BEA picks new superintendent
The search for the next Blue Earth Area School superintendent began over two months ago. Those applying for the job included people from North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota as well as someone who had experience in Brazil.
In the end, it was the candidate who resided within the BEA School District and is employed in a town less than 20 miles from Blue Earth, who was chosen for the job.
At a meeting on Thursday night, March 21, the board unanimously voted to enter into contract negotiations with Mandy Fletcher, the superintendent/principal of the Granada-Huntley-East Chain School District, to be the new superintendent of Blue Earth Area Schools as of July 1.
If contract negotiations are successful, the board is scheduled to take action on the contract at its April 1 School Board meeting.
A graduate of BEA, Fletcher has been the superintendent/principal of GHEC since 2017. Prior to holding that position, she was a business education teacher for eight years, dean of students/teacher for two years and a principal for two years.
Harold Remme, representing South Central Service Cooperative (SCSC), the firm hired to assist in the superintendent search, opened the meeting with a reminder the process had begun 66 days ago with the advertisement of the superintendent opening.
Since then, he continued, there had been 15 males and two females who had applied. Nine of the people had prior superintendent experience.
Interviews were conducted by SCSC with school staff and members of the community to build a profile of desired attributes for the future superintendent.
SCSC presented a list of four candidates to the board for approval on March 11, and the round one interviews took place on March 13. Fletcher and David Pace, superintendent at Greenway Public Schools, were selected as the two finalists.
The round two interviews were conducted on March 20 and 21. Community members had the chance to interview the candidates at an open forum during the afternoon while the School Board conducted their interviews in the evening.
People from the community queried the candidates on various subjects including special education, staff cuts, an operating levy, class size and the superintendent’s visibility in the area.
Following the final interview on Thursday evening, the board convened at 7:30 p.m., with the purpose of making the final selection.
During the meeting, Remme led the board through the decision process. Board members were asked to list positive attributes of each candidate and then discuss them.
An initial straw poll was taken and after Remme and interim superintendent Jerry Jensen tabulated the results, Remme announced there was no clear consensus for one candidate over another.
Remme commented both candidates are extremely strong and the board members thanked Remme for making the decision so difficult.
More discussion was held and this time board members were tasked with listing concerns they might have about the candidates.
Following another straw poll, Remme said one candidate appeared to be emerging as the likely choice and it may be time for official action.
Prior to any nomination, board member Frankie Bly stated, “We, as a board, need to come out of this process united and throw 100 percent of our support behind our selection.”
It had been over an hour since the meeting had convened when board member Jeremy Coxworth proceeded to nominate Fletcher for the superintendent’s position. It was seconded by Sara Hauskins and approved unanimously.
Reached by phone following the meeting, Fletcher said, ” I am still in shock. I’ve been so overwhelmed with everybody who expressed support along the way. I am humbled and very grateful to the board for giving me the opportunity to lead the district.”