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Four remain in search for superintendent

After hours of interviews, the field of candidates for the Park Rapids Schools superintendent position has been narrowed to four.

Final candidates include Menahga School superintendent Mary Klamm; former Walker-Hackensack- Akeley High School principal and current superintendent of NRHEG Schools Kevin Wellen; Lance Bagstad, superintendent of Renville County West, and Kirk Nelson, Jordan Schools superintendent.

The initial goal was to pare the field to two or three candidates to fill the position vacated by the resignation of Glenn Chiodo. But without a strong consensus, board chair Sherry Safratowich suggested the four be considered finalists.

The final interview process by the board is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 17 with a goal of making a final determination by day's end. The process includes essays from the candidates, an oral presentation on community and school relations and a community tour.

Safratowich, high school principal Jeff Johnson and business manager Carol Hutchinson plan to make site visits Monday, Safratowich said.

The profile defined prior to the interviews has three major areas, Jerry Robicheau of BKB Consultants reminded the committees.

"Trust and communication must be evident," he said. This should be maintained and enhanced, both in-house and with the community, he said.

"Ten to 12 years ago, communication was absent," Robicheau noted. "Now it's a strong component in the district's success."

And strategies for the renewal of the operating levy must be developed, Robicheau said.

During Thursday's interviews, the field of candidates was asked about their backgrounds and experience, including strengths and weaknesses. Perspectives were sought on leadership, healthy communities, communication, funding issues and the role of the community in levy campaigns.

Candidates were asked about criteria for curriculum and teaching staff performance as well as a definition of a "comprehensive educational program."

As of Friday, no final timeline had been set for a board vote on the matter. The process is open to the public.