The Minneapolis school board voted 6-3 this evening to appoint Alaska’s Ed Graff as their new superintendent. Graff had been a top-three finalist in St. Michael-Albertville’s superintendent search earlier this month, but the school board eliminated him from consideration after finding out Graff does not hold a superintendent license in Alaska, or elsewhere, which the Minnesota Board of School Administrators (MnBOSA) told the STMAs school board could complicate his ability to get a variance to work as a superintendent in Minnesota.
The Star Tribune article mentioned that Graff does not hold a Minnesota superintendent license, but said that the Minneapolis school board does not anticipate any problems in getting a two-year variance while Graff fulfills state requirements for his license. The article did not, however, mention that Graff does not hold a superintendent license in Alaska, either.
STMA board chair Doug Birk discussed Graff’s candidacy at last week’s board meeting, before Minneapolis made their final selection. He said they reached out to the licensure board and found out the same rules would apply to Minneapolis as for STMA if they wanted to hire Graff.
“Mr. Graff would have to provide some kind of evidence of his plan of licensure, and that would have to come from an accredited institution that is capable of licensing a superintendent,” Birk said. “The Minneapolis school board would have to accompany their request with a letter from the school board indicating why they are choosing this candidate in light of the fact that they have other licensed candidates. In this case, one of those candidates happens to be the commissioner of education in the state of Minnesota.”
At the superintendent selection meeting May 9, Birk said that they were just told that day that Graff would have to complete several different types of coursework, a possible internship and other steps in order to receive a superintendent license in Minnesota.
“While they are not expressly stating or prohibiting that candidate Graff could not at some point get a provisional license, there would be, at minimum, several intervening steps involved in that process before he is likely to receive licensure,” Birk said.
The Department of Education told STMA that they would not be able to say whether they would grant Graff a variance until June 13. Before finding out he did not hold a superintendent license in Alaska, Birk and superintendent Jim Behle said that the Department of Ed. made the issue of Graff’s licensure seem like an easy matter to handle.
“The Department of Ed. led us down a curvy road that we thought was straight,” board member Drew Scherber said of the situation.
After receiving this information, the STMA school board chose to eliminate Graff from consideration and went on to select Dr. Ann-Marie Foucault as the new superintendent.
The St. Michael-Albertville school board could not be reached immediately for comment. This article will be updated with any forthcoming comments from them.