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Detroit Lakes schools hire business manager

For the first time in nearly 30 years, Detroit Lakes Public Schools will have a new business manager starting Oct. 1.

Ted Heisserer, current business manager of Frazee-Vergas Public Schools, was selected from a field of five finalists interviewed for the position earlier this week.

Heisserer's appointment was approved by unanimous vote, pending agreement on contract terms.

"I'm honored to be chosen as the School Dist. 22 business manager," said Heis-serer in a telephone interview early this morning. "I appreciate the confidence the board has placed in me by choosing me for this position.

"This is another opportunity, another challenge for me and it's a step I wanted to take," he said, while adding, "I will miss the staff, the students and (school) board at Frazee-Vergas."

"I think we had five very, very good candidates," said Detroit Lakes School Board Chairman Dr. Tom Seaworth at a special school board meeting held Tuesday night to interview the final two candidates (the three other interviews were conducted Monday evening).

While he said he would "feel comfortable" with hiring any of the five candidates interviewed, Seaworth noted that Heisserer was his top pick.

The other four candidates interviewed included Carol Hutchinson, accountant for Detroit Lakes Public Schools; Tom Wieczorek, business manager for Perham Public Schools; Dan Pyan, director of business services for Stewartville (Minn.) Public Schools; and Olive Springborn, business manager for Park Rapids Public Schools.

In addition to his position as business manager at Frazee-Vergas, which he has held since 1997, Heisserer's resume includes seven years as finance officer at Northwest Technical College (now Minnesota State Community & Technical College) in Detroit Lakes, and eight years as accounting coordinator for Detroit Lakes Public Schools (1979-87). He has also worked as an accountant for the City of St. Cloud and at Lakeland Federal Savings & Loan in Detroit Lakes.

A graduate of Detroit Lakes High School, Heisserer holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Bemidji State Universit, with minors in mathamatics and computer science. He and his wife Holly, a piano teacher, live in Detroit Lakes.

During his Monday interview, Heisserer noted that he was attracted to the job in Detroit Lakes because the district was in strong financial shape and he would have a "good, stable board" to work with.

"You're in good (financial) shape here -- my goal would be to make sure that continues," he said.

In addition to the two special meetings for candidate interviews, the school board also held its regular meeting Monday morning.

At that meeting, the board approved a resolution to terminate the probationary teaching contract of Roosevelt Elemen-tary Title I instructor Kristen Blom at the end of the 2006-07 school year. Superintendent Lowell Niklaus noted that this action was the direct result of a $70,000 cut in the district's Title I program funding for next year.

In other business, the board voted to place Area Learning Center parent education coordinator Shelley Skarie on unrequested leave of absence without pay or fringe benefits for .4 FTE of her full-time position. Because she has tenure, Skarie now has 14 days to decide whether she would like to request a formal hearing before the board.

The board also discussed the finalization of the sale of the former Callaway Elementary School building in Callaway to the White Earth Land Recovery Project, for a price of $250,000.

The board had approved the sale at its March meeting, pending agreement on contingencies including the transfer of the playground property and equipment to the City of Callaway; and an agreement that the building is not to be used as a school building.

A July 1 closing date is planned. If all contingencies can be met earlier, that date may be moved up.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454