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Superintendent search begins

Glenn Chiodo

The hunt has begun.

Jerry Robicheau of BKB and Associates, the "search firm" hired for the process of replacing retiring Park Rapids Schools Superintendent Glenn Chiodo, reported having received three "serious inquiries" from candidates to date.

The position was posted in early May and will close June 20.

"I hope we are as successful as we were nine years ago," Robicheau said, BKB conducting the search process that resulted in Chiodo's hire.

Interviews with administration and board members were conducted prior to Monday's meeting, with discussions to be held with Progress Park Rapids and a survey sent to staff members. From the results BKB will develop a "profile of leadership."

"The board will not interfere in the expedited process," chair Sherry Safratowich said. "We will work diligently to find a replacement."

"We hope for a quick turnaround," Robicheau told the board.

He presented a timeline calling for a profile to be completed by June 18, with the finalists to be narrowed to five by late June.

Semi-finalist interviews will be conducted July 12, final interviews will be July 17.

"We may tap someone on the shoulder," Robicheau said of recruiting candidates.

"Park Rapids has so much to offer," he said, citing the school's academics, extra-curriculars and strong relationship with the community. "This will afford you a positive pool of candidates," he assured the board.

In other action, the board:

n Approved, through the Hubbard in Prevention (HIP) Coalition, sending four Park Rapids students to Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America training in Nashville in July.

The county has received a five-year, $1 million grant to employ strategies to reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs among youth. Park Rapids will serve as the "hub" of the project.

Nevis and Laporte will also be sending students to the mid-year training institute.

Park Rapids students chosen for the trip are Abby Fischer, Jordyn Bynum, Zach Jewison and Calvin Bateman.

The board approved the HIP grant, Beth Heltunen explaining the mission and vision of the program - "a united community where children prosper and grow into healthy adults."

n Approved a 10 cent increase in lunch prices for the next school year.

Business manager Carol Hutchinson said the district was notified by the Department of Education that the base lunch price should be $2.45, based on federal reimbursement. It's now at $2.15. She recommended bumping up prices a dime a year to meet the requirement.

Summer food service - breakfast and lunch - begins June 4 and concludes Aug. 16. Meals will be served to all children under 18 at no charge Monday through Thursday at Century School.

n Approved a fifth section of kindergarten due to increased enrollment. Student numbers are at 116, and they are expected to increase by fall.

District-wide, enrollment has remained stable through the year, 1,527 students in October, 1,526 in May.

n Heard a "thank you" to PTA president Rhonda Lageson from Shawn Andress, Education Minnesota/Park Rapids president.

"It takes a village to raise a child," Andress said. "I would like to publicly thank her. Dedicated? Yes. Insistent? Yes," she said, citing the supply cabinets that remain full, thanks to the PTA.

"I hope the next person is as dedicated and insistent."

n Approved Tina Ridlon as head girls basketball coach.

n Learned GED testing fees are going up by $10 for the full test to $80, $2 per individual test, to $15.

Community education director Jill Dickinson reported summer class enrollment is "going strong."

Students served by the after-school program this year numbered 112 with 48 registered for the summer program. Dickinson attributes this to a "wonderful staff" of four adults and six high school students.

n Approved the hire of Susan Cassidy as a .5 full time equivalent media director and Stacey Klinkhammer as a .8 FTE math instructor.