The search for the next leader of ISD 885 – St. Michael-Albertville – will go in front of the community at large this week, as the St. Michael-Albertville School Board moves into the latest phase of replacing Dr. James Behle.
Behle, who announced he is retiring effective the end of this school year, has led the district through the last five years.
In an effort to keep the search for a new school district lead local, the STMA School Board has opted not to retain a search firm, much like it acted five years ago when Behle was found to replace the retiring Marcia Ziegler. Instead, the process was started with a survey of district patrons, which was hosted online. Feedback was collected via that survey through last week.
Monday afternoon, St. Michael-Albertville business leaders, including many longstanding family business owners and new upstarts (such as North Wright County Today) will join their collective heads for a forum at St. Michael City Center for a discussion. Results of the district survey will be released to these entrepreneurs and representatives, with discussion to follow.
Then, Tuesday night, the board will host a forum at St. Michael-Albertville High School. Community members from STMA School District are invited to a meeting at 7 p.m., where results of the survey will be discussed and the next steps will be addressed. Attendees will be able to provide feedback to the board, which has taken on this search as priority number one.
Meanwhile, the open position has been posted since the end of January in many publications and web sites, and the posting will remain open until March 23. Each board member will read through every application, and then they will select around 12 candidates during a special March 28 board meeting.
Multiple rounds of interviews will take place throughout the month of April, which will be conducted by the school board with representatives from various stakeholder groups in attendance at the semi-finalist stage, such as food service employees, teachers, administration, and even community members and parents.
Board chair Doug Birk said a few parents would be chosen at random from a list of those who speak up to say they are interested in participating. These stakeholders would be able to give their feedback to board members, but Birk stressed that the school board retains all decision-making authority.
After all interviews have been conducted, two board members will conduct site visits at the finalists’ current places of employment at the beginning of May in advance of the decision-making date on May 9. The board aims to have contract negotiations complete in time for final approval and official hiring on May 16.
NWCT contributor Meghan Gutzwiller also provided content for this article.