Archive for March, 2009

Meet the Superintendent finalists-updated

March 31, 2009

An interesting find from Speed Gibson, who noted a change in the 281 website timeline for hiring Mack’s replacement:

Candidates for the position will be evaluated by the school board in the next few weeks and the board will conduct first round interviews March 31 and April 1. If the board selects one of the finalists after the last interview, it would make an offer immediately and announce its decision as soon as the candidate accepts.

First round interviews are scheduled for March 31 and April 1, a process that was to winnow the field to 3 finalists. We the public were to be able to meet and greet them April 6-8 as part of their second interview. The Board would then have the rest of April to make its decision, make the offer, negotiate the contract, and announce the acceptance. The new Superintendent would then take charge on July 1, 2009 when the retiring Stan Mack retires.

UPDATE: We received this update today from RSD:

Robbinsdale board to interview four superintendent candidates

New Hope, Minn. (March 31, 2009) – The Robbinsdale Area School Board will interview four candidates for superintendent on Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1. The candidates are Paul Durand, Superintendent of Winona Area Public Schools; Julia Espe, Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for St. Cloud Area School District 742; Aldo Sicoli, Assistant Superintendent of Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District 191; and Colton Jenkins, Executive Director of Secondary Schools for the School District of Beloit (Wis.). No internal candidates applied for the position.

The board will interview candidates as follows:
March 31, 5 p.m. – Paul Durand
March 31, 6:30 p.m. – Julia Espe
March 31, 8 p.m. – Aldo Sicoli
April 1, 5 p.m. – Colton Jenkins (sic – his name is spelled Carlton. Typo courtesy of RSD)

These interviews are open to the public, though no public comment is allowed.

Members of the community are invited to meet finalists for the superintendent position in Robbinsdale Area Schools from 5 – 6 p.m. on April 7-9 at the Education Service Center boardroom, 4148 Winnetka Ave. N., New Hope. The tentative schedule calls for as many as three finalists to each spend a day in the school district touring the district, meeting with staff members and the community and interviewing with the school board for a second time. The final schedule will be posted to the district web site on April 2.

Meet the Superintendent candidates

March 25, 2009

From Robbinsdale Schools’ “Superintendent Search” page:

A newly approved levy, renewed community support, and a clear direction from the 2008 Strategic Plan leaves Robbinsdale Area Schools in excellent position to recruit a highly qualified candidate for Superintendent to replace Superintendent Stan Mack when he retires at the end of June. The school board is expecting to name a new Superintendent by April.

It reads flowery enough, but it seems while one school district had 27 applicants, RSD lured about 6. Given the state of the district this administration is leaving the new “Supe,” we’re not surprised. But we’re hopeful that the candidates can look into history and see what a great district this once was — and can be again if we return ethics  and transparency. We will win with a replacement who is not afraid of an extreme makeover. And, with 4 school board seats opening this November, our chance is even better of a becoming a great district once again.

Keep Tuesday night, April 7th open and meet the final candidates:

Community members can meet finalists for the superintendent position, tentatively scheduled for April 7-9, 5 p.m. at the Education Service Center boardroom, 4148 Winnetka Ave. N., New Hope. A final schedule will be posted to the district web site on April 2.

Culture of corruption

March 19, 2009

As soon as we know the details, we’ll add to this developing story (from MN Sun-Post):

Two Robbinsdale District 281 administrators were placed on paid leave Tuesday, March 17, pending the outcome of an internal investigation involving “a number of different accusations.”

Mike Severson, the department’s program director, and Jon Olson, transportation safety assistant program director, are currently on leave, Superintendent Stan Mack wrote in a letter to the District 281 Transportation Department.

“There is no violation of criminal law involved,” Mack said Wednesday, March 18, adding he expects the internal investigation to be resolved “within one to two weeks.”

In the meantime, Ken Kostka, the district’s retired executive director of teaching and learning, will manage day-to-day operation of the Transportation Department until further notice, along with Jim Glad, transportation assistant program director, Mack said.

Ethics seem to be an issue with this administration, right Patsy Green?

3 schools to close: Follow the money

March 3, 2009

Speed Gibson attended the board hearing March 2 and wrote:

It was a long night, the March 2nd Board meeting extending into March 3rd by three minutes before it was adjourned. I must say there was quite a bit of discussion for votes that had earlier been characterized as formalities. But it’s over.

The Robbinsdale Area Schools officially closed Pilgrim Lane Elementary, Sunny Hollow Elementary, and Sandburg Middle School. A couple of us suggested at least tabling the Sandburg decision for a couple of weeks for further study, but to no avail. The original K-5 decision adopted January 20th was tonight made official per separate Roll Call votes.

Applicants are coming in now for the IB program, but the board didn’t want to delay the Sandburg decision. What will be interesting is to see the racial disparity between RMS and Plymouth. Even more interesting will be to watch how the board tries to “whitewash” this issue.

Keep an close eye on Barb Van Heel, who was heard saying she was determined to prove she’s not wishy-washy and vote to close Sandburg (turning a blind eye to the moving costs and other issues). At an earlier meeting, one person illustrated to Barb a home moving cost example (analyzing the cost of updating and condition of the building, rather than deciding to move first and realize afterward the cost of upgrades and re-installs), she dug her “heel” in further. Arrogance at its finest.

Follow the money once the move to RMS begins, and you’ll once again see the reckless financial decisions some board members made with our tax dollars.