SHERWOOD PARK – In various Catholic school systems, Michael Hauptman has assumed many roles, including student, parent, teacher, administrator and trustee.
Soon he will be the superintendent and CEO for Elk Island Catholic Schools.
Based in Sherwood Park, Elk Island serves 16 schools and over 5,800 students in Camrose, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville and Strathcona County.
Hauptman's goal is to provide leadership and support to a talented group of trustees, administrators, staff, parents and especially students.
His start date as superintendent is May 1. Until then, he continues as deputy superintendent at Evergreen Catholic Regional School Division, based in Spruce Grove.
"One of things you need to do anytime you take on a new role, when you move to a new jurisdiction, is taking the time to listen."
"Basically, listen to the stories and talk about the things they are excited about, what are the opportunities, the celebrations," Hauptman said in an interview.
He will also listen to people's frustrations and determine what they want to see changed to help students in their learning and faith formation.
"Elk Island has amazing results in terms of student learning. But we all know that the nemesis of great is good, so how do we move to that next step?" he said.
Hauptman's hometown is St. Albert and park ranger was his first profession, which entailed instructing others about the outdoors.
With cutbacks in that industry, he took another career path. Already being a teacher of nature, he became a teacher in the classroom.
At the University of Alberta, Hauptman's teaching focus was on individual differences, working with special needs children.
He worked more than 22 years in education as a teacher, assistant principal, technology resource facilitator and principal throughout Alberta, including St. Vincent and St. Michael schools in Edmonton.
When the latter was the recipient of a fitness award, "the certificate came in the mail awarded to St. Michael Hauptman School. Obviously they didn't realize that Hauptman wasn't a saint," he joked.
He was employed seven years with Edmonton Catholic Schools, then another seven with Pembina Hills.
"I missed being part of a Catholic jurisdiction, and went to St. Albert Catholic, back as an administrator. I actually landed up as a principal of the school where I went for my elementary education, Albert Lacombe School," said Hauptman.
There, he found that many of his childhood classmates were now parents of the students.
He also worked three years as a senior education manager with Alberta Education Field Services.
Hauptman holds a bachelor of education degree as well as a master of education degree, with a focus on student success through relationships.
Hauptman plans to incorporate exceptional elements that he has learned in other jurisdictions into his new role.
"You look at some of the best experiences, programs and procedures, and you try to carry that with you. But you also look at the things that did not work, and what might not have been successful, and learn from your mistakes," said Hauptman.
He and his wife Marie have three children together. They spend time traveling the world and relaxing at their cabin.