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Tom Mix, Published April 10 2012

Grand Forks' Olson tabbed to take over as AD for Fargo Public Schools

FARGO – After 21 years of living and working in Grand Forks, Todd Olson is headed to Fargo to take a new job as the new activities director for Fargo Public Schools.

Professionally, Olson said he was ready for a new challenge.

Olson, who served as the athletic director for Grand Forks Central and Grand Forks Red River the last seven years, will start his new job July 1. He replaces FPS activities director Ed Lockwood, who had held the position since 2003.

The hire was formally approved during the Fargo School Board meeting on Tuesday. Olson will make $102,264 in the position.

“I’m very excited to be coming to Fargo, and hopefully I can add some very good things to the activities program,” Olson said. “There aren’t many positions that I’d leave my current position for. (Fargo) was one of the jobs I had targeted over the years as something that I think could be a great position to have.”

Olson, 44, grew up and attended high school in Cavalier, N.D. He went to Mayville State for his undergraduate degree and received his master’s degree in education administration from the University of North Dakota.

The activities director position in Fargo is one that Olson’s duties will be increased to include fine arts programming in addition to athletics. It’s also a district position, which means more responsibilities and overseeing more schools.

“It’s a bigger job and I think it’s more of a big picture job than the one I currently have, and that’s exciting to me,” Olson said. “Coming into a position with as many moving parts as this one has, you need to take some time and visit with people. You need to talk to the other leaders in the district and see what direction they would like to see things go, as well as what direction I would like to see things go.”

Olson, who is a member of the North Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors, anticipates talking with Lockwood and other district officials several times over the next three months to get acclimated.

“I don’t come into the position with any agenda,” Olson said. “I think you come into a job of that size with your eyes and ears open.”

Grand Forks Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry P. Nybladh said Olson’s departure leaves a big hole in his administration.

“Mr. Olson has been just a fantastic leader for our activities program here in Grand Forks,” Nybladh said. “His loss to Grand Forks is definitely Fargo’s gain. I believe Fargo will be well-served by Todd and he did a fantastic job here.”

“I can’t speak highly enough about his work and character … He’ll be a standout performer for Fargo Public Schools.”

Olson worked on the recent approval of $1.9 million in field improvements to Cushman Field in Grand Forks, which included the installation of FieldTurf for soccer and football games. He also worked closely with concussion management and coaching education programs.

Olson will be making the move to Fargo along with his family, including his two high school-aged children David, a junior, and Katelyn, a sophomore. He said the family has yet to purchase a home and it is not known where David and Katelyn, who are standout athletes at Grand Forks Central, will attend high school next fall.

David Olson, who plays football, basketball and baseball for the Knights, was an All-Eastern Dakota Conference team selection in basketball this season. Katelyn Olson, who plays volleyball and basketball, averaged 12 points per game to lead the Knights in scoring.

Before working as athletic director, Todd Olson was boys basketball coach at Central from 1993-2005.

He’ll be reuniting with current Fargo Davies principal Jeff Schatz, who will be taking over as superintendent of FPS on July 1. Schatz, a former AD at Grand Forks, hired Olson as Central’s basketball coach and was a principal at Central when Olson was a math teacher at the school.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562