“I have a word for you….reinvent.”
It’s an appropriate quote to categorize Julie Millerbernd’s professional journey. This former elementary school principal and current health fitness specialist student at the Minnesota School of Business-Plymouth (MSB) campus is a lifelong learner. Even at the age of 61 she’s not planning on altering that lifestyle any time soon.
Retirement is a dirty word in Millerbernd’s lexicon. “I have a hard time with it,” she said. “I always look at it from the standpoint that it’s time for the next thing.”
Millerbernd’s story starts in—where else—a classroom. A 1973 graduate of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., she started as elementary school teacher of Holy Trinity in Winsted, Minn. As time went on, she transitioned to and from her parental role to teaching jobs.
For several years Millerbernd was in and out of the classroom. “As life goes, I would have a baby, take time off, go back to help when there were openings, and I did that for a few years,” she said.
During that time, she never stopped learning, earning a master’s degree in special education (1990) and a sixth-year specialist degree in educational administration (1995), both from St. Cloud State.
“I kept going to school and working part-time jobs in the classroom,” she said. It was that familiarity and experience that allowed her to become an integral part of the consolidation of the Howard Lake, Waverly and Winsted School Districts.
“It was a very big deal to bring all these districts together, and it turned out to be very beneficial,” Millerbernd said. After the consolidation, the school boards appointed her elementary school principal of not one, but two schools—the K-through-3 schools in Winsted and Howard Lake—in 1993.
She led both schools for 11 years, earning the School of Excellence Award for the 2002-2003 school year from the Minnesota Elementary School Principal’s Association the year before her “retirement.”
It was that transition that brought Millerbernd to the health industry. “After I transitioned, I joined a health fitness club in Howard Lake,” she said. “I love, love, loved it. I proceeded to lose about 40 pounds and felt a lot better!”
In the fall of 2007, Millerbernd began classes at MSB. Her intent was to only take a few classes, but one quarter led to the next, and she is slated to graduate with her health fitness specialist associate degree this June.
“I was going to take one or two classes…I just kept taking class, after class, after class, and now here I am graduating!” she said. “I never started thinking I want to get an associate degree, that’s how I reinvented myself this time.”
She is currently interning at My BodyShop Fitness Center in Delano, and isn’t putting any restraints on the next stage of her journey.
“I love the people and I love the relationships that I’m making,” she said. “At age 61, I could have never planned it, but here I am and loving it!”