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GFW board OKs contract with new superintendent

GIBBON — The Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop (GFW) school board unanimously approved a three-year contract with new superintendent Jeffery Horton of Duluth Wednesday.

Horton will receive $120,000 for the first year of the agreement that came on a motion by board chairman Phil Klenk, seconded by board member Jason Haas. Horton will receive 1% percent raises in the second and third years of the agreement that is effective July 1.

Superintendent search consultant Ed Waltman said Horton’s contract saves the school district $8,000 to $9,000 a year compared to what outgoing superintendent Lonnie Seifert would have received for full-time pay.

Horton will receive up to a $3,000 moving expenses allowance if moving receipts are produced over the three-year period, plus a $60 per month cell phone allowance and a $1,000 annuity hike.

Seifert will become the Tri-City United superintendent this summer.

On May 21, the GFW board interviewed three superintendent candidates over four and one-half hours and decided to enter into contract negotiations with Horton who was serving as an assistant superintendent at Duluth Public Schools.

Board members said they chose Horton because of his energy, innovative ideas on helping schools and students improve and because he drove to GFW from Duluth to meet and talk with people before he interviewed for the job.

Horton said he was interested in coming to GFW a few days prior to July 1, trading time off next year, to begin work on an Aug. 11 school district bond referendum election designed to help the district climb out of statutory operating debt.

“I just want to thank the board so much. I know this is a huge decision,” Horton said via Zoom. “I appreciate the work of consultants [Harold] Remme and Waltman. I’m very excited about the whole thing and talking to board members. We have a lot of major issues in the state, country and communities. I’m excited to get to work.”

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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