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WATCH NOW: Rising Star Garrett Zimmerman

From the COLLECTION: Meet the 2021 Rising Stars Under 40 series
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Garrett Zimmerman is a member of the 2021 Rising Stars Under 40 recognized by the 7 Rivers Alliance and the River Valley Media Group.

Age as of Sept. 1, 2021: 31

Town of residence: La Crosse

Occupation/company: Principal of La Crosse Polytechnic School and Coulee Region Virtual Academy and Supervisor of Summer School in the School District of La Crosse.

Family: My wonderful wife Carrie and our two kids Graham and Finley 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

My proudest professional accomplishment is my work in charter schools in the School District of La Crosse. As a principal, I helped move La Crosse Polytechnic into downtown La Crosse and develop our job shadow/internship curriculum. Also, I am now turning Coulee Region Virtual Academy into a standalone school. Both of these schools have terrific teachers who make me better every single day.

Please tell us what community and volunteer activities you’re involved with – and why?

La Crosse Polytechnic is focused on servant leadership and getting students out into the downtown La Crosse area. I am so proud of our work with Downtown Mainstreet, the Cameron Farmers Market and Toys for Tots. We are looking to expand that to more groups because we want our students to recognize their role in the community.

Tell us what inspired you to be a leader in your organization and in your community.

The people in this area have inspired me to be a leader. I have had the privilege to work with so many fantastic students, teachers, colleagues, and community members in the La Crosse area. I wanted to move into a position where I can impact more students to find their educational fit, while creating a supportive workplace.

What advice would you offer younger leaders to aid their success?

Do not ask your people to do something you have not tried yourself. I have lived by that and it really helped me lead through the pandemic. I was able to feel the stress of leading Zoom classes, so I could emphasize and collaborate with my teachers. I won't forget that. So for any young leaders, jump in and teach that lesson, make that call, run a line, or help that customer. That gives you insight into how your systems work while listening to your people.

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