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Former West Fargo superintendent hired for a year in Frazee

After interviewing four candidates for interim superintendent, the Frazee-Vergas School Board is negotiating with a retired West Fargo, N.D., superintendent.

Charles Cheney was offered the position this morning (Wednesday), and Principal Rob Nudell, who is filling in as emergency interim superintendent until the beginning of August, has been directed to start negotiations with Cheney for the position.

Cheney previously taught and served as assistant superintendent and superintendent in West Fargo for many years. The middle school there is named for him.

The three others the board interviewed were former Frazee-Vergas superintendent Joe Merseth, Nordy Nelson and Russ Johnson. The school board had planned to interview a fifth candidate, Charles Briscoe, but he accepted a job in another district at the end of last week.

"All four were strong candidates," Board Chair Rich Ziegler said.

"It was as close as you could get to a unanimous vote on candidate No. 1," he said, meaning Cheney.

Merseth was a close second, he added.

All four of the candidates are retired administrators who work as interim superintendents throughout the area. Cheney's previous stints as interim include school districts in Battle Lake and West Central in Barrett, Minn.

"He is really, really well respected," Ziegler said of Cheney, especially with his time spent in West Fargo.

The board has authorized Nudell to negotiate a contract with Cheney for 130-140 days (the contract will end June 30 like other district contracts at the end of the fiscal year.) and up to $75,000 for that time.

Nudell is hoping to reach an agreement with Cheney, and will have a negotiations committee meeting with board members Jim Nelson and Steve Jepson on Monday at 2 p.m..

He then plans to bring the contract to the board at a special meeting July 29 at 7 a.m. for approval so the interim superintendent can begin his duties on Aug. 1.