Process approved for hiring principal at Washington Elementary

NEW ULM – During a study session on Thursday, the District 88 Board of Education agreed on a process and timeline for hiring a permanent Washington Elementary School principal.

The position opens at the end of the current school year, after Interim Principal Les Koppendrayer completes his second and last year at the school.

The timeline for the hiring process includes the following:

Jan. 10-17: Gather staff and board input on desired traits.

Jan. 23: School Board receives summary of staff/board input and recommended posting description; approves interview committee members.

Feb. 1- 28: Post, advertise and accept applications.

March 3 7: Screen candidates and establish interview committee.

March 17-21: Conduct interviews.

March 25-26: Conduct final interviews, offer contract.

March 27: Approve new principal contract.


During the three-hour study session, the board also conducted several informal evaluations: a mid-year self-evaluation; a 180-day superintendent evaluation; and a 120-day review of goal planning.

During the board’s self-evaluation, board members marked information sharing, openness and respect for one another as areas of improvement. They also pointed to comprehensive orientation activities to familiarize new board members with their role on the team as a desired area of growth. The board expressed an appreciation for the open-forum format utilized during study sessions.

As part of the evaluation of Superintendent Jeff Bertrang, board members expressed appreciation of his energy and “can-do” attitude, ability to say hard things and encourage a culture of calculated risk-taking.

Board members cautioned against taking steps backwards with a teacher growth initiative (called “professional learning communities”) and encouraged Bertrang to ensure follow-up on community collaboration efforts and other recent steps. They also expressed a wish for the superintendent, in the future, to lead efforts for an extra-curricular program review that would ensure programs fit in with a philosophy of educating “the whole child.” Several board members expressed a wish to see a furthering of efforts to form a single booster club.

As part of the report on strategic goal planning, Bertrang presented status updates about three goals: facility improvements, academic innovation and systematic intervention.

Partial highlights:


The district continues to work with a group interested in buying the former middle school; the sides will meet again Jan. 22.

A facilities task force will meet again next week to identify facility improvement options.

A plan to get a message about options to the community will be developed in January and February.

The district will work with a financial advisor on options in January and February.

Academic innovation:

The administration is working with site teams on what can be done.

The administration will continue to work with community groups to get input on specific community needs.

Administrators are working on budget options for pilot programs.

Draft recommendations have been reviewed on what the district needs to support teachers’ professional development and a mandated evaluation program.

Systematic intervention plan

The district is reviewing current programs; presenting to the board on them; drafting definitions; and has drafted staffing recommendations to meet needs.

Technology report

The board also heard a report form Technology Director Michael Milbourn on technology integration planning and reports on two programs that seek to foster positive school climate: Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) at Jefferson Elementary School and Character Counts at Washington and the High School.

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