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Superintendent worked to move schools forward

"These will be tough shoes to fill," Park Rapids School Board chair Sherry Safratowich said of superintendent Glenn Chiodo's resignation.

Safratowich speaks from experience, having served for two decades on the board and working with five superintendents, two on an interim basis.

"He has taken us from statutory operating debt to a very, very, very positive fund balance," she said. "We work together very well. It wasn't that way when he came.

"This district will move forward," Safratowich said. "But this will be the biggest hire the board will have to make. This is our leader."

At Monday's meeting, she asked for volunteers to serve on a committee to begin the replacement process.

"It's a big job," she said. "But rest assured, we will move forward. We will make it work."

"He has done an amazing job for this district," business manager Carol Hutchinson said of Chiodo. "It will be a huge change for the district and community," she projects. "This district struggled for a number of years. He did an excellent job of bringing the community and school district together. We have to keep it moving forward.

"Passage of the operating referendums" in 2006 and 2010 "says a lot about him," Hutchinson said.

"I will miss him," Hutchinson said. "He's absolutely super to work with. He brings out the best in people," she said of his ability to see people as individuals, drawing out their strengths.

"It took me longer to get rid of you than for you to get rid of me," board member Gary Gauldin joked at Monday's meeting. He retired shortly after Chiodo came on board in 2003.

Gauldin's motion to accept Chiodo's retirement was "with deep regret."

"It's a huge loss for the district," activities director John Schumacher said. "No doubt. With him at the helm, we've gone to a better place."

Chiodo, he said, encouraged staff to "strive for excellence, while giving us leadership... He did an outstanding job."

"He's a real person," high school principal Jeff Johnson said. "He allows teachers to teach, principals to be principals."

Chiodo, he said, has built a community via communication, both in the school itself and with district residents. "People feel comfortable. They have fun. There is a great level of trust, with the staff and community. He's a good friend, a good mentor."

"He's great to work with."