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Published April 02 2010

Retiring principal has ‘a heart for Oak Grove’

After nearly 20 years at Fargo’s Oak Grove Lutheran School, High School Principal Morgan Forness is leaving at the end of this school year.

The 1982 graduate of Oak Grove has worked at his alma mater since 1992 as a teacher, administrator and coach. He’s been principal for the past nine years.

In mid-June, he’ll start a position as the head administrator at Shiloh Christian School, a private Bismarck school of about 411 students.

“It’s not been an easy decision … but also (I’m) excited about the opportunity out at Shiloh for me and my family,” Forness, 46, said Thursday. “I consider it a new challenge.”

Officials at Oak Grove, which serves about 480 students, will form a search committee to seek a new principal.

“This is a professional advancement opportunity for Mr. Forness that he has been considering for a couple of months,” President Marilyn Guy wrote in the school’s monthly publication. “While we wish he would stay at Oak Grove, we wish him every success and personal happiness as he moves to Bismarck.”

Senior Peter Frei, the student body president, said Forness was well liked by students.

“I’m pretty emotional because he was an amazing, amazing person,” Frei said. “Instead of looking at youth as problems, he looks at them as resources. If there are issues, instead of just punishments, he turns it into giving them opportunity to learn and grow as a student and as a person.

“He did so much for Oak Grove,” Frei added. “Oak Grove will be missing a huge part when he’s gone.”

Forness will miss a huge part of his life, too.

Besides him, his six siblings and both of his parents graduated from Oak Grove. His three daughters have also attended.

His wife, Kim, was Oak Grove’s elementary principal until she resigned last year.

However, Forness, who applied for the principal position at the Fargo School District’s new Davies High School last year, said he’s leaving Oak Grove on good terms.

“There is absolutely no bad feelings; there’s nothing negative about my departure in any way, shape or form,” he said. “I certainly have a heart for Oak Grove – I always have, and I still do, and I always will.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515