People to Know: Michael Bolsoni
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Mr. Michael Bolsoni, principal of Apple Valley High School, has a passion for education. However, his interests for wellness, documentaries, teaching, and administration have developed over time.
Weekdays and Weekends
As principal, each week Mr. Bolsoni has a unique experience giving back to education. “Everyday can be different as principal,” he stated. Mr. Bolsoni may meet with leaders or teachers to work on curriculum or solve building issues, or he may interact with students requesting to meet with him, or through simple exchanges in the hallways or lunchroom. Occasionally, he may observe classrooms, or communicate with parents. On a somewhat larger scale, Mr. Bolsoni represents AVHS to the public and community, and works on district committees that develop overarching policies.
Mr. Bolsoni’s work extends past a typical 5 day week and into the weekend. On a Friday night, students may see him at a sports event; theatre or music productions. On Saturdays, he may still be in the office or at a meeting.
However, even a principal needs time to wind down, and Sundays often are set aside for family and personal interests. He spends time with his wife and two daughters doing family activities like cooking, eating, biking, and walking around Minneapolis lakes.
Mr. Bolsoni also loves watching documentaries. “I like adventures; I like explorers like Shackleton or people climbing Mt. Everest, or really long epic bike rides, those kinds of things.” Regarding Mt. Everest, he says he would never climb it, despite his interest in its stories.
Bolsoni’s passion for adventure can even be reflected in his love of travel. He mentions, “My bucket list would probably be traveling to different places; I love to explore.”
With his enthusiasm for biking, traveling, and exploring, Mr. Bolsoni’s value in health and wellness comes as no surprise. An advocate for physical and mental balance, his passions can be easily seen as he strives to assist students in achieving an efficient balance between work and leisure.
Today, Mr. Bolsoni hopes his time as Apple Valley’s principal will reflect the positive high school experience he once had. “My goal as principal is to continue and maintain the legacy of excellence we have [and] provide a safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment for all students.”
Mr. Bolsoni’s love of learning goes far back. Though, his dedication to education didn’t appear overnight.
“I always liked being a student and I feel like education plays an important role in society,” he stated.
Childhood to Teaching to Now
Mr. Bolsoni spent his childhood in Chicago, raised by a nurse mother and a pharmacist father alongside two brothers. Citing his parents as the source for his inner drive to do well, Mr. Bolsoni developed skills that would prove to be essential and that would later apply to his professional life. He described the drugstore that was partly owned by his pharmacist father, and where Bolsoni occasionally helped out at, as an important learning environment. “[It] taught me a lot about hard work, being honest, and customer service […] I think that had a big impact on me.”
Growing up, Mr. Bolsoni could be compared to many current AVHS students as he was involved in extracurriculars like his school newspaper, math team and tennis team.
Following high school, Mr. Bolsoni headed to Minnesota to further pursue his education. After receiving his undergraduate degree at Gustavus Adolphus College with a major in history, he realized he wanted to be a teacher and attended the University of Minnesota for his Masters in Education.
Deeply immersed in education, it’s not surprising that few people know about Mr. Bolsoni’s time as – get this – a baker. During his time at the U of M, Mr. Bolsoni worked at a bread bakery. “I would work from maybe 10pm to 6am, then I would sleep and then I would have to get up at about 3 in the afternoon then I would bike to the University of Minnesota for my afternoon classes.”
Although he was wrapping up his formal education, Mr. Bolsoni continued to learn as he was offered his first job, right here in District 196. At 24 years old, he was one of the School of Environmental Studies’ first teachers and continued to work there for 13 years. As a teacher, Mr. Bolsoni focused on bettering his craft. “I was able to teach and really work with some phenomenal people […] I think that was great for my development as a professional.”
His interest in being a principal evolved while working in a professional development role for 4 years for the state of Minnesota’s Q Comp program. A peer coach to teachers, Bolsoni gained exposure to instructional leadership and worked supporting teachers. His time as a Q Comp leader also grew his dedication to District 196, working at Eastview, Rosemount, Eagan, and even Woodland Elementary. “I was looking at the district through a wider lens […] it allowed me to move into an administrative job, learning about these schools.”
Mr. Bolsoni’s potential as a leader was noticed early on. AVHS science teacher, Ethan Bleifuss mentioned, “I’ve worked with him since he was an adviser, before he was principal […] I think he has made me a better teacher.”
Mr. Bolsoni went on to Minnesota State University, Mankato for a specialist degree and his licensure, a gateway for administrative entry level jobs at Apple Valley High School and Valley Middle School. After being assistant principal of student services and scheduling, Mr. Bolsoni was promoted to principal after former principal Steve Degenaar’s retirement.
Mr. Bolsoni has made an impact at AVHS, and will continue to do so. It may not be distinctly apparent to everyday students, as his work is often underappreciated. Though, to math teacher Daniel Seppala, Mr. Bolsoni’s work is clearly recognized. He stated, “I have seen him repeatedly make decisions and seek solutions that balance both supporting teachers in their work and also giving students the best chance.”
Bolsoni’s Plans for the Future
Looking ahead, Mr. Bolsoni is eager for the future of AVHS. With the new architectural design, Apple Valley students and staff can look forward to new spaces. The front entrance will soon be closed off to create cool and exciting areas.
New additions will accompany the school’s transition towards a STEM school, offering students the opportunity to explore college and career pathways through communication with industry leaders and local companies. Mr. Bolsoni hopes AVHS students will become collaborators and problem solvers.
“When I think about our future, we’re planning for 10, 20, even 50 years down the road. These changes will still be here and I think they are going to serve students well,” the principal stated, “I believe in what we’re doing here. I believe families depend on us and count on us to do our best everyday. So I can put in long hours, knowing it makes a difference in people’s lives.”