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Staff shuffle continues in School District 833; special ed director leaving, finance chief hired

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news Cottage Grove, 55016
Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

South Washington County Schools is losing another administrator, just as the district is filling the last of its other cabinet-level vacancies.

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Special Services Director Jeff Jorgensen has been named the new special education director for Edina Public Schools, the district announced. He is the fifth South Washington County Schools administrator or department director to leave since March.

Jorgensen, who joined District 833 in 2011, has led a department overseeing early childhood and K-12 special education programming as well as health and psychological services. The Edina position is similar.

Jorgensen will start his new job July 1. Jorgensen said in a statement that he had worked with Edina’s superintendent in the past and knew of the district’s accomplishments. Jorgensen said he was planning for the next school year in District 833 when asked if he was interested in applying for the Edina position. He said it’s the right move personally and professionally.

“It is very bittersweet for me to be leaving during this exciting time of change,” Jorgensen said in the statement. “I am leaving behind a tremendously talented group of educators and administrators, all of whom are committed to serving the students and families of District 833.”

District 833 announced Wednesday it hired Dan Pyan as finance director, pending formal School Board approval. That was the last of the previous four administrative vacancies that needed to be filled following a string of resignations earlier this spring.

Pyan replaces Aaron Bushberger, who is leaving for a similar position in the South St. Paul School District.

Pyan is coming to South Washington County Schools from the Winona Area Public Schools, where he worked as director of fiscal affairs. Previous to his four years in Winona, Pyan had similar positions in New Prague and Stewartville.

Superintendent Keith Jacobus praised Pyan’s fiscal knowledge, including his attention to maintaining or building healthy budget reserves in the districts where he has worked.

“We are excited about the extensive background in Minnesota school finance Mr. Pyan carries,” Jacobus said in a statement. “He is recognized as a leader in the state, and we are pleased to have him join our system. His knowledge base and past experiences will help us continue to improve our processes and the services we offer to our students.” 

The district already has hired two new assistant superintendents and a director of curriculum and staff development.

Julie Nielsen, the Middleton Elementary School principal, and Michael Johnson, an administrator in the River Falls, Wis., school district, will be assistant superintendents beginning July 1.

They replace Dave Bernhardson and Keith Ryskoski, who resigned in March.

The district’s new director of teaching and learning is Matthew Dorschner, who has served as elementary specialist for the past year. He replaces Randi Anderson, who is leaving for a similar job in the Eden Prairie School District.

In addition to the five administrators, Mary Amidon, the administrative assistant to Jacobus, resigned with a separation agreement in March. That position has been filled by Dayna Bentdahl.

Administrative resignations typically occur each year, but five departures among cabinet-level staff in one year is unusual.

Earlier this spring, Jacobus said he and the district support the administrators’ decision to move on and that the departures do not signal problems within the district.

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