Chairperson of the St. Michael-Albertville school board, Doug Birk, stepped down from the school board last week after 10 years of service, six of them as the board’s leader.
Birk has resigned in order to join the school district’s administrative team as their new Director of Administrative Services. The position opened up after the recent resignation of Jennifer Claseman, who served as the human resources director. Immediately preceding his resignation, the five members of the board approved the new position, which mostly involves all duties of the former human resources position but also some new duties such as providing legal counsel, communication work and hiring staff for special education transportation. Birk recused himself from that vote.
Birk said it has been a pleasure and an honor to serve on the school board for the past 10 years, and he thanked his fellow members and district staff for their support and encouragement.
“I’ve never been prouder to work on a public body, or have seen a public body operate as fluidly and effectively as this one in terms of understanding what it’s really here to do,” Birk said.
Board member Jeff Lindquist thanked Birk for his service, saying he has an obvious passion for education and shone through on everything he has done on the board.
“I think your legacy with this board and with schools across the state is going to be the work you did on equity funding,” he said, “and, hopefully, you might be around to help us on that issue, too.”
Birk would have been up for re-election this November, along with two other board members, Drew Scherber and Carol Steffens.
Superintendent Dr. Ann-Marie Foucault said that there is no legal timeline that dictates how quickly a vacated school board seat must be filled. She said the board would be discussing a course of action at the next school board meeting, scheduled for Aug. 1.