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BEA discusses superintendent

By Staff | Feb 17, 2019

Inclement weather caused the public input session in the search for a new superintendent for Blue Earth Area Schools to be rescheduled twice. But it has done little to delay the timeline for finding the person to be the next superintendent of BEA.

The public input session was finally held on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at the media center located in the High School.

Harold Remme and Eric Bartleson of the South Central Service Cooperative were present at the meeting to lead the discussion.

Before the input session began, Remme took a few minutes to update those in attendance on the current status of the search.

Remme informed the group there were currently eight people who had submitted applications for the superintendent’s position and had filled out all of the necessary paperwork. In addition, two other people have been actively inquiring about the position and may also apply. Remme said there could be as many as 12 applicants by the end of the filing period on Feb. 28.

Remme explained he has had profile meetings with school board members, business leaders, teachers, department heads at the school and students.

A list of potential candidates will be presented for board approval on March 11.

March 13 is the date set for the School Board and the community committee to interview up to six candidates. The goal is to determine the finalists by the end of the day.

The final interviews would take place on March 20 and/or March 21 depending on the number of finalists to be interviews.

Following the final interviews, the board will meet and determine which candidate will be given the job offer.

Once the assembled group was up to speed on the selection process, Remme and Bartleson began discussion about the school district.

Participants at the meeting stated some of the strengths of the school district were the sense of community within the district and the fiscal strength of the school over the years.

Those in attendance also said the school had a good variety of extra curricular activity programs and had been good at keeping up with technology. The quality of the staff working at the school was also listed as a strength.

When it came to the challenges facing the school district, almost all of the responses could be traced back to concerns about declining enrollment.

People at the meeting said declining enrollment meant declining finances which could make it more difficult to retain staff and keep programs in place. The task of recruiting teachers to a rural environment was also listed as a challenge. Finally, there was concern for the ability of the district to meet the emotional and physical needs of the students.

The topic of what needs to be done to improve academic achievement and operation of the school was next on the agenda.

Participants felt there was a need to find a balance between technology and more traditional teaching methods. It was also stated there needs to be a continuity of the curriculum to better prepare students for college. In addition, there was concern over the need for passage of a levy to ensure programs are kept which promote academic achievement.

The final question for discussion concerned the skills and abilities which a new superintendent must possess.

People at the meeting said they wanted someone with experience who was from outside the area and could take a fresh look at the district. It was also important to the group the person is trustworthy, visible and accessible in the community and has good communication skills. The possibility of hiring someone who has previous experience as a teacher and principal was seen as a plus.

As the meeting came to a close, Remme reminded the group, “It doesn’t make any difference how manny candidates you have as long as you have the right one.”