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USC searches for superintendent

By Staff | Apr 13, 2009

The interviews got under way last week and the search for a new superintendent at United South Central is down to two.

Interim Superintendent John Widvey says the two finalists are Jerry Jensen and Tony Boyer.

Jensen is retired and was superintendent of the Lake City School District, while Boyer is currently LeCenter’s superintendent.

“We actually had 11 people show interest, but 10 completed the application,” says Widvey.

School board chair Christie Wetzel says three candidates fielded questions from the full board Monday night and the remaining three on Tuesday night.

“They were given a tour of the building first and then an hour was set aside for each interview,” she says.

The public helped develop the criteria, says Wetzel, of what the district is looking for in its next superintendent.

Five of the six applicants were from Minnesota and one from Iowa.

Wetzel says all the candidates had incredible credentials and a lot of experience.

“We’ll just need to find the right match for our district,” she says.

The next step for school officials will be to visit the districts where the remaining two candidates have worked or currently are employed. They also plan to talk with staff at the schools and members of the community.

“It’ll be up to the board if they want to call back the two finalists for an interview or offer one of them a contract,” Widvey says.

As part of the district’s budget-reduction measures, the person hired will work three days a week.

Since January, the USC district has been operating with a part-time interim superintendent.

Wetzel says budget restraints forced the board to make some tough cuts.

“It’s the consensus of theboard we would rather have teachers and programs than to pay for administrators,” adds Wetzel.

The board in March approved budget cuts totaling $352,000 for the 2009-10 school year.

Positions trimmed included placing four licensed teachers and one administrator on unrequested leave of absence and terminating one probationary teacher. Six paraprofessional positions also were eliminated.

In addition, the board approved staff retirements and switching from 16.5 to 15 sections in the elementary school.

Wetzel says the decision to have a part-time superintendent has worked out well and been a success.

“The past few months have been above and beyond our expectations,” she adds.

John Widvey will remain on the job through the end of June.