Paula Foley grew up in a small town and dreamed of becoming an advertising and marketing executive because she so admired Larry Tate’s character on the old television sitcom “Bewitched.” But like most of us, our dreams change as we grow older, just as they did for that young girl who is now Pine City Schools’ new superintendent.
Foley’s interests shifted over time, and rather than follow in Larry Tate’s footsteps into an advertising career, she decided to follow in her parents’ footsteps instead and chose a career in education. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in curriculum development and gifted education from St. Cloud State University and continued her education by completing the coursework for her PhD in the area of organizational leadership. She went on to teach classes in school administration at St. Mary’s and at Concordia in Oregon as an adjunct professor. Prior to accepting the superintendent position in Pine City, Foley served as principal at schools in the St. Cloud area and most recently as the superintendent at Warroad, Minnesota.
Foley grew up in Montgomery, Minnesota, a small town about 45 miles south of the Twin Cities. While in the second grade at Montgomery Elementary, she met Chris Foley. By the time she and Chris were in junior high school, they knew they were meant to be together, and unlike her dreams of becoming an advertising mogul, that dream became reality when she and Chris were married in 1985. Now 36 years later, they have three grown children and are expecting their first grandchild in May.
Family is very important to Paula and her husband Chris, and although their family has traveled to all 50 states, she says the traveling and vacations were not about where they were going as much as it was about spending time together. Spending time with family includes their extended families as well. In fact, in her entire life, there have been only two Christmases that she has not woken up in her old bedroom in Montgomery on Christmas morning, and since her parents still live there, she plans to wake up there this coming Christmas morning too.
Superintendent Foley says she is excited about living and working in Pine City. She and her husband enjoy walking around the town, visiting with their neighbors and watching the wildlife in their backyard. At school she is looking forward to new adventures in education, working with the staff at school and meeting people in the community. She truly understands that working with kids in today’s world, whether in teaching, parenting, or some other capacity, has changed a great deal through the years, but she remains optimistic about public education in the United States and specifically in Pine City.
“Everything you’d want a child to have is here,” she says, “and kids are capable of doing remarkable things.”
Like the rest of us, Paula understands the last couple of years have been hard for everyone and that education in particular has been difficult, but she believes that adversity itself can be a learning experience, and that “from our struggles comes our self-esteem.”