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Published March 03 2010

Weston to continue to lead Central Cass

Interim leader Mark Weston will be Central Cass School District’s superintendent next year and, officials hope, far into the future.

On Tuesday, the school board unanimously chose the former Moorhead school administrator out of three finalists for the one-year top spot.

“We think he’s going to be a strong leader,” board president Keith Gohdes said. “We hope to have him on board for years to come.”

The other finalists for the Casselton, N.D.-based district were Cavalier (N.D.) Superintendent Frank Schill and Ashley (N.D.) Superintendent Les Dale.

“Basically what it boiled down to is Mark articulated a stronger vision for the academic improvement that we’re looking for,” board Vice President Scott Kost said. “Clearly, we know what we’re getting with him.”

Weston took on the position nine months ago when the board opted for an interim after finalists turned down offers.

“It’s probably been one of my best years in education,” Weston said. “I’m looking forward to the next several years as we move ahead.”

Besides Moorhead, Weston was the 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.

Now, he said, he’ll lead the district as they look to start professional learning communities, improve student test scores and launch an alternative middle and high school program. The district serves about 800 area students.

Weston’s contract, which ends June 2011, boosts his salary from $90,000 to $99,500 and comes with a standard benefits package.

However, he won’t be moving from Fargo to Casselton – initially a sticking point with some.

“There are people in the community that feel strongly that we should have somebody that lives in the community,” Kost said, adding that board members respected his decision.

Now, officials expect to decide soon what to do with the district-owned five-bedroom house that’s located next to the school and traditionally been offered to superintendents.

“To me, Casselton is my community,” Weston said. “I’m there not just for the school district, but the community and the surrounding communities.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515