Willert is unanimous choice at Brainerd

MARSHALL – Marshall Public Schools Superintendent Klint Willert has been chosen as the new superintendent of the Brainerd School District.

The Brainerd School Board voted unanimously this week to enter contract negotiations with Willert. The board would vote on a new contract April 22.

The other two finalists interviewed were Deidre Wells, superintendent of Inver Grove Heights Community Schools; and Ron Wilke, superintendent at La Crescent-Hokah Public Schools. Willert, a former teacher, has been superintendent in Marshall for 10 years.

Marshall School Board Chairman Jeff Chapman said nothing will be done in terms of looking for Willert’s replacement until he officially tenders his resignation to the school board.

“We really can’t do anything until he resigns,” Chapman said. “Once that happens, our board would meet and see if we go with an outside consultant group or figure out how to advertise for a new superintendent.”

Chapman has served on the school board for 14 years in Marshall, so he was involved in the hiring of Willert a decade ago. He said if Willert and the Brainerd School District come to an agreement and he resigns, the board will likely follow a similar path as it did 10 years ago – forming a citizens’ advisory group and getting teachers involved in the process of finding a replacement.

Chapman said the school may or may not choose to hire someone to fill in on an interim basis, should Willert leave. The school board opted not to do that during its search 10 years ago.

“We had good principals who ran the show; it depends,” he said. “We might hire an interim. If the first line of candidates doesn’t meet expectations you have to run through the process all over again. The process takes months, and we would just as soon take the time and make sure we find a superstar.”

The Independent tried unsuccessfully to contact Willert by phone.