School district starting search for new superintendent

MARSHALL – Marshall School Board Chairman Jeff Chapman gave an update on the search for a new superintendent at the work session meeting Tuesday.

Chapman reported that there had been a process for interviewing consultants and one – Dakota Education Consulting – was chosen from among several others. The all-inclusive cost if $12,000. The district also posted the opening with various venues.

“They’re very qualified, and we felt very comfortable with their process,” Chapman said. “So we’re working with them right now. We’re reviewing the contract and discussing timelines.”

The deadline for qualified individuals to apply is May 31, Chapman said, noting that finalists would likely be selected for interviews on June 9. Those interviews would then be held with board members on June 16.

“Hopefully we’ll have somebody hired by July 1,” Chapman said. “Our goal is to pick a superintendent that fits the needs of our district and not to reinvent it.”

Board member Bill Mulso said he liked that Dakota Education Consulting stood behind the work it does.

“I think one of the things that attracted us to this consultant is that if we’re not happy with the candidates or something doesn’t go right, they would re-run the service free of charge,” Mulso said.

Chapman pointed out that the district also had the option of hiring an interim if the right fit doesn’t surface. Administrative assistant Tricia Stelter said that community input was also obtained to assist with the process.

“We gave parents and guardians the opportunity to fill out a survey, asking them what they’d like to see in a superintendent,” Stelter said. “So all that information will go back to Dakota Ed Consultants, and they’ll compile it and give it back to us so we know what people want.”

Later in the meeting, the board approved a contract with DEC. The board also unanimously voted to authorize the Marshall administration to proceed with the implementation of the technology plan over three years, evenly distributing devices as presented in Option 3 at the last board meeting.

The approved plan involves the deployment of 1:1 devices to students in grades 1, 5, 9 and 10 during the 2014-15 school year. Grades 1 and 5 will receive new devices at the beginning of the school year, while grades 9 and 10 will receive them at semester break.

The following year, devices will be deployed to students in grades 1, 5, 9 and 12 at the start of the school year. Then in the fall of the 2016-17 school year, students in grades 1, 4, 7 and 8 will receive devices. The current plan is to have students in grades 1-4 use iPad mobile technology, while students in grades 5-12 will use a Window-based tablet device yet to be determined.

Mark Brodersen, vice president of operations for Taher Foods, and Marshall food service director Lori Fruin gave a presentation to the board, highlighting the successes and challenges with food service. Marshall is going through the usual three-year bid process at this time. Taher Foods, which has been the district’s food service provider for the past 27 years, recently put in a competitive bid.

“The last time we were here, we were embarking on some very specific food changes at the USDA,” Brodersen said. “Now, fast forward to May, and we can talk about the successes we’ve had with that as well as the challenges we still have. My biggest fear is that we still feed garbage cans, and we don’t feed students’ stomachs.”

The changes have primarily come from government requirements handed down to school districts, requiring implementation in a short period of time.

“The changes have been fairly abrupt,” he said. “Some of them take time to accept and to be modeled, not just in the lunch room, but in their everyday lives. We certainly have embraced it and have some ideas to share with you about some of the challenges we see and some of the solutions that we can provide.”

Marshall High School Principal Brian Jones and business teacher/Business Professional of America adviser/career coordinator Brenda Kellen were recognized in the Tiger Spotlight. Jones recently received the Star of Innovation award, which is designed to recognize principals for the development and support of exemplary and innovative education programs in their school.

“Mr. Jones was recognized with a Gold Star award,” Marshall Superintendent Klint Willert said. “It was something that occurred as a result of some collaboration with a variety of community businesses and members. Mrs. Kellen was part of it because we had a Career Internship program, and it was to really turn the whole idea of the internship program on its ear, where students would have the opportunity to take a career field of their interest and pursue it though an internship-based experience and receive college credit while doing it. It’s really an innovative project.”

Current participants of the Career Internship program will be displaying their projects from 4-5 p.m. today in the main lobby of MHS.

Board members seemed to favor going ahead with the selection process for student school board representatives to the second straight year. Willert said he recently met with students to invite them to apply.

“I met with students the same day as the prom information meeting,” he said. “It was with all the junior that were there, and we brought in sophomores as well from various organizations like the Cultures in Power club, National Honor Society and student council, so we had a pretty broad group. I asked them to consider it and we actually ended up with four applications, which is pretty good.”

Board members appeared to like last year’s process and Willert’s suggestion to have two representatives again.

“There are times where one or the other had conflicts, so having two allows for that student voice to still be heard as part of the process,” Willert said.