For nearly 20 years, Dave Maurer has served as director of Community Education for the Cambridge-Isanti School District, and is proud of what the department has accomplished during that time.
Maurer, whose resignation was effective Oct. 23, 2020, but officially accepted during the Cambridge-Isanti School Board meeting on Dec. 17, 2020, said he was pleased to witness how Community Education has grown over the course of two decades. Community Education offers many programs such as Early Childhood Family Education, youth programs, Adventure Center child care, drivers education, adult programs and more.
“From the time that I came, what we offered, and the depth of what we offered, and the variety of what we offered just grew,” Maurer said. “I mean, our community grew as well, a lot of people moving in from the metro area, other areas, and those people all bring different interests.”
Maurer feels lucky to have hired great Community Education staff who have been versatile about the kinds of programs or ideas they come up with.
“They’re spot on in what they’re doing and what they’re offering, trying different things, learning different things, and offering different things for people to take if they want,” Maurer said. “Our whole early childhood program has just grown to be one of the better ones in the state.”
Maurer said Early Childhood coordinator Kim Goodmanson and Early Childhood family educator Angie Reed have been examples of excellent teachers in the Community Education program.
“I constantly was impressed by their dedication and commitment, and (I) kind of (looked) to make sure that they came up with ways to involve parents and young children and do the parent education,” Maurer said about Goodmanson and Reed’s work ethic. “And just all the things that young parents need, you know, connecting with each other, to meeting other young parents providing education and learning.”
His contributions to Community Education
Maurer used to be in charge of everything to do with the Community Education department, he said. For example, staffing, supervising staff, in charge of all the people who did the programming, registration, and all the financial aspects of the department.
“So the kind of main areas that I worked on were the whole financial aspect of community education,” Maurer said. “So the budget and overseeing that (was) obviously a key one. Another main area was supervising all of the staff performance reviews, giving guidance, giving encouragement, acknowledging success and accomplishments. That’s a big part of any kind of director or leadership position is the people.”
Through his involvement in Community Education, Maurer has met many members of the community who wanted to organize a local group to socialize in a productive fashion, he said. One example is the Community-Wide Read committee, which is composed of people who come together and read a book, discuss questions about their reading and invite Minnesota authors to give a talk, Maurer said.
“About 10 years ago, ... some community members came up with the idea of doing a community-wide read,” Maurer said. “And that was a logical thing for me to be involved in as a director of Community Education because it had the potential to impact a lot of people in the community. So I joined that committee and have been on it ever since. I’m actually continuing on as a community member volunteer with that committee.
“Sometimes we write grants to get speakers to come in,” Maurer continued. “Part of the event is we always try to get the author, we really focus and try to get Minnesota authors to come in … and do community presentation speaking event.”
One of the Minnesota authors that was invited in the past to speak about his book was Tim O’Brien, Maurer said.
“He’s written several books, he was in Vietnam, and wrote several books about the Vietnam War,” Maurer explained. “And this actually was featured in the PBS series that they had about Vietnam (War) as well. So we wrote a grant to get him to come in, and we brought him in. And that was a really, I think, a spectacular event.”
Maurer said Judith Kissner, owner of Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge, is the chair of the Community-Wide Read committee. Kissner has played a pivotal role in maintaining the committee and making sure the program continues, he said.
“Really none of this would happen if she wasn’t deeply involved in it,” Maurer said. “And … I’d like to do a shout out to her, because it’s just she’s so instrumental in the success of this.”
What Maurer is doing today
Since Oct. 27, 2020, Maurer has had more time to be with his friends, family and wife, he said.
“I went on a trip out to Montana with three friends, canoeing the Missouri River, doing a mule deer hunt — I didn’t hunt, I was just a camp Sherpa,” Maurer said.
“I’m taking the advice of many of my friends who retired, and they said, ‘Don’t over-commit in your first six months to a year, you know, just learn what it’s like to be retired,’” he continued. “So I feel so strongly about the Community-Wide Read, that I’m still going to be involved in.”