Aberdeen Catholic School System's new president brings four decades of experience to the Hub City.
James F. Hamburge, who has spent 41 years in Catholic education, will officially begin as president July 1. But Hamburge said he's already started working — he has two spring trips scheduled to Aberdeen, including one for the Roncalli Ball in March.
Hamburge, 62, said he has a lot of energy and passion. He retired for about two weeks at one point, but said he's not the retiring type.
"I love the school setting," he said.
A St. Paul, Minn., native, Hamburge and his wife, Sue, have four grown daughters. Hamburge most recently served as president of Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria, Minn., southwest of Minneapolis. He previously had the same position with Judge Memorial Catholic High School in Salt Lake City and Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, Minn., according to a news release.
Hamburge has a successful track record in fundraising and enrollment growth, according to the release. During his career, Hamburge has won several awards and has served on the Executive Committee for Secondary Education for the National Catholic Educational Association, according to the release.
Hamburge said Aberdeen is a really nice community. At Roncalli, Hamburge will replace Stacy Levsen, who is retiring after 25 years with the Catholic school system plus additional years in Aberdeen public schools.
Roncalli's presidential search began in mid-November, said Corey Helms, president of the Aberdeen Catholic School System School Board. Helms said the board is excited to move forward in a positive manner.
Hamburge said the school board, which seems very involved, active and progressive, is what most attracted him to Roncalli.
"They want to do everything they can to make Roncalli a very strong school system for a long time," he said of board members.
Catholic education is facing a lot of challenges, Hamburge said, including the economy, keeping education on the cutting edge relative to technology and maintaining just salaries and affordable tuition.
"That's a real challenge," he said. "But that happens to be a challenge I really like."