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Superintendent Search

With the announcement that Superintendent Beth Giese will resign from her position effective June 30, 2022, the School Board of St. Francis Area Schools has entered into a search for a new superintendent.

Consultants from Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) have been contracted to assist with the search for a new superintendent.

Click here for the job description for the superintendent position

Click here for a letter to St. Francis Area Schools Stakeholders

At a special school board meeting on May 5, 2022, the St. Francis Area Schools School Board recommended three candidates for the second round of interviews as the next step in searching for a new Superintendent of Schools. The three candidates are Ken Gagner (Braham), Donita Stepan (Thief River Falls), and Karsten Anderson (Red Wing).

St. Francis Area Schools will interview one candidate each day, beginning May 11 through May 13. On Wednesday, May 11, Ken Gagner will interview, Donita Stephan will interview on Thursday, May 12, and Karsten Anderson on Friday, May 13. Each evening the candidates will be at the St. Francis Area Schools District Office, 4115 Ambassador Boulevard NW, St. Francis, for a community engagement event. The engagement event is open to the public and is an opportunity for the community to meet candidates and ask questions. There is limited space and seating will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. It is strongly recommended that anyone interested in attending the event arrive by 4:30 p.m. and Interviews will begin at 5:00 p.m. Community members are encouraged to attend all three nights.

The St. Francis School Board will meet at 6:30 on Monday, May 16, to choose the preferred candidate. 

School Board announces final selection of superintendent candidate

On May 16, the School Board held a special meeting and approved the following resolution.

BE IT RESOLVED that the School Board of Independent School District No.15 enter into superintendent contract negotiations with Karsten Anderson to negotiate a contract to commence on July 1, 2022.

A superintendent contract will be acted on at a future school board meeting.

A special thanks to all staff and community members who participated in the search process.

Superintendent Survey Results


Timeline and Milestones

HYA searches generally are completed in three or four months; however, we will make every effort to meet the Board’s desired timeline in naming a new superintendent. The following is an outline for the timeline of an expedited search along with the joint milestones between the Board and the associates who are consulting on the search. 

Engage Phase 
  • Planning Meeting to decide on application format, advertising language and packages, individual interviewees (in addition to Board members), focus groups, dates for forums and survey, range for compensation package
  • Individual Board Member Interviews
  • Interviews with individuals and groups as identified by school board members
  • Presentation of Leadership Profile Report with recommended selection criteria
Recruit Phase 
  • Weekly reports and updates to Board
  • Prepare interview questions and scenarios for first round interviews
  • Review HYA slate (all materials, reference notes and background research) and determine candidates for first round interviews
Select Phase 
  • Conduct first round interviews
  • Narrow first round field to semifinalists
  • Conduct second round interviews
  • Narrow second round candidates to finalists
  • Conduct finalist(s) interviews, forums, site visits (optional)
  • Review Baker-Eubanks independent background check report and follow up if necessary
 Transition Phase (with new superintendent shortly before or after he or she begins employment)
  • If requested develop (or review) Board/Superintendent roles and responsibilities and governance and communication protocols
  • Assist with an outline for a 100 day plan for the new superintendent
Activity Dates Location
Individual School Board member conversation with Ted Blaesing March 31, April1, April2, April 6 N/A
Online survey open April 1-11 Online
Survey results- Desired characteristics meeting (virtually) April 18 at 6 p.m. Online
Seminar for interviews & final stages of search and Slate presented to Board May 2 at 5 p.m. SFHS Saints Room (Enter Door 35)
Board round 1 interviews with slated candidates May 4 & 5. Interviews will be scheduled at 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m. District Office
Board meets to identify semifinalists May 9 at 5 p.m. District Office
Semi-finalist visits SFAS to participate in a community/parent interview and second interview with the school board. May 11, 12, &13 at 5 p.m. District Office
Board meets to identify preferred candidate May 16 at 6:30 p.m. SFHS Saints Room (Enter Door 35)
Superintendent assumes responsibilities July 1 District Office
Board-Superintendent Retreat/Workshop Optional TBD