Some call Harold Enestvedt the “Father
of the St. Louis Park schools.” He served as
superintendent for 24
years from 1948 until 1972. (Today the average tenure for
superintendents nationwide is 31/2 years.) He lead Park
schools through the tremulous period of growth in the 1950’s
Harold graduated from St. Olaf College, where he
majored in history and mathematics and took the required
courses for teaching. Immediately after graduation, he
started working on his Masters degree in administration at
the University of Minnesota. It took him three summers of
heavy course work. His first job was teaching in Watson and
Comfry, Minnesota. His next eight years were spent as
Superintendent at Sanford, Minn. In 1939, he took a job as
Superintendent at Sleepy Eye and then moved to Waseca for
In 1948, he began the job as Superintendent of St. Louis
Park. When Enestvedt took over, he had to prepare to meet a
tremendous growth in the school population. At that time
there were 96 teachers and 3300 students in the public
schools. By the school year 1969/70, there were 11600
students enrolled and there were over 900 employees in the
school district. The process of building a new school
building took about three years. To get sufficient space to
house the students, classes were held in the libraries,
cafeterias and corridors. Double shifts were held in the
Junior/Senior High in 1954/55 and 1955/56.
Additions were being completed to Lenox and Brookside in
1948. By 1950, school construction was at its peak.
Additions were made to Central High in 1952, 1963 and 1967.
Fern Hill was built in 1950, Park Knoll in 1952, Ethel
Baston in 1955, and the current senior high in 1956 (which
require an addition in 1967). Aquila was built in 1957 with
an addition in 1967, Cedar Manor in 1957, Westwood Junior
High in 1959 with additions in 1967, Peter Hobart in 1967,
and Susan Lindgren in 1968. In this period 16 separate
building bond issues were enacted. Under Envesevdt the
amortization schedules for paying off the bonds was competed
in 1981 and at that time the school system was debt free.
Enestvedt’s accomplishments were not just about class rooms
and class size. He was responsible for establishing a
reputation for innovation and excellence that has attracted
many families to St. Louis Park. Instructional programs were
standardized, and achievement testing, curriculum
development and summer remedial programs were introduced.
Many of these programs continue today. Teacher contracts
under Enestvedt contained a strong incentive for teachers to
continue to grow and develop their areas of expertise. They
were rewarded on a salary schedule for each 15 credits
earned beyond their Bachelor or Masters degrees. One of the
highlights of Enestvedt’s tenure was starting “The Lighted
School.“ This program involved reaching out to every segment
of the community from preschool to senior citizens to draw
the community together to fulfill its needs and demands. An
early version of Children First?
Harold Enestvedt left a lasting mark on St. Louis Park
This information comes from a variety of sources: newspapers, books, yearbooks, phone directories, interviews, etc. Given the varied sources, we cannot guarantee that all of this information is correct, and welcome any additions and corrections. Please contact us with your contributions and comments.