Forum introduces administrator candidates to community
The Superior School Board met in closed session Tuesday night to deliberate who the new district administrator will be. The meeting came on the heels of a four-hour round-robin interview at Northern Lights Elementary School. The three finalists f...
The Superior School Board met in closed session Tuesday night to deliberate who the new district administrator will be.
The meeting came on the heels of a four-hour round-robin interview at Northern Lights Elementary School.
The three finalists for the position spent the evening speaking to three different groups of stakeholders - board members, teachers, staff and administrators, and more than 20 community members.
"I think we have some good choices," said Linda Kelly, a staff member with the district.
Former technology business owner, Dennis Goodwin, made the move from volunteer baseball coach to teacher in Prescott, Wis. He is the Superintendent of Schools of the Camp Verde Unified School District in Arizona, which graduated every native American student last year.
"My attitude is every single kids counts," Goodwin said. "They're our future."
Francis Redmon, who served in the U.S. Navy, began his career as a physics teacher, worked in the nuclear power field and has domestic and overseas administration experience, previously serving as director of Ashgabat International School in Turkmenistan.
"Education is about relationships; it's about people more than anything else," Redmon said. A superintendent's job is to focus on making the key relationship, between student and teacher, better.
Amy Starzecki, assistant superintendent for the Duluth School District, started her educational career as a school psychologist in special education and moved to administration when she fell in love with how systems can affect change.
"I think one of the critical roles the superintendent plays is being the face of the district," she said, and making connections with the community. Success in the position, Starzecki said, is when the community takes pride in its public schools.
The candidates answered submitted questions about technology, school finances, what communication methods they'd use, school safety, improving parent involvement, how to provide for mental health needs of students and support homeless families, and what success as a superintendent means.
"It was very interesting," said Debbie Bergstrom, whose grandchildren attend school in the district. "They were all different and I liked each one of them."
The questions hit all the major areas, Kelly said.
"It was nice to get to know the candidates and hear what they had to say and their views on education," said Northern Lights Principal Mike Matejka. "I know I have my favorite."
At the end of each question and answer session, participants turned in comment cards rating the candidates.
School Board President Len Albrecht said the Board compiled the feedback from all three groups to see what their impressions were.
The Board met in closed session until 10:25 p.m. Tuesday, but no decision was made. A second closed session was scheduled for Thursday to deliberate and choose a new administrator.
The choice may not be made public for up to a week, to give the candidate time to accept the position. The Board doesn't want to jump the gun with an announcement.
"That's what happened to the Indianapolis Colts," Albrecht said. "They said they had their coach and then he backed out."
Taylor Pedersen, president and CEO of the Superior-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce, said he appreciated the fact the School Board gave all stakeholders a chance to meet and question the candidates.
"I feel really bad it wasn't publicized more and there weren't more community members here, but it was very interesting," Bergstrom said.
Superior's current District Administrator Janna Stevens will retire June 30.