By Chad Koenen


Two of New York Mills’ longest serving school board members attended their final meeting last week. With a combined 28 years between them, Tim Kupfer and Julie Adams were recognized for their years of service to not only the school district, but the community as well.

“Just really a lot of appreciation for them,” said NY Mills Superintendent Blaine Novak. “Outstanding board members and outstanding appreciation for what they’ve done.”

At the conclusion of the school board meeting last week, several board members spoke about what Kupfer and Adams meant to them and the school district. 

Kupfer wrapped up his 20th year on the school board this month, which included a 16 year stint on the school board, as well as another four year term that began in 2016. When he first joined the school board, Kupfer said he wanted to find a way to help his children to get the best education possible during their time at NY Mills School.

“I was approached by a long-time school board member who asked me to consider running. My three children were in school and I wanted to play a role in their getting the best education they could,” he said.

After stepping away from the school board in 2012, Kupfer sought election for another four year term in 2016. The decision to step away from the board this time around was made easier by the list of qualified candidates who were seeking a spot on the school board.

“The interest from others to run for the board made it an easy decision not to run again in 2020. You just know when it’s time to step aside, 20 years felt like that time for me,” he said. 

Adams was elected to the school board for the first time in 2012 and did not seek re-election this fall. Over the past eight years Adams said she has enjoyed the opportunity to work with school leaders, teachers and other school board members to help advance the NY Mills School District.

“I have enjoyed working with the administrative team, teachers, and especially the other school board members,” she said. “As a school board member, we are always to work for what is best for students.  That is always a given in New York Mills, everyone works toward that goal.  I don’t think that is true in every community.”

One thing that Kupfer has enjoyed during his time on the school board has been watching the school district grow. Today, NY Mills is one of the few school districts in the region that sees a positive influx of students due to open enrollment, and the district continues to work on building projects to update the facility for the 21st century.

As with any board or committee, having good leadership makes one’s job a little easier. That was the case in NY Mills as the school district while Kupfer was on the board with superintendents Jerry Nesland, Todd Cameron and Novak.

“I think seeing the growth in students, being part of the building of the auditorium to the redoing our parking lots and everything in-between,” said Kupfer of what he has enjoyed about his time on the school board. “I was fortunate to work with three very good superintendents in Jerry Nesland, Todd Cameron and Blaine Novak, as well as excellent principals and support staff. The school board has always been strong in leadership and works hard overseeing that the district’s long-term goals are met.”

Though it isn’t necessary for a person to have a child in school to serve on the school board, Adams decided now was the right time to step away from the school board after her daughter graduated from high school a few years ago. As she gets ready for her final few days as a member of the school board, Adams said she is going to miss the opportunity to grow through meetings and working with other school board members.

“I am going to miss meeting with other school board members and attending the MN School Board Association conferences and workshops,” said Adams.

Through all of the positive experiences and things he has enjoyed, one thing that Kupfer won’t miss is dealing with finances and making difficult decisions that affect students. While the decisions surrounding finances were never easy, sometimes the tough decisions had to be made to keep the school district in a fiscally responsible position. 

As his time on the school board comes to an end, Kupfer said he will miss the opportunity of working with a group of people to try and better the lives of the students and staff members that make up NY Mills School.

“I am going to miss working with a group of people who really care about our students,” he said. “I have been fortunate to have worked with excellent school board members throughout the years. Thank you for allowing me to serve the district.”