School superintendent search nears final stages

Community Editor

Late last year, current Forest Lake Area School District Superintendent Linda Madsen submitted her letter of resignation to the School Board, with plans to vacate her position June 30, 2017. Days after her December announcement, the search for a replacement began.

“So far we have had meetings with staff and the public, and we have put together a set of criteria based on what we learned from those meetings as well as discussions we have had at our board meetings,” said Rob Rapheal, School Board president. “After putting together all that information, we were all pretty confident that we knew what we were looking for in a superintendent.”

The next step in the process was to put out a call for applicants. The board publicized the opening and received 30 applications.

“I am happy with that number,” Rapheal said. “This number of applicants gives us a really good pool of people with a wide variety of different backgrounds and experiences.”

During the first week of April, board members will individually look over the applications. They will then identify each applicant by a number rather than a name so as not to influence any other board member’s decision, and narrow the group of 30 down to between six and 10 favorites that they would like to interview. The board will then meet as a whole April 8 to discuss their choices, review applicants’ information and determine finalists. They will also use that time to review, discuss and finalize first round interview questions. Once the field is narrowed, names of the candidates will be released to the public.

“We will hold special school board meetings April 10 and 11 to conduct interviews with our selected candidates,” Rapheal said. “We will then take some time to narrow the field even further and conduct a second round of interviews April 19. Our official selection will be made during the week of April 24 to May 1.”

From there, a contract will be negotiated and could be signed as early as May 4 with the new superintendent reporting to work June 1.

The meetings April 8, 10, 11 and 19 are open to the public. The April 8 meeting will begin at 9 a.m., and the 10, 11 and 19 meetings will begin at 6 p.m. All meetings will be held at the district office. Representatives from the Minnesota School Board Association will be on site for all interviews.