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District 833 superintendent search picks up steam; interviews set for this week

The next South Washington County Schools superintendent may come from outside Minnesota.

As the District 833 School Board prepares to interview schools chief candidates, the consultant leading the search said there were top applicants from within Minnesota and from other states.

That type of mix of candidates is typical for a school system the size of District 833, said Ken Dragseth, a consultant with School Exec Connect, the firm hired to lead the superintendent search.

School staff and the community should know in two weeks who will lead the district beginning in July.

The search consultants planned to present a group of five to seven semifinalists to the board at a meeting Tuesday night.

The board has an exhausting schedule planned for Saturday, May 5, when it has slotted time to interview six candidates nearly back to back over a nine-hour period.

The special meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 7:45 a.m. at the District Service Center in Cottage Grove. The approximate interview times are 8:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 11 a.m. 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

All of the semifinalists will be asked the same set of about 14 questions, Dragseth said. Immediately following the interviews, board members are expected to narrow the list of semifinalists to two or three finalists.

Each of the finalists will be called back for a second, day-long interview May 8-10. The public can ask questions of the finalists from 5-5:50 p.m. each of those days at East Ridge High School. The School Board will conduct final interviews each night from 7:30-9 p.m. The May 8 interview will be in the professional development room at East Ridge. The May 9 and 10 interviews will be at the District Service Center.

The board could select a superintendent following the last interview on May 10; otherwise, a selection meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Friday, May 11. If the candidate accepts, the board would negotiate a contract with July 1 as the planned start date.

The search process is culminating as Superintendent Mark Porter's tenure winds down. Porter's contract ends June 30. The School Board on a split vote last December decided not to renew his contract.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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