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Interim Superintendents To Guide Emmetsburg Schools For 2014-2015

June 24, 2014
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

The Emmetsburg Community School District will feature a unique leadership structure for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year, following a decision by the district's Board of Directors at the June meeting Wednesday, June 18. Emmetsburg district will utilize interim Superintendents for the coming year, while the board continues its search for a permanent leader to replace Superintendent John Joynt, who retires at the end of the month.

"The West Bend-Mallard school board met last night and approved the sharing of Superintendent Amanda Schmidt with us for the upcoming year," Board President BJ Schany explained. "Amanda, along with Gary Richardson, the retired Superintendent of the Maurice-Orange City/Floyd Valley School District, will share the duties for the coming school year."

The interim solution came after the board's initial choice for superintendent, Bryon Darnall, declined the offer of employment on Monday, May 19. At that point, the board planned to hold a second interview with candidates Jon Wiebers and Sharon Dentlinger on Wednesday, May 21, prior to the regular monthly board meeting. However, on Tuesday, May 20, the board's search consultant, Jeff Herzog receiving a message from Wiebers indicating that wished to withdraw from consideration for the position. The second interview meeting was cancelled, and the board met in closed session May 21, to discuss its options.

In deciding to go with the interim Superintendent solution, the local school board chose to give itself additional time to search for a permanent leader of the local district for the 2015-2016 school year.

Under the terms of the interim sharing arrangement, Gary Richardson will work 2.25 days per week in Emmetsburg, at a salary of $54,000 for the year. Amanda Schmidt, who is currently serving as the Superintendent at West Bend-Mallard, will spend 40 percent of her time in Emmetsburg with the remaining 60 percent of her time in West Bend-Mallard. Emmetsburg will be responsible for 40 percent of Schmidt's yearly salary of $102,000 and benefits, or approximately $54,000 for the year.

Additionally, since the two districts will share an administrator, the districts will receive additional student weighting money of eight students, or roughly $49,000 for the Emmetsburg district, from the state, payable in the 2015-2016 school year.

"Having Gary and Amanda working together is very exciting for our district," Schany noted. "Our board feels this is a good plan. Both Gary and Amanda are excited about this and are looking forward to working together for the students and the best interests of our district."

"Amanda Schmidt is no stranger to Emmetsburg," agreed Superintendent John Joynt. "She was hired as a first grade teacher at West Elementary and was a hard worker and very conscientious. She went on to West Bend-Mallard and became a principal and moved to the Superintendent's position. Gary is also very experienced, coming from Maurice-Orange City/Floyd Valley. They should work very well together."

"Will they be at our July board meeting?" asked Board member Kathy Roethler.

"Yes, if you approve these recommendations," Schany answered. "I think this is a great deal for everyone. I know the West Bend-Mallard board is very interested in this arrangement and were very supportive in working it out with us."

"I think both Amanda and Gary are equally excited about this as well," added Board member Rick Brennan. "I'd like to thank the West Bend-Mallard school board for approving this sharing arrangement, and also for their willingness to share with us."

With that, Brennan moved to approve the hiring of the two administrators, and the motion was approved on a 5-0 vote, with board members Kim Campbell and Tammy Naig both absent and not voting.

Along with the top administrator position, the board also approved several other personnel matters during Wednesday's meeting. The hiring of Bill Geelan as Head Boys Basketball Coach and Valerie Pickett as Head Girls Track Coach were approved by the board, along with a resignation from Valerie Pickett from her eighth grade boys track coaching position.

The board also approved the hiring of Debra Benjamin for the vacant High School Language Arts position.

"She blew the interview committee away," related Assistant Principal Tracie Christensen. "She comes to us from the Fort Dodge area, and she is on the cutting edge of education and where it is headed. It has been very refreshing to talk to her."

The board also accepted the resignation of high school and middle school art instructor John Kennedy. When asked if the art position would be difficult to fill, Joynt noted that there were several art teachers listed on the Teach Iowa website, and that the vacancy would be posted immediately.

In final action, the board approved salary increases of $2,000 each for West Elementary Principal/Activities Director Joe Carter and Assistant Principal Tracie Christensen, as well as an additional 10-cents per hour for a total raise of 35-cents per hour for the district's secretarial personnel and library associates. Previously, a 25-cent raise had been approved, but the district's negotiations committee recommended an additional 10-cents per hour for the group after additional research. Additionally, the rate for substitute teachers was raised $5 per day to $100.



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