The first three of now five candidates vying to become the next superintendent of Winona Area Public Schools took the hot seat Monday evening at Winona City Hall, interviewing for the position in front of school board members and the public.
Interviews will continue tonight beginning at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 207 Lafayette St.
Board members asked the candidates the same 10 questions during separate, hour-long interviews. Applicants then were given about 15 minutes to cross-examine board members.
A sample of questions, along with one selected answer from each candidate:
We are looking for a leader who has a record of involvement and visibility in both the schools and community. Please provide us examples of how you will be involved in both.
Christine Weymouth, assistant superintendent of Farmington (Minn.) Area Public Schools District, said she visits all district classrooms every year and spends time with teachers and students to see what's working and to develop it further.
"One of the most amazing things I've been able to do is find new talent," she said. "You need a leader who can find the talent and put them in the right seats. Our talent is all around us."
She said she also makes a point to spend time with school principals and staff. Weymouth said that she hopes to make WAPS more visible in the community through increased partnerships with Winona State University and Saint Mary's University.
Tell us about your experience with implementing and using effective technology in the education process to support the school district's mission. Also, tell how you assess its success.
Jamie Skjeveland, superintendent of Crosby-Ironton (Minn.) Schools District, said implementing technology in school districts is vital, and that his district recently bought iPads for all fifth- and sixth-graders. Since the purchase, he said, students are more engaged in math and math scores have increased. "This is the way our kids of the 21st century learn," Skjeveland told board members.
He also said his district last year developed a Facebook page, which gets about 6,000 hits every month, to communicate with students, parents and community members. "That involvement is critical," Skjeveland said.
What has your role been relative to directing the planning, building and implementation of a school-district budget?
Jerry Schutz, superintendent of Tea Area School District (S.D.), said he has been involved in planning schools' budgets in multiple districts throughout his career and dealt with declining enrollment and budget reductions. Schutz said his current district is one of the lowest funded in South Dakota, but that he has worked to keep and create important programs and partnerships despite having limited money.
"I'm used to making a lot happen on very little," he said.
Schutz said he would work with administration and the board to develop the budget. "I don't intend to upset the apple cart, so to say, but I definitely will be intimately involved in the process."
Interviews conclude today
Andrew Pattee, superintendent of Charles City and Riceville Community Schools Districts (Iowa), and Rick Linnell, superintendent of Pequot Lakes (Minn.) Public Schools District, will interview today at 5 and 6:15 p.m. An additional candidate, Anne Lundquist was also chosen as a finalist last week but accepted a position elsewhere.