Jen Smith in moving onto bigger things in her career.

She wrapped up a 10-plus year career as Baldwin-Woodville’s Community education director last week and moving onto the City of River Falls where she’ll be their new Assistant City Administrator.

“I am drawn to Public Service and love serving people in that capacity,” she said, as she will be completing her master’s in Public Administration next month.

It doesn’t mean she will have fond memories of her old job.

“I appreciate all of you and the commitment to the program,” Smith said, to the Community Education board last week. “I thank you for everything you’ve done. Not every Community education director has the support of the board.”

Mentorship

Smith started her Community education director job with those duties, but soon added the Mentorship program.

Selected adults meet with selected students in the district’s three buildings during the child’s recess or lunch hour. The time commitment is about 30-50 minutes per week.

The goal of the mentorship program is for the mentors to serve as a friend, companion and role model to a child in need.

The program has seen the benefits as a child told Smith on multiple occasions, “I wish I had a mentor as well.”

The mentors get something out of too, Smith says.

“I didn’t know what my purpose was in life until I became a mentor,” Smith recalls a mentor telling her that. “Both parties benefit from the relationship.”

She said last week Greenfield has 10 children waiting for a mentor and four to five at Viking Middle School. If one is interested in becoming a mentor, they should contact Superintendent Eric Russell at the District Office, Smith said.

Youth Sports

Along with the mentorship, Smith has also had her hands full with providing support for the youth sports program within the School District, with some of those sports being Baseball, Softball, T-Ball, Wrestling, Volleyball, Tennis and Basketball.

“It’s about coordinating coaches, apparels and scheduling,” she said. “Dealing with parents, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive because they know I’m listening and trying my best.”

What’s next for Community Education

“I’m often recruiting people,” Smith said to fulfill the curriculum. She has said on multiple occasions over the years, they don’t have to be an expert or an educator.

“They just have to be passionate about what they are teaching,” she continues. “Business leaders can teach classes.”

To work on that relationship, the Community Education board invited Baldwin-Woodville Chamber of Commerce President Nick Hillstrom to last week’s meeting.

Hillstrom gave a brief overview on the Chamber’s activities and events, including the upcoming Horse Parade/Santa Claus Visit Dec. 4.

“We want to get more Woodville business involved,” he explained as only one of the 11 board members are from Woodville. He also stated the Central St. Croix Chamber approached the B-W Chamber about merging, but they passed at this time.

He also believes the strengths of the Baldwin-Woodville Chamber can mesh with the strengths of Community Education.

“We can educate the public on what each business does,” he further added.

Smith stated she’ll still be involved in the Baldwin-Woodville community as she’ll continue to serve on the Woodville Parks and Rec.

“I think change is good,” she said. “A new person, new ideas, new directions and I think that’s awesome.”

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