Mitch and Rachel Trockman pose in front of a mural.Mitch and Rachel Trockman

Preparing school leaders of tomorrow

Mitch and Rachel Trockman believe in the power of education and community commitment

Operating anti-submarine tracking and countermeasure devices in the Naval Air Force from 1964 to ’66, Mitch Trockman, BS ’62, thought that when he returned to his career as an educator, he might want to become a principal.

In 1967, at the age of 27, Trockman became an assistant principal at Willard Elementary School in Minneapolis. He soon returned to the U to earn two graduate degrees in education. He credits his mentors, Neal Nickerson and John Manning, legendary figures in public school education and administration, with broadening his administrative scope and imparting to him a fascination for its particular challenges.

For three decades Mitch held a variety of leadership posts, from principal to associate superintendent, in the Minneapolis Public Schools. But it was only after his retirement in 1993 that he was able to exercise the full range of his deep knowledge and experience with such a large school system. Among other posts, Mitch served as interim executive director of facilities; interim executive director of human resources, payroll, and benefits; and interim superintendent three times.

During the early years of his career, Mitch and his wife Rachel, a pediatrician specializing in behavioral-developmental pediatrics, raised three sons, all of whom attended public schools and went on to thriving careers.

As first-generation Americans, the Trockmans believe in the power of education and community commitment. As University of Minnesota alumni, their commitment—and their expectation—runs deep.

“CEHD must be a leader in public education within the state,” according to the Trockmans, “and principal training, evaluation, and development are fundamental to the quality of public school education and to student achievement.”

In establishing the Mitchell D. Trockman Fund for School Leadership Development, Mitch and Rachel are putting their money where their values are. This fund, realized through a current endowment as well as a future bequest, reflects this family’s commitment to preparing the school leaders of tomorrow.

Story by Noriko Gamblin | Photo by Mark Trockman | Spring/Summer 2018