Hamline News

Teaching Leadership

Dr. Jeffery Ridlehoover, EdD ‘10 is known for his leadership style that focuses on building relationships, both with his students and teachers. He has always loved working with people, and that passion his work at Mounds View High School is what earned him multiple honors within the last year including the title of Minnesota High School Principal of the Year and a promotion to assistant superintendent of instruction for Mounds View Public Schools.

He did not grow up dreaming to be a superintendent, high school principal, or even a teacher. Coming from a home that emphasized mathematics and science, he had pictured himself following in his father’s footsteps to become a chemical engineer. When he was in college, Ridlehoover worked at 3M for multiple years where he realized his favorite part about his job was the relationships.

“What I did know is that I always enjoyed working with people,” said Ridlehoover. “I found that I enjoyed working with kids and the collegial atmosphere with teachers. Teaching was just a good fit for me.”

He used his science expertise to teach chemistry for five years while he also coached football, basketball, and baseball. Looking for new opportunities, he earned a Principal’s License from Hamline University and moved up to assistant principal at Wayzatta High School.

“I wanted to enrich some of my experiences around education leadership. I wanted to broaden my horizons and possibly open some doors,” said Ridlehoover.

While earning his doctorate in education with advisor Walter Enlow, Ridlehoover explored the qualities that make good leaders in education. His dissertation focused on essential leadership traits in high school principals, and he has presented that research at numerous conferences such as the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals Conference.

“I think it’s important to be a strong communicator, have a vision, follow your vision, be clear in what you’re vision is. Be able to adapt. Surround yourself with great people who have skillsets in areas that are not as strong as your own,” said Ridlehoover.

Minnesota’s future principals have been learning from his expertise in the k-12 principals class for the past two years in the School of Education. In 2017, though, Ridlehoover began teaching EdD candidates like Enlow did for him in 2007.

“I think that there is something I can share with them, I hope so anyways, in terms of what it’s like to go through the process and the program because I’ve been through it,” said Ridlehoover.

During his time as the principal of Mounds View High School, his successes not only brought the school together, but also drove it further into the digital age. He helped orchestrate the development of a Information and Learning Center, which provides students skills to fix, develop, and learn from technology. Under Ridlehoover, the school piloted an app developed by students that helps managing flex time during the day.

From mentoring EdD candidates at the School of Education to working with students to implementing an app for his school, Ridlehoover has learned to seize opportunities for collaboration. In the move to the assistant superintendent, he is excited to bring along the same passion for building relationships and community that was recognized with the Principal of the Year Award.

“I am really fortunate to work with great teachers in a great community with great leadership that support me. I’ve also worked with some amazing faculty and students at Hamline,” said Ridlehoover.

To learn more about opportunities to sharpen your skills as an educator, visit the Hamline School of Education page.