John Reeves began school in Monticello in fourth grade.
The longtime Monticello teacher and administrator attended elementary school, middle school, and high school under the red, white and black of the Monticello school system.
After four years of college at Northwestern University, Reeves returned home to Monticello as a 9th grade social studies teacher for 13 years before assuming the position of assistant high school principal four years ago.
But as they say, all good things must come to and end.
Reeves will begin the 2020-21 school year five miles east of Monticello as principal of St. Michael-Albertville High School.
It’s a natural progression for a man who was raised in a teaching family.
Reeve’s dad was a teacher in the Robbinsdale School District. His mom was a lifelong para-professional in the schools. His brother is a teacher at Monticello Middle School. He has a sister teaching in South Minneapolis.
“As a family, education is something we value,” Reeves said.
Being part of the Monticello school system for most of his life as a student, teacher, administrator and basketball coach is also something of deep value to Reeves.
Reeves holds dear the years he spent co-teaching ninth grade social studies with Cole Deibele.
“Being a teacher is the best job I’ve ever had,” Reeves said.
That’s because he was on the front line with students and able to be an influence in their future.
“We brought meaningful learning to the students,” Reeves said of his teaching relationship with Deibele.
Reeves can’t say he didn’t miss teaching as he moved up the ladder into an administrative role.
But at the same time, the 13 years spent as a teacher prepared him to be an administrator.
“I felt fortunate to be an administrator with a teacher’s perspective,” he said.
Many thought Reeves would make the move into the role of an administrator much earlier in his career, he said.
“There were people (in Monticello) who saw those skills in me and they wanted me to follow the path towards being an administrator,” he said.
However, Reeves reacher out to friends in the educational world who were friends of his father, the lifelong teacher.
“They said I should pause, because the time in the classroom would serve me well,” Reeves said.
“That’s what I did, and that decision made me a better administrator,” he said.
When Reeves made the move to assistant high school principal four years ago, he recalls it being overwhelming at first.
“It was like drinking water from a fire hose,” Reeves said.
The expectation was that because Reeves rose to the rank of an administrator, he knew everything.
“The truth is, it took me three years to comfortable and confident,” he said.
There was no better opportunity for Reeves than the one he had at Monticello High School, he says.
Principal Mike Carr and Activities Director Gary Revenig took Reeves under their belts and created a great team.
“Mike saw the potential in me and gave me an opportunity,” he said. “That allowed me to learn from a great professional and one of my best friends.”
Having Revenig as part of the team made the job a lot of fun, and allowed the administrative team an avenue of reaching students in many meaningful ways.
Leaving Monticello for St. Michael-Albertville was a very emotional decision for Reeves and his family.
It’s not easy to leave the comfort of the only place he has really ever known.
“But a door to opportunity opened up,” Reeves said.
One never knows if such an opportunity ever presents itself again, so you have to run in head first, he said.
“Leaving is uncomfortable, but this is about an opportunity for growth,” Reeves said.
As Reeves prepares for his final days of feeling the magic at Monticello High School, he says he’s proud of what he’s leaving behind.
“The high school is in a sweet spot because we’ve created a culture here that people want to be a part of,” Reeves said.
“And as part of the leadership team, I’m proud to have had something to do with that,” he said.
The students and staff feel valued- and they are valued, he said.
“I’m proud of that, and proud that people want to be a part of that,” he said.
Reach Jeff Hage at firstname.lastname@example.org