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Park Rapids Schools ready to offer contracts to two assistant principals

The school board decided May 16 to forgo a special meeting May 17 to re-interview the top two of six candidates for the open positions.

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Park Rapids Area High School
Park Rapids Enterprise file photo
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The Park Rapids School Board on Monday agreed to cancel a special meeting for the final round of interviews with candidates for two assistant principal positions.

School board chair Sherry Safratowich reported that 26 panelists, including the school board, met in two groups May 11 and 12 to interview six candidates for the positions.

The candidates were identified as Tina Ridlon, coordinator of educational services (CES) at Century Middle School; Steph Mercil, CES at Century Elementary; Jodi Dodson, an associate principal with Grand Forks, N.D. Public Schools; Mark Frank, principal at Menahga High School; Hanna Rodenbaugh, assistant special ed director at Northland Learning Center in Virginia, Minn.; and Janessa Green, a K-12 assistant principal at Northland Community Schools in Remer.

Interviews were scored on a point system that Safratowich said was based on golf scoring. “Pretty solidly, the group came up with their top two candidates,” she said.

Safratowich suggested, and board members agreed, canceling the special board meeting scheduled for May 17 and offering contracts to the top two candidates. School board member Dennis Dodge made a motion to do so.

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“I believe that we really had great discussions with all the people that were involved,” said Dodge. “I think they were great interviews. We had some great candidates.” But he recommended going with the top two candidates.

“There were two that stood out,” said school board member Jay Pike. Other board members agreed, with Clayton Hoyt saying the two candidates stood out above the field, and Stephanie Carlson calling it a good process.

“One thing that really noticed was the overwhelming support from the whole group at large, meaning the teachers, the administration and the board,” said school board member Dana Kocka. “I think that that speaks volumes that we can work together.”

The school board did not identify the two candidates, but Superintendent Lance Bagstad said this would become public data upon their acceptance of the contract offer. After that, he said, their actual hiring will be brought back for action to the school board’s next regular meeting.

School board members discussed the interview process, which involved a panel

Dodge’s motion passed unanimously.

In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Approved a contract with LINQ, Inc. to provide the point-of-sale and accounting system for the school meals program.
  • Approved the resignations of Dannon Kietzman as an elementary autism spectrum disorders teacher and Caitlin Keute-Djonne as a grade 7-12 science teacher, both effective at the end of the 2021-22 school year.
  • Hired Morgan Miller as a grade 7-12 language arts teacher, contingent upon licensure; Victoria Schneider as a school readiness paraprofessional, two days per week; and Marcia Baker as a voluntary pre-kindergarten paraprofessional, all effective with the 2022-23 school year.
  • Hired Kristi Goochey as an assistant girls swimming/diving coach, Matt Brandt and Josh Cook as junior high girls basketball coaches.
  • Rescinded the hiring of Amy Campbell as an elementary teacher, effective with the 2022-23 school year, and Andy Campbell as an assistant football coach.
  • Approved an unpaid leave of absence for Tina Schulz effective with the 2022-23 school year.
  • Received an enrollment report showing that a total of 1,574 students were enrolled in K-12 as of May 12, and 1,735 students districtwide including preschool, virtual academy and Alternate Learning Center programs. This was approximately level with the previous two months’ enrollment numbers.
  • Approved a fall 2022 coaches list, including football head coach Jeremy Nordick, assistants Jesse Bucholz, Kevin Murphy and Wyatt Sanford, and middle school coaches Gabe Sturtz, Garrett Kovach and Josh Cook; volleyball head coach Ellie Riihiluoma and assistant Katelyn Seehafer; cross country head coach Pat Richard and assistant Tarja Nelson; girls swimming head coach Todd Fritze and assistants Kristi Goochey and Baylee Gartner; girls tennis head coach Brianne Morris and assistant Lane Miles; and clay target league head coach Jodi Walsh and assistants Janelle Girtz, Steve Girtz, Charley Walsh, Robin Walsh, Bert Fosse, Dan Strickler, Matt Leek, Allen Kriz and Jared Hoefs.
  • Approved payments presented for May, totaling $1,738,950.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, June 6 at the Frank White Education Center.

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Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.
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