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District 196 hires Hughes to be next principal at Thomas Lake Elementary

District 196 Superintendent Mary Kreger announced the hiring of Rachel Hughes, principal of Sioux Trail Elementary School in Burnsville, to be the next principal at Thomas Lake Elementary School in Eagan.  

Hughes will fill the position currently held by Mary Jelinek, who will retire at the end of this school year after a 40-year career in District 196, the last 23 as principal of Thomas Lake. Hughes will officially take over as principal July 1.

Hughes is completing her second year as principal at Sioux Trail Elementary, one of two elementary schools and one middle school being closed by the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District at the end of this school year. She was scheduled to be moving to Gideon Pond Elementary School next year.

Hughes started her career at Oltman Middle School in Cottage Grove, where she was a science teacher and dean of students for seven years. In 2013, she moved to Lakeville South High School to be an assistant principal and dean of students. Three years later, Hughes took her first job in Burnsville, as associate principal at Nicollet Middle School, and was hired to be principal at Sioux Trail Elementary in 2018.

“I am excited to join District 196 and the opportunity to be part of the Thomas Lake school community,” Hughes said. “I look forward to meeting everyone and working together to continue the tradition of excellence at Thomas Lake of providing our children the best education possible.”

Hughes has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and earth science from St. Cloud State University, a master’s of education from Hamline University and earned her administrative licensure from St. Mary’s University.