much of their language acquisition is gained prior to coming to school and so if we can encourage parents to interact with their kids a lot, it’s a great thing.”

Jensen said the district has a solid academic program overall, but there are a few things he would like to fine tune, including reading.

He said he also plans to work with local universities in the state to try and implement an adult education program for the community.

There’s also another issue that Jensen said he wants to pursue – a new high school gym.

“If you ever try to schedule a gym in our town in the months of December, January, February, even into March, it’s pretty difficult,” Jensen said. “So we know we really do need another gym.”

A bond for a new gym was proposed on 2016 ballots but failed to get the super majority needed. So Bolinger and the school board decided to defer the gym bond and focus on getting the bond for a new school passed first.

The bond for a new elementary school did pass so now Jensen said the gym is something they can look at again. He would like to look at trying to lower the cost and see what other changes could be made to help it along.

He said he loves American Falls and he looks forward to his future as superintendent.

“I’m just real grateful for the opportunity I have to be the superintendent here,” he said. “It’s a great school district and a really nice community and I just think you’re going to see some great things from us here in the next ten years.”

Jensen also added that he feels Bolinger has done a great job and been a great asset to the district. Jensen said Bolinger will be missed in the role.

Jensen will officially take over as superintendent in July.

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