After spending months to develop a profile of the desired skills and characteristics of the next superintendent for Waconia Schools and conducting a nationwide recruitment of qualified candidates, members of the Waconia School Board are getting close to actually sitting down with the top candidates.
An update on the superintendent search was made during the school board meeting on Monday, April 21.
The process began late last year, when current Superintendent Dr. Nancy Rajanen announced her decision to retire as Superintendent of Waconia Public Schools effective June 30, 2014.
In the months since, the board has contracted with School Exec Connect, a superintendent search firm, to assist with the search for a new superintendent. With the assistance of the community, the profile was developed and made public by the board after a meeting held on March 17. Potential candidates have until Thursday, April 24 to apply for the position, which has been advertised nationally since Feb. 12.
On Monday, April 28, the board and consultants will meet to review and select candidates to be initially interviewed.
After the board interviews five or more recommended candidates on Wednesday, April 30 and Thursday, May 1, the board will narrow the field to two or three finalists during a special meeting on May 1.
The next round of individual interviews will occur on May 13, 14, or the 15, if needed. Each candidate will be invited for an all day interview process including open forums that will be available to staff, students and community members and a final formal board interview.
According to the district website, here is a tentative schedule for the finalist interviews.
• May 13: Community Meeting at Clearwater Middle School from 5 to 5:45 p.m.; dinner at Island View from 6 to 7:15 p.m.; Final Interview at Clearwater Media Center at 7:30 p.m.
• May 14: Community Meeting at Clearwater from 5 to 5:45 p.m.; dinner at Island View from 6 to 7:15 p.m.; Final Interview at Clearwater Media Center at 7:30 p.m.
• May 15: Community Meeting at Clearwater from 5 to 5:45 p.m.; dinner at Island View from 6 to 7:15 p.m.; Final Interview at Clearwater Media Center at 7:30 p.m.
• Immediately following final interview, the board will hold a Special Meeting regarding the selection of the new superintendent.
Also during the meeting, the board welcomed Jennifer Telecky, the new assistant middle school principal at Clearwater Middle School. She will replace Shane Clausen, who was chosen as the new principal at Clearwater to replace retiring Peter Gustafson. Telecky, who was selected out of more than 120 applicants, is currently an assistant principal in Willmar and previously worked as a RTI coordinator in Hutchinson.
Telecky briefly addressed the board and told them that working in the middle school setting is her passion. She said she is thrilled to be joining Waconia Schools and noted that she has been impressed with the district’s positive atmosphere and the commitment she has seen for students, families and student success.
In other matters:
• Mark Fredericksen, principal of Waconia High School, gave a brief presentation regarding a proposal to make a slight adjustment to the high school schedule in order to help alleviate traffic congestion at the high school and middle school, especially during the morning rush.
Currently, the high school day is from 8 a.m. to 2:48 p.m. In the proposal, the high school schedule would switch to 8 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. Officials have tested the switch and found that 10 minutes made a significant difference in helping alleviate the congestion. The difference in minutes during the day would not cause any issues.
If the proposal was enacted, there would be no changes to Clearwater’s schedule. No action was taken on the proposal but the board is expected to consider it at a later time.
• The district is one of three in the state to be nominated for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) Award, which honors schools and districts that are exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and providing effective environmental and sustainability education, which incorporates STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.
Officials expect to learn if they are the state winner on Thursday, April 24.
• Two long-time district employees have announced their retirements. Shar Hansen is retiring after 13 years with the district and Merry Anquist is retiring after 24 years with the district.
Hansen is an all-day kindergarten teacher at Bayview Elementary School. In a letter addressed to Rajanen, Hansen talked about her commitment to helping her students excel in their education.
“My students have given me great enjoyment over the years and the administration and staff have been a pleasure to work with,” Hansen wrote. “Thank you for the support along with the professional and personal development opportunities that you have provided me during my tenure with Waconia Schools.”
Anquist is a special education teacher at Bayview. In a letter addressed to Bayview Principal Chuck Anderson, Anquist talked about how she has sincerely enjoyed her time teaching in the school district.
“I wish to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to you for your cooperation, understanding, and support during my employment here,” she wrote. “I would also like to express my appreciation to my fellow teachers and other colleagues for their support and friendship throughout my years of teaching. Although I am looking forward to retirement, it is with great sadness that I am leaving. I will miss my colleagues, the school environment, and especially the students I have had the opportunity to teach.”
• In personnel-related items, the board approved Leaves of Absence for the following employees: Angel Chihuahua, Gretchen Hoxie, Lisa Barron, Linda Scholla, Michael Jensen, Nichole Drees and Phyllis Haberman.
The board also approved the following Resignations/Retirements/Terminations: Courtney Kelzer, Colleen Hiner, Jessica Booker de Carbo, Tracy Riley, Jennifer Strandquist, Angie Gebhart, Tina Zimmer, Laura Rasanen, Jennifer Altermatt, Lisa Nielsen and Lindsay Schuette.
In other personnel-related items, an agreement to extend the probationary period of Lorraine Larson, a special education teacher at Bayview, was reached. The board also passed a resolution relating to the termination and nonrenewal of the teaching contracts of the following probationary teachers: Martin Fleming and Megan Jacob.
Fleming is a special education teacher at Clearwater and Jacob works at Waconia High School.
• A technology presentation was given by high school English teachers Katie Keogh and Megan Gregor regarding use of iPads in the English Department at the high school.
Highlighted apps included Turnitin.com, an online submission and grading platform that includes a plagarism prevention tool, and Schoology, which is a 24/7 online classroom platform. Other apps included KNO App / Online Text, Google Drive, Notability, and the use of YouTube, iBooks and iMovie.
• The board acknowledged the following donations: $1,500 from Mohawk Jaycees of Westonka for scholarship; $18,000 from Southview PTO for classroom library books; $5,000 donated by Jeremy Salden for batting cage; and $5,000 donated by Wells Fargo Foundation for batting cage.
• Waconia High School will hold prom on Saturday, May 3. Grand March will begin at 3 p.m. at the high school.
• The Clearwater honor rolls begin on Page 5B.
• The board’s next regular meeting will be held at Waconia City Hall at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 12.
Contact Todd Moen at [email protected]