ELY – After just one year on the job, Ely Memorial High School principal Dan Bettin has resigned.
“It is with deep regret that I have accepted the resignation of our 6-12 principal,” Superintendent Alexis Leitgeb wrote in an email to the Timberjay this week.
“Dan will be moving closer to family and taking on the position of principal at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton School District. I wish him nothing but the best and appreciate everything he did this year in our district,” she said.
School Board President Ray Marsnik said, “I’m sorry to see him leave. He was a good man and did good things for our school in the year that he was here.”
In addition to implementing an illegal-substance canine search program this year, Bettin also helped add new curriculum in the school thru the Applied Learning Initiative with new welding, nursing and technical math classes available for this next year.
He stepped in as head coach for the girls basketball team for part of this past season, and even umpired a couple of VFW baseball games earlier this summer.
Bettin came to Ely last year under a dark cloud. Some school board members, as well as several parents, were against his hiring because of an investigation into disciplinary actions involving a student while he was principal at Floodwood School District.
Before his hiring was approved last June, school board member Amy Richter said she was disappointed and concerned that the school district would bring in a principal “the Minnesota Department of Education stated there was a preponderance of evidence concerning Bettin and corporal punishment against a student.”
She asked at that meeting if the principal was in charge of special education in the school and was told that the principal is in charge of special education under the direction of the superintendent. “There might be a bias or feeling against that group of students,” she said, referring to Bettin.
At that meeting, Marsnik said Bettin was cleared of any maltreatment charges. “The police investigated and there were no charges,” he said. “He was disciplined for the incident.”
In her Timberjay column this month, Leitgeb announced some changes in administrative staff duties.
“Starting July 1, a couple of duties switched between administrators,” she said. Anne Oelke, part-time elementary principal will take on the district Special Education oversight. The part-time 6-12 principal will take on Community Education. That position will include scheduling classes, finding teachers, and collecting fees, she said.
“Unless the board chooses to reconfigure the administrative positions, the next step would be to advertise the position,” Leitgeb said.
Marsnik has been an outspoken critic of the administrative costs in ISD 696. “This will be a good time to look at our administrative configuration,” he said. “Our administrative costs are extremely high and we need to look at making some cuts or changes.”
The School Board will have a special meeting on Monday July 7, to discuss the position. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the superintendent’s office.
“We’re already into July and we need to move on this for the upcoming school year,” Marsnik said.