Winona Area Public Schools named four semifinalists the board will interview Thursday, May 25, for the opening superintendent position.
The semifinalists are Bradley Berzinski, principal at St. Charles Public Schools; Craig Gerlach, interim superintendent at the School District of Mishicot in Wisconsin; Angi McAndrews, principal at Rochester Public Schools; and Kent Mutchler, superintendent at Geneva Community School District in Illinois.
The identities of other applicants who the board did not name as finalists cannot be revealed due to state privacy laws.
The board will hold the first round of interviews at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, May 25, at the Winona Senior High School Library Learning Commons, on the second floor of Winona Senior High School.
Interviews are open to the public but will not be live streamed or recorded so candidates receive equal opportunities. Each interview will last an hour.
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The Minnesota School Boards Association, the search firm contracted by the district board, recommended each of the four finalists out of a field of eight at a special school board meeting Tuesday, May 23.
Barb Dorn, director of leadership development and executive search with the Minnesota School Boards Association said the candidate pool was “very strong.”
The organization’s search team, primarily composed of educators, vetted applicants in a process that included pre-interviews, a social media sweep and contacting references, said Dorn. Recommendation decisions were shaped by desired skills identified by the board and in the stakeholder survey, including an understanding of finance and implementing board directives.
Dorn shared information regarding each recommended candidate at Tuesday’s board meeting, including appraisals by references. However, no semifinalist can be matched to information shared at the meeting given data privacy laws restricting how the board can discuss candidates.
“Each of the candidates we are recommending are interested in the opportunity,” said Dorn.
Finalist recommendations closely matched with the candidates individual board members expressed interest in interviewing. The board unanimously voted to extend offers to interview the four recommended candidates after discussion.
After the first round of interviews Thursday, the board will decide which candidates will be called back for a second interview to be held Wednesday, May 31. The board will conduct its own reference checks after selecting finalists.
During the second interview, the board will receive anonymous feedback from representatives of different employee bargaining units on finalist’s strengths and areas of improvement.
“It’s another piece of information that I think is important and we need to look at,” board chair Nancy Denzer said Tuesday. “It’s another set of eyes and ears and I think it will be good for us.”
The board voted to use the stakeholder survey, which garnered nearly 300 responses from parents and guardians, staff members and community members to represent what the community wants in the next superintendent.
The board is expected to begin contract negotiations with the lone finalist June 1 and approve the contract June 8.