RLHS Principal Quenzer to uphold philosophy of predecessor

Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, August 29, 2019
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Photo by Alastair Baker
Red Lodge High School’s new Principal, Dana Quenzer.

Dana Quenzer, the new Principal of Red Lodge High School, says he “is 100 percent focused to keep the ship sailing in the right direction” as he steers the school into a new era.

Dana takes over leadership from Rex Ternan who retired at the end of the last school year after  almost two decades  at the helm.

This is the first time in 17 years that Dana will not be involved in coaching because he feels “it is really important I focus on being the best principal I can be for this school. There are big shoes to fill, Rex (Ternan) is wonderful, and I want to make sure I do a good job.”

“For now, this is a big job, there are high expectations, and it’s a high achieving school,” he said. “Just understanding the way the school is run and the philosophy and the long-standing traditions. That’s what I want to keep going, and getting to know the community because they play such a big role in how we educate the kids.”

Dana grew up in Baker and remembers his school years fondly as a place that encouraged people to take up the teaching profession.

“I’m in education because I absolutely love kids. When I was younger I knew right away I wanted to teach history and sports in high school. I had great teachers. I was very fortunate. There are a lot of people from Baker who are in education, because they have had lots of great teachers,” he said.

He later graduated at Dickinson State University, North Dakota, with a BA in physical education and history. His first teaching job was in Bellfield, North Dakota, where he was also the athlete director and coached in three sports. In his time he has coached football and track teams and been a head basketball coach.

He started his Masters in Educational Leadership at Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota, finishing the degree after moving to Shepherd to teach and coach at the high school.

Not long after moving to Shepherd, the Dean at the school left and Dana jumped in to the position.

“I was a little hesitant at first. I was fairly young but I got into it and really enjoyed it,” he said.

In the following years he became the Middle School principal.

Meanwhile Dana’s wife, Heather, who had taught in North Dakota, got a job teaching P.E. in Roundup.  

“A job opened up in Roundup for a principal,” he said, and he applied. 

“We planned on staying in Roundup for a few years and a few years turned into 10. I had a great connection with the kids and the community,” said Dana. 

The decision to move to Red Lodge was fairly easy since Heather grew up in Bridger, and the family does a lot of activities in the summer from camping, hiking, boating, watersking, fishing, riding ATV’s, and downhill sking.  Dana also enjoys playing golf.

“And the kids’ grandparents are only 20 miles away,” said Dana.

Heather is now the K-8 PE teacher in Joliet. They have two children, daughter, Shaylee will be in 8th grade and their son Skyler will be in 10th grade.

“As a principal, I feel I have great connections with kids. I treat them with utmost respect and help them, and will support the teachers in any way I can,” he said. “I’m most impressed with Red Lodge and how the kids respect the buildings and the surroundings. That is a big draw for me.  It is a gorgeous school.”

“I’m excited to watch the kids play sports and I’ve been able to go to the practices. There are a lot of kids out there for football, volleyball, and cross-country. They are rolling,” said Dana. 

As to the time-honored Cats, Griz question that is asked of every newcomer to Red Lodge, Dana diplomatically replied he “really enjoys both.”

“Coach (John) Fitzgerald would love me to say the Griz,” he laughed. “I like them both. When they play each other I usually go for the underdog.”

Dana paid tribute to Ternan, Superintendent John Fitzgerald, Middle School Principal Jason Reimer and Elementary School Principal Doug Mann.

“I have the utmost respect for them. They are a great team and I am excited to be a part of that. It’s awesome and we have some of the best teachers in the state and that’s well known being in a nearby community. I’m really fortunate to have such great teachers here at every level, and to live in this place. I smile every morning I wake up. It’s amazing,” said Dana. 






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