A transition is taking place in the Redwood Area School District.

Since 2009 Kelly Lutgen has worked for the school district, with her most recent role as director of the community education program.

That role is coming to an end, as Lutgen has opted to move on from that role. She announced that decision several months ago, and in the meantime has been working with her replacement, Celest Stang, who takes over that role as Lutgen steps aside.

Lutgen’s last official day was June 27, but she said she will be in and out through the rest of the week finishing up a few things.

Lutgen actually began her role for the district working with publications and as the assistant to the activities and community education director, but over time she has taken on more responsibility.

In the end she has been overseeing community education, which includes everything from preschool programming to youth and adult enrichment programs. She also takes care of the school’s Web site and helps put together brochures and the calendar.

Lutgen said her background is in mass communications, adding the opportunity to work with the publications portion of her initial role is what drew her back to her hometown. 

Lutgen, a St. Cloud State University graduate with a degree in mass communications with a minor in graphic design, returned to Redwood Falls, adding she is very grateful for the opportunity the school district provided for her to grow as new challenges came her way.

She received her community education director licensure as her role evolved, adding she has really loved being involved in so many different programs serving the youngest to the oldest in the community.

Lutgen said the community is very fortunate to have programs through community education that offer everything from classes for preschool children and their families to adults with topics as varied as painting and fishing. She is especially proud of the work she was able to do to provide the community with bus trips to enhance cultural exposure, adding the collaboration with other schools made it possible for people to visit places they might not have ever seen any other way.

During her time in her role as community education director, Lutgen has also enhanced the youth enrichment programs, as they now offer things such as robotics and trap shooting as options for students.

Lutgen said she is really going to miss the people she has worked with at the school and in the community, adding the staff and administration in the local school district have been wonderful.

Lutgen added she has really appreciated the community connections she has been able to make over the past few years and is hoping to maintain those connections in the future.

Lutgen said the decision to move on is based primarily on her family, as she wants to spend more time with her kids as they grow up. She will also be spending more time with her husband in his business Northland Lumber and Supply, which has locations in Fairfax and Redwood Falls.

Through that role Lutgen said she will still have the chance to be involved in the community in various ways.

“The timing was just right,” said Lutgen, adding the transition has been ideal as Celest Stang, also a Redwood Falls native, moves into the role.

“This community has been wonderful, and I have enjoyed being part of it,” said Lutgen, adding she is confident that Stang will step in and do a great job in the role.

Stang, who also is a graduate of St. Cloud State University, said all along she had a desire to work in athletics administration.

However, over the years as she worked in media relations at St. Cloud State and had exposure to early childhood programs as a parent, she saw the value in making herself more marketable.

She returned to the classroom and earned her community education licensure.

Stang, who officially takes over next week, has been working in transition with Lutgen and the rest of the school district since the end of December 2016 working in various roles to help learn the position.

“It has been great working with Kelly, Rick Ellingworth and the school board during the transition,” said Stang, adding everyone has been very supportive along the way.

Stang expressed how valuable she thinks Lutgen has been in her role taking the program from its infancy to what it is offering today.

“She has helped to build a great program,” said Stang. “It really is incredible when you think about what she has done.”

Stang said she is excited about the opportunity she has been given to take on this new role, admitting she has some pretty big shoes to fill.