NEW ULM - The District 88 Board of Education on Tuesday instructed Superintendent Harold Remme to explore the possibility of recruiting a licensed principal outside the school system on an interim basis, following the just-approved resignation of Washington Elementary Principal Bill Sprung.
The board held a special meeting to address Sprung's and other resignations and also to approve several new hires.
Sprung accepted a principal's job in Montevideo starting in the upcoming school year.
At the start of the board discussion, Remme explained the options for filling the principal vacancy at Washington.
The board could post the opening using the normal process, but it is time consuming, and the pool size is limited at this time of the year, explained Remme.
Alternately, the district could try to fill the opening temporarily, on an interim basis, for a year, said Remme.
One way to do that is by re-assigning an existing licensed staff member. Activities Director Chad Eischens and music teacher Pat Nelsen both hold a K-12 administrative license, and High School Co-Principal Steve Weber has a middle school and secondary administrative license and could therefore obtain special permission from the state Board of Education to temporarily fill the job, recapped Remme. An existing staff member would be familiar with the system, but a re-assignment would create a vacancy elsewhere, summed up Remme.
He then said that he personally favors trying to recruit a person outside the system who has worked as principal and would agree to, and may in fact prefer, an interim arrangement.
After conversations with numerous contacts, Remme indicated that at least two such people have expressed sufficient interest to further look into the matter.
The people in question are experienced with elementary curriculum, scheduling, special service needs, etc., said Remme.
They would have no obligation beyond the interim period, added Remme.
This approach could lead to a possible infusion of new ideas that have been successful elsewhere, added Remme.
If this approach works, the district can go through the usual process of recruiting a permanent principal starting next February or March.
Remme said he met with teacher representatives from Washington School, and staff at the school also favors the appointment of an interim principal from outside the school system.
Several board members also expressed their approval, before taking a formal vote in favor.
In another key personnel matter, the board approved the hiring of Eric Simmons, currently Technology Integration and Differentiation Specialist at Heritage E-STEM Magnet Middle School in West St. Paul, as technology director.
While Simmons is a fairly recent graduate of the University of Minnesota (2009), his credentials include a strong background in projects specifically aimed at integrating technology into the instruction process, said Remme. Simmons has been training teachers to do just that in grant-based jobs, added Remme.