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Discovery Middle School hires new principal

Starting July 1, there will be a new face at Discovery Middle School (DMS) in Alexandria.

Matt Aker was approved as the new DMS principal at Monday night's regular school board meeting.

Although he may be the new principal at the middle school, Aker is not new to Alexandria School District 206. He spent nine years with the district, beginning his career in 1994 as a special education teacher.

He stayed on as a special education teacher through 2002. In addition, Aker was a truancy coordinator during the 2002-2003 school year and a summer school coordinator for the summer of 2002.

Aker also coached three sports at the middle school level during his time with District 206.

During the past five years, Aker has served as principal at New York Mills Secondary, a 7-12 grade school building with about 350 students.

According to District 206 officials, Aker is pleased and excited to have the opportunity to return to the Alexandria school district.

"Since my employment with District 206 in 1994, I have always admired the student-centered, progressive environment of education created in the district," said Aker. "I welcome the opportunity to serve as a school leader in a district where a team approach is used to promote student success."

Out of more than 50 applicants, Aker was chosen as one of seven candidates for the first round of interviews.

After the interviews, which were conducted by a 16-member team of DMS teachers, administrators and community members, the field was narrowed to three finalists. Aker was chosen after a second round of interviews.

He earned his bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Moorhead State University and his master of arts in education from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota.

Aker also attained his K-12 principal licensure from Saint Mary's University.