Lake Superior School District Community Education Director Chris Olafson Langenbrunner knows how she wants to enjoy retirement.
She wants to spend more time with her husband, John; go fishing; forage for mushrooms; and visit her 14 grandchildren, she said.
"Actually, No. 15 is on the way," Langenbrunner said. "He or she will be born in July."
Langenbrunner has led the Community Education Department for Lake Superior School District since 2007. She came to ISD 381 after positions in Mounds View, Cloquet and Hermantown public schools. She will officially retire on Feb. 28.
Although she grew up before Community Education really started to take root in Minnesota, Langenbrunner said she remembers taking Community Education classes when she was a young mother.
"I did water aerobics and a sewing class, like 'How to sew a onesie out of stretchable fabric,'" she said. "That was my first experience in a Community Education class."
Her goal with the program was always to fill needs in the community.
That's something she hopes will continue, especially with the current day care situation in Silver Bay. Community Education is one of many partners working to create a day care program to combat the shortage of providers.
"That's when you see Community Education at its finest: when you can bring people together to find a solution to a community problem," Langenbrunner said.
She's also proud to have facilitated Aging Mastery Program courses. The program is an engaging education and behavior change incentive program designed for adults over age 50.
"We try to serve people of all ages and get them engaged in the community," she said. "Some people don’t have kids or (don't) feel they have a connection to the schools, but through Community Ed., they do. It gives them a reason to get into the schools — our public buildings — even if it’s just to walk the halls when it’s cold and icy out."
One of Langenbrunner's proudest accomplishments was spearheading the application for Two Harbors to be named the Best Intergenerational Community in the U. S. by Generations United and the MetLife Foundation in 2017.
That same year, she was honored with the Northland Foundation's Leadership Star for her work championing children and youth. She's also served on various community boards such as Community Partners, as well as state professional boards such as the Minnesota Community Education Association Board of Directors.
When asked what she'll miss the most about the position, her answer was the people.
"I’ve had the opportunity to get to know so many different types of people from various organizations in our community. It’s been so fun to bring in these folks to work on projects together. It's something I'll definitely miss," Langenbrunner said.
The Lake Superior School District will host a retirement goodbye gathering for Langenbrunner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Two Harbors High School on Wednesday, Feb. 26.