Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Superintendent McNulty ready for Barnum Schools


Lois Johnson

Mike McNulty

The new superintendent for the Barnum School District, Mike McNulty, is no stranger to the northwoods.

"I grew up in Hoyt Lakes and lived there until I left for college," he said in a recent interview. "My wife and I were married in 1994 and lived in the woods for 10 or 15 years."

McNulty said that he received his college education in mathematics from the University of Minnesota and then went on to the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth for secondary education and an MBA. He received his post-master's education from St. Mary's College to earn his principal's and superintendent's licenses, he said.

"I worked for two years at St. Scholastica for the Outward Bound program," said McNulty. "And then I worked for two years at Duluth East and eight years at Mesabi East teaching upper math. I loved doing that. I loved the energy of the kids."

McNulty said that he also coached.

"I coached a little of everything," he said. "I coached fast-pitch softball for four years, golf for 10 years, and a stint of junior volleyball."

McNulty loved coaching.

"I always said that if I could do that to make a living, I would," he said. "My brothers and I always said that would be our thing. That was the biggest downside of going into administration. The coaching is gone."

McNulty spoke about the value of golf.

"It is a life sport," he said. "You can play golf through your 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond. It's good exercise and it is outside. In Minnesota, we have a short season. You have to play when you can."

McNulty said that he has been in administration for 10 years.

"I was principal at McCloud West but then it consolidated with three other school districts," he said. "I was superintendent at Lester Prairie for six years. I was also a superintendent at the Aspen Academy. That was a charter school. They call the superintendent an executive director in charter schools."

McNulty said that he held a few other administrative positions.

"I'm not big on being in a specific area for a long time," he said. "But it is good anyway."

McNulty and his wife live in Waconia and have three children.

"The oldest daughter is 24 and lives in Idaho, our second daughter is 20 and is a college student in Milwaukee," he explained. "She just was notified that she will be attending college in Sweden on an exchange program for the coming school year. Our son is 17 and is finishing his senior year of high school."

McNulty said that his wife, Leah, has been a renal dietician for 20 years and works in three or four clinics. The family is planning on continuing to live in Waconia for this year.

"We are not making any moving decisions until our son graduates from high school," he said. "He plans on going to college on either coast. He'll do well wherever he decides to go and in the occupation that he chooses."

McNulty is looking forward to working with the staff of the Barnum schools.

"It all comes down to the people," he said. "If you are working with a good set of people, you meet your goals to make things better for the kids. Education in Minnesota is outdated. It should be interesting to see how this pans out with changes."

McNulty is looking forward to working in Barnum.

"I'm excited," he said. "The first board meeting was last night. That sort of officializes it. I am learning a new culture and new places. I am learning something new every day. My philosophy is to keep challenging yourself to make it better."

Coming back north is also satisfying to McNulty.

"I love this area," he said. "My wife knows that I like it. Right now, I am renting a house from my uncle in Duluth. There are hiking trails close by. That's awesome!"


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