Contract talks with new ‘super’ scheduled Friday
Tom Klein

REGIONAL – The St. Louis County School District has agreed to pursue contract negotiations with Steven Sallee to serve as the district’s new superintendent. The board was scheduled to meet with Sallee on Friday at the Cherry School.

Steven Sallee is currently superintendent of the Southland Public School District and LeRoy-Ostrander Public Schools.

The board began its search for a new superintendent after current Superintendent Teresa Knife Chief told the board in November that she would not be seeking a renewal of her contract. Knife Chief had been hired in March 2011 to replace Superintendent Charles Rick.

School Board Chairman Robert Larson said he had contacted Sallee’s references as well as additional people in the communities served by the Southland and LeRoy-Ostrander school districts.

“Overall, everyone was very positive about him and were sorry to hear he might be leaving,” said Larson.

Board Nancy Wall Glowaksi also spoke with some school officials by phone and was pleased by what she heard.

In both districts, Sallee shepherded the district to stronger financial footing. He received the Minnesota Department of Education’s finance award in both districts.

“School finance is a struggle for most districts, but we’ve been able to increase the fund balance in both districts by being proactive with reductions,” Sallee said. “Declining enrollment has played a big part of those struggles and I believe we’ve done a good job in adjusting accordingly.”

Sallee also helped implement an iPad initiative and interactive television classes in both school districts to expand learning opportunities for students.

Sallee was attracted to the superintendent vacancy at St. Louis County School District for a variety of reasons. His wife, Shirley, and he both have family in the area and are interested in moving closer to them.

Located in southeast Minnesota, the Southland School District has an enrollment of 480 students and serves the communities of Adams, Dexter, Elkton, Johnsburg, Rose Creek, Taopi and the surrounding rural area.

The LeRoy-Ostrander School District is near Southland and has an enrollment of 305 students.

Sallee has been superintendent at Southland Public Schools since 2008 and previously served as assistant superintendent, high school principal and athletic director at the LeRoy-Ostrander district.

He taught physical education at Ellsworth, Wis., and was the district specialist in adaptive physical education there from 1997-2005.

In his resumé, Sallee describes himself as “deeply committed to education excellence for students and staff” and said he communicates “warmly and honestly,” forging relationships built on trust.

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