Board narrows ‘super’ search
Tom Klein

REGIONAL – The St. Louis County School Board has selected five finalists to interview for the school district’s superintendent vacancy. Finalists were chosen from a pool of 13 applicants based on criteria established by the school board. The finalists include:

‰ Peter Haapala, superintendent of the Carlton Independent School District.

‰ John Metsa, principal at the North Woods School and Tower-Soudan Elementary School.

‰ Kathleen Mortensen, director of schools for Brainerd Public Schools.

‰ Steven Sallee, superintendent of the Southland Public School District and LeRoy-Ostrander Public School District.

‰ Belinda Selfors, principal at Sauk Centre Public Schools.

The school board has set a schedule for interviewing the finalists. The interviews will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19 and 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 20 in the media center at the Cherry School. All interviews are open to the public.

The district initiated its search for a new superintendent after current Superintendent Teresa Knife Chief informed the board that she would not be seeking a renewal of her contract.

Knife Chief was hired in March 2011 to replace Superintendent Charles Rick by a unanimous vote of the board. She had previously served as superintendent at the Nett Lake Elementary School.

The board has contracted with the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) to assist in the search for a new superintendent. MSBA helped in screening candidates to narrow the list to five finalists and reviewed interview questions and procedures with board members.

MSBA’s Sandy Gundlach is serving as the point person for the St. Louis County School District. She has 20 years of experience working with school boards and superintendents, and served on the St. Peter School Board from 1992-99. She is a member of the National Affiliation of Superintendent Searchers and has conducted more than 40 superintendent searches in Minnesota and Illinois. She has been employed by the MSBA since 2005.

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