School Board decision concerning
I am very concerned about the future leadership of South Washington County Schools after hearing the School Board decided not to renew Superintendent Mark Porter's contract. I must admit I do not understand this, especially since the re-elected incumbents ran on a platform of positive momentum, results and accountability with no indication of this decision prior to residents going to the polls. I know the board has the authority to make this decision, but I am very concerned about the message it sends inside and outside our community, as well as the severe impact it will have on momentum.
I have known Mark for over 25 years and have worked with him on a variety of issues, and have always found him to be very capable, competent and professional with clear focus and high standards. Most recently, I attended Mark's presentation to a Woodbury professional group, and was impressed with the presentation, as well as the results and status of our schools.
I question the wisdom of this decision based on the reality that many districts spend much money and time attempting to hire someone, and the end result is the hiring of an interim superintendent. I would much prefer to have a superintendent for the long term, with periodic evaluations that allow for improvements and changes as needed.
School districts deal with many issues, some very controversial. Not everyone will always agree with every outcome. This is what makes the need for good communication, collaboration and consistency at the leadership level so important. I believe Mark has the skills, talents and strength of character necessary to be an excellent person to lead the team of District 833, and that he could work with the School Board, employees, students and families to continue to build on our strong foundation.
Hargis is the former mayor of Woodbury
'Santa' found, gave back store bank deposit
Christmas came early this year for Finja's Liquors in St. Paul Park.
On Sept. 29, one of the family members left a bank deposit on the back of the bumper of his truck while he loaded some needed supplies for work that day. He then finished loading and took off for work down Highway 36 in North St. Paul. When he got to the bank, he realized what he had done. The business, which has only been opened a couple years, had to struggle once again. Days went by and we kept praying that maybe someone might find the lost deposit and call, but no one did.
Then, five days before Christmas we received a Christmas card and it read: "Happy holidays. Hope this puts a sparkle in your holiday season!!" There was a worn deposit slip with the exact cash the deposit was for with a note that read: "I found this on 36 and Margaret streets. Next time, please do not attach a deposit ticket to any lost money. Merry Christmas!!!"
We wanted to thank whoever sent us this card, but the return address on the envelope read "100 - Hwy. 36 North St. Pole." Whoever you are, you are a very special, wonderful person. You and your family have a blessed holiday season and a very happy, healthy New Year. Now it is our turn to pay it forward.