Press Release – School Approval and Upcoming Events – September 23, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                            September 23, 2015


Dr. Eric Ringsred, Founder, Pete Seeger Renaissance Charter School,
Vicki Vandervegt, Outreach Coordinator,,  320-237-0652
Sandy Lange,  Outreach Volunteer,  715-816-4400



A new tuition-free K-8 public charter school has been approved by the state of Minnesota to open in fall, 2016 in Sandstone, Minnesota.  The Pete Seeger Renaissance Charter School, a Sandstone Montessori school, will open for children in Kindergarten through 5th grades in 2016 with plans to expand to K-8 in future years.  A preschool may also open with the school in 2016.

The school will provide the only Montessori education option for elementary children in Pine County and surrounding areas.  Montessori teachers work in collaboration with the children at the learner’s own pace, in multi-age classrooms.  Children follow their individual interests, and teach themselves with materials specially prepared for active learning.  Classes are small to allow for personalized learning.

“Montessori learning is based on the fact that physical exploration and brain development are linked,” said Dr. Eric Ringsred, board chair and founder of the school, who is father of four children who attended Montessori schools.    Dr. Ringsred, an emergency practice physician who serves the Sandstone hospital, also envisions a strong health and wellness component of the school, serving the “whole” person.  “Our school will reach beyond the Montessori method with a strong focus on health, fitness, and an approach to education based on brain science,” he added.

The Founding Board of Directors and Senior Advisers of the school include community and tribal leaders from throughout the area, who have been working over a year to prepare their charter school application.   The school also involves local parents and community members on its local advisory committee.  “We welcome any parent or individual from the community to join our advisory committee and grow with us in this effort,” continued Dr. Ringsred.

It is not too early to register interest in enrollment!  Interested parents can find out more information at and sign up to stay informed of registration opportunities.  Parents and community members are also invited to learn more about the school at these upcoming information events:

  • Wednesday, October 7,  9:30 a.m.-Noon:  Information table at Sandstone Library entrance, 1194th Street, Sandstone
  • Wednesday, October 14, 5-7 p.m.  Community Information Meeting at Finlayson Community Room, 2195 Finland Ave., Finlayson
  • Friday, October 23, 12 noon to 6 p.m.:  Pine Community Connects Resource Event, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 825 Golf Ave SW, Pine City
  • Check for additional community events as scheduled.

The school is authorized by the Minnesota Guild of Public Charter Schools, in part because of the inclusion of teacher-powered school leadership.   “The Guild is thrilled to collaborate on this exciting venture to create an innovative learning environment that affords teachers and students the opportunity to explore and discover while learning in authentic and meaningful ways,” said Dr.  Brad Blue, Executive Director of The Minnesota Guild.

The school will be located in the city of Sandstone, and will have a strong focus on environmental education.  The founding board is also committed to incorporating the traditions and cultural learnings that reflect the diversity of the community and student population.

A charter public school is a tuition-free public school that is governed by a nonprofit board of directors consisting of parents, teachers, and community members.  The school is granted independence to create its own learning opportunities and is held accountable to academic results by its authorizer.    All students may attend the school as space permits.  If there are more applicants than spaces, a lottery is held.

For more information about the school, or to inquire about serving on the advisory committee or board of directors, please contact Vicki VanderVegt at or 320-237-0652.