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Angie McGinnis is new director at St. Philip's

Members of the St. Philip’s Early Learning Center are pictured here. From left to right are Becky Kaphing, Angie McGinnis (director), Dawn McNamara and Kim Sill. Not pictured is Lorelei Rein. (Star Gazette photo by Jane Lightbourn)

Angie McGinnis has been familiar with St. Philip's Early Learning Center for years. Her two children have been in it, and she and her husband Pete were very supportive of it during those years. Then, two years ago, she was a substitute teacher in the program.

Now, she has a more permanent role. She is new the director of the program. Former director Kathy Wolpers resigned after 19 years earlier this summer, and McGinnis was recently tabbed as her successor.

McGinnis has a degree in elementary education and a Master's degree in education. She was a teacher at Kennedy Elementary School and is a member of the Hastings School Board.

"My children went through the program and it is such as good program, highly respected," said McGinnis. "Two years ago, I was a long-term substitute and got to know the curriculum and other parts of the program. That just confirmed how I felt.

"Kathy retired in June and the position opened up. I had someone contact me and said they thought it would be a good combination for it. So I applied."

It is a good fit, she said. Her children are now in elementary and middle school grades. While they have been growing up, McGinnis did some substitute teaching in the schools.

St. Philip's Early Learning Center has been a church mission for more than 25 years. It is a nondenominational Christian preschool program for any 3- to 5-year-old child and is non-denominational.

"Much of it is about getting the children prepared for kindergarten," McGinnis said.

There are morning programs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and Tuesday and Thursday. There is also an afternoon program on Tuesday and Thursday. About 80 children are enrolled. The schedule is very close to the schedule of the Hastings public schools -- this year's program begins the week of Sept. 2.

The ELC is licensed by the State of Minnesota.

An Early Learning Center Board is supportive and provides oversight, said McGinnis.

Parents are very important part of the program, too. Regular conferences are scheduled in the fall and spring, and a number of parents usually participate as chaperones on the field trip in the fall.

"The first week is always so exciting," said McGinnis, "and I'm looking forward to it. This program has such a good reputation."