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Mike Nowatzki, Published June 19 2009

UPDATE: Former Moorhead school official accepts Central Cass job

UPDATED 12:10 p.m.

Mark Weston, the former assistant superintendent of business services for Moorhead Public Schools, accepted a one-year contract on Friday to serve as superintendent of the Central Cass School District, effective July 1.

“We were pretty impressed with our discussions with him,” School Board President Keith Gohdes said.

According to the contract, Weston will be paid $90,000 and receive a cafeteria plan of benefits, district Business Manager Pam Utt said.

The district has about 800 students and serves Casselton, N.D., and the surrounding area.

Gohdes said Weston has a lot of experience that will serve the district well.

Besides working in Moorhead, Weston was superintendent in Breckenridge, Minn., a teacher in Bowbells, N.D., high school principal in Mohall, N.D., superintendent in Wolford, N.D., and superintendent of the Cass Valley North School District, according to Forum archives.

“We don’t think we’re going to just get by,” Gohdes said. “We think he’s going to provide effective leadership and programs and lead us through the budget. So we’re optimistic of what the coming year holds.”

Weston echoed that sentiment, saying he’s excited to be back in his native state and is familiar with the district.

The one-year contract gives both parties a chance to see if the fit is right while working together to help the community, students and staff, he said.

“That’s paramount that we don’t lose a year here with an interim superintendent, and that definitely is not my intent,” he said. “It’s to try and do everything we can to further education in that district.”

Gohdes wouldn’t speculate on whether Weston will be hired as permanent superintendent after the first year.

“But that always is the direction you would hope is that you’re going to have leadership in the future,” he said. “Right now we’re hopeful that everything works out.”

Weston replaces Michael Severson, who left Central Cass to be superintendent in New Salem, N.D., to be closer to family.

The board’s search for a superintendent hit a snag earlier this month when one finalist rejected the job offer and the other two finalists withdrew.

With Weston’s hire, the district still meets its July 1 deadline for a new superintendent, Gohdes said.