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Six superintendent candidates interviewed

By Staff | Feb 19, 2012

Butch Hanson

The Blue Earth Area School board had to wait until halfway through their agenda last Monday night until they found out what they all wanted to know.

Who are the six finalists for the position of superintendent at BEA?

One of the board’s two consultants hired to assist the district in its search for a new leader, Butch Hanson, revealed the names to the board when his turn on the agenda came up.

Hanson and his partner, Ed Waltman, were the two who decided which of the 25 applicants would be selected as semi-finalists.

“We were pleased with the number and quality of the candidates,” Hanson told the BEA board. “Out of the 25 applicants, 15 have previous superintendent experience.”

The six selected as semi-finalists were all interviewed last Friday after the deadline for this week’s Faribault County Register.

At the end of the six interviews on Friday the board was expected to narrow the six down to three finalists.

Those three will be announced on the Register’s website at www.faribaultcountyregister.com.

The six people being interviewed on Friday are:

Todd Burlingame, superintendent at Paynesville for the past eight years. Seven years experience as elementary principal at Paynesville and seven years as an elementary teacher at Starbuck and Volga, S.D.

Tom Farrell, superintendent at BOLD (Bird Island, Olivia, Lake Lillian) for the past three years. Twenty-two years experience as an elementary and middle school principal in Windom.

Evan Gough, assistant high school principal at Red Wing. Five years experience as a high school administrator in Red Wing and Sioux Falls, S.D. Seven years as math teacher in Salem, S.D., Aberdeen, S.D., and Sioux Falls, S.D.

Tami Martin, charter school director at Crosslake Community School for four years. Twenty years experience as elementary teacher in Chisago Lakes and Raymondville, Texas. Also, was a gifted cluster teacher and remedial math teacher at Chisago Lakes.

Greg Schmidt, superintendent at MACCRAY (Maynard, Clara City and Raymond) for six years. Served seven years as director of RiverBend Academy in Mankato and two years as alternative education teacher in Mankato.

Bill Strom, superintendent at Mountain Lake for 27 years. Seven years experience as an elementary teacher.

Both the school board and a community committee were scheduled to spend all day on Friday interviewing all six candidates separately.

The interviews were expected to be completed by 3:30 p.m.

After that, the community group was to list their thoughts as to the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate but would not rank them.

“That is something you as a school board need to do,” Hanson told the board last Monday.

The school board was scheduled to meet in a special board meeting Friday evening at 5 p.m. with the express purpose of narrowing the field down to three finalists.

Those three will be interviewed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

“We will have one candidate come in each day,” Hanson says. “So clear your schedules for each of those days.”

The candidate will meet with the staff and tour the school buildings in the afternoon.

Then at 4 p.m. the candidate will address the public in the Performing Arts Center and answer any questions.

After a dinner with the board, the candidate will have their second interview with the board only, not the community committee.

On Thursday, after the board interviews the last of the three candidates, they will select which of the three they wish to offer the position to.