FRIDLEY, Minn. — Dr. Craig Junker was recently named president of Totino-Grace High School in Fridley, Minn. Dr. Junker received M.A. in Instruction and Ed.D. in Leadership degrees from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota in 1996 and 2005, respectively.
“While getting to know Craig over the last couple months, it has become clear that (he) is a great fit for Totino-Grace,” a school news release said. “His enthusiasm for Catholic education is contagious. The search committee believes Craig’s many gifts are a tremendous match with the needs of our school community.”
Having served as superintendent for Lake City Public Schools since 2009, Dr. Junker will assume his new duties on July 1 at the private, Catholic school.
“We really like Lake City, and things are going great for my family,” Dr. Junker said. “At the same time, we are ready for a new opportunity. When opportunities come up, you have to look at them and see if you can make a difference at a really prestigious school.”
The Winona community remembers Dr. Junker from his tenure as president of Cotter High School and Junior High School from 2000 to 2009. He led 500 students, 85 staff members and an annual budget of over $4.5 million while directing the Catholic schools in Winona. Prior to that, he had served as junior high principal, English teacher and soccer coach.
Dr. Junker earned a bachelor’s degree at St. John’s University, and then pursued master’s and doctoral degrees in education at Saint Mary’s University. He spoke positively of his time at the Winona campus, from studying for an advanced degree to serving as hall director for the undergraduate Benilde Hall.
“What resonated with me about the Saint Mary’s program is their philosophy on servant leadership,” Dr. Junker said. “To me, an effective leader is seen as a servant first. It’s the more able caring for the less able that makes a good society and an effective organization. It permeated in most classes — how do you motivate people? How do you inspire people, how do you care for me? We learned about teaching minds and touching hearts, and I think that made a big impact on me.”
Dr. Junker also spent two years in the early 1990s as an English and religion teacher at St. Joseph’s High School in Greenville, Mississippi as part of the Lasallian Volunteers program run by the De La Salle Christian Brothers. “Living with the Brothers down there, you don’t do things because you want people to think of you as a good person. You do them because it’s the right thing to do,” Dr. Junker said.
About Saint Mary’s University
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota awakens, nurtures, and empowers learners to ethical lives of service and leadership. A private Lasallian Catholic institution, Saint Mary’s offers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate programs. About 1,200 students are enrolled in the residential undergraduate college in Winona, established in 1912. Approximately 4,300 students are enrolled in the schools of graduate and professional programs, which offers master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as bachelor’s degree completion, certificate and specialist programs. The university delivers education to adults through campuses in Winona, Minneapolis and Nairobi, Kenya; centers in Apple Valley, Rochester and Oakdale; and at numerous other locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Jamaica. Saint Mary’s is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.