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Helmut Schmidt, Published March 02 2012

Thirty-eight apply for Fargo schools superintendent

FARGO – The Fargo School Board will have 38 candidates from around the nation to choose from for the city’s next superintendent of schools.

There are nine candidates from North Dakota and Minnesota, including a few local names: Wayne Kazmiercak, assistant superintendent of Moorhead School District; Davies High School Principal Jeffrey Schatz; and Steven Swiontek, superintendent of the Devils Lake School District.

“Wow! I’m hoping that’s a good number,” board President Jim Johnson said Friday, shortly after the complete list of names was obtained by The Forum. “I’m hopeful we have some great candidates in there,” Johnson said.

The board begins winnowing down the list March 10, he said. If needed, that will continue at a regular board meeting March 13. A group of candidates will be brought to Fargo for daylong rounds of tours and interviews with school and community groups, Johnson said.

Board members may also visit the candidates’ work places, he said. The goal is to hire a superintendent in late March or April.

“The sooner we find the right person, the better, I think. Obviously, we have a very competent guy until July,” Johnson said.

Fargo Superintendent Rick Buresh announced late last year that he will retire at the end of June. The search for his replacement started just before Thanksgiving.

Other North Dakota and Minnesota candidates are:

<•> Stan F. Mack II, Minneapolis, executive director, Minnesota Board of School Administrators.

<•> Terry Brenner, director of curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development, Grand Forks Public Schools.

<•> Jeffery Lind, superintendent Rugby (N.D.) Public School District.

<•> Thomas Nitschke, superintendent, Kulm (N.D.) School District.

<•> Michael D. Cary, principal of Waubun-Ogema-White Earth Schools, Waubun, Minn.

<•> Bruce Houck, superintendent of Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Public Schools, Tyler, Minn.

Gary Ray, president of Ray and Associates, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based school executive search firm, said he believes Fargo Public Schools has a good pool of candidates.

“We really kind of reached out, and we feel pretty good about the overall pool,” Ray said.

He said the North Dakota’s economy and district’s solid reputation in education circles increased interest in the post.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583