William Matalamaki (1956 - 1978)
William Matalamaki was a native of Floodwood, Minnesota. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees at the University of Minnesota and taught vocational agriculture at Bigfork and Esko before coming to North Central as the school principal in 1949. He was appointed Superintendent in 1956. He earned a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education at the University of Wisconsin in 1958 where part of his research included a study and recommendations regarding the future of secondary schools of agriculture such as the one at North Central. His analysis led to the conclusion that with improved transportation in rural areas and the increasing number of high schools offering agriculture in their curriculum, the need for schools of agriculture was becoming obsolete. He recommended that the schools of agriculture operated by the University of Minnesota be phased out within the next several years. This process began at North Central in the early 1960's and the school was closed in 1965.
As the agricultural school was phased out, continuing education and research was increased. New faculty with backgrounds in research were hired and greater cooperation with faculty on the St. Paul Campus and integration with research projects of various departments in the College of Agriculture began to evolve. The USDA Forestry Research Laboratory and the Itasca Community College moved to the North Central Campus in 1959 and 1967. A new office building was constructed for the Experiment Station staff in 1969 to replace the space vacated to the Community College.
Dr. Matalamaki was very active in community and church organizations and served on a number of College and University committees. In 1965 he served as a consultant with the Ford Foundation to study secondary education in Chile and prepared a series of recommendations for its improvement. He died unexpectedly in August 1978.