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BEA School Board selects Evan Gough

By Staff | Feb 26, 2012

Evan Gough discusses with community members about the Blue Earth Area school district.

Thursday was a big day for Evan Gough.

He and his wife Amy had their first child earlier in the day, and if that wasn’t enough, a matter of hours later the new parents experienced another life-changing moment. This time it was a phone call bringing good news.

On the phone was Ed Waltman from the South Central Services Cooperative informing Gough that the Blue Earth Area School Board unanimously selected him as their choice to fill the position of superintendent in the district.

“I am impressed with the level of support this community gives its children,” Gough said in a community interview Tuesday. “It is a wonderful place to be.”

Gough is currently the assistant high school principal in Red Wing and has five years of experience as a high school administrator in the communities of Red Wing and Annandale.

Before starting his administrative career, Gough spent seven years as a math teacher in Salem, Aberdeen and Sioux Falls, S.D.

The newly selected candidate has a master’s degree from South Dakota State and is currently in the process of earning his dissertation in school administration from the University of South Dakota. Gough says he hopes to earn his doctorate by 2013 barring any unforeseen roadblocks.

In interviews earlier this week, Gough admitted a lack of experience with a school budget, but says he is willing to learn.

“I am a quick learner,” Gough says. “I would do everything I could to jump in the budget process and get my hands dirty.”

Gough describes his leadership style as “team building” saying effective change comes through buy-in from everyone. After touring Blue Earth Area Schools during the interview process, he felt this could be easily accomplished, repeatedly complimenting the community, staff and students.

Gough was selected Thursday evening during a special board meeting after the board deliberated between two strong finalists for the position.

Eventually, the board unanimously agreed upon Gough as the best candidate to fulfill the role of superintendent during a public meeting at Hamilton Hall in Blue Earth.

Board members had nothing but good things to say about the new selection.

A re-occurring comment during the board’s evaluation of Gough was his energy and strong people skills.

“He is very focused on preparing students for the future,” says board member Mary Eckhardt. “He is definitely an emerging leader who is eager to grow and learn the position.”

During his interview Tuesday, Gough says his ultimate goal is not to graduate as many students as possible. Instead, he wishes to prepare students for the five to 10 year time frame after high school in an ever-changing economy.

Before Gough is officially named superintendent, the school board and the newly elected candidate will enter into contract negotiations. The two parties are scheduled to come to an agreement by the March 12 school board meeting.

Waltman told school board members after their selection Thursday, the average superintendent compensation in the South Central Conference is $116,000 a year. He recommends Blue Earth Area makes an offer in a similar salary range as area communities in order to remain competitive.

If the two sides agree on a contract, Gough will replace current superintendent Dale Brandsoy on July 1.