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Frazee School District hires new principal

Correction: The following story incorrectly states the board's vote on the employee contracts. The Frazee-Vergas School Board tabled the contracts due to negotiations.

The Frazee-Vergas School District has hired a new K-12 principal. Rob Nudell was approved Monday morning during the board's regular meeting.

Nudell will be starting July 1. Principal Brian Koslofksy will be finished Wednesday with his duties in the district, and will be moving on to become superintendent of the Bertha-Hewitt School District.

There were 33 applicants for the principal position, and Nudell's contract for $85,000 was approved.

The district will also be hiring another second grade teacher because of the incoming enrollment. Anticipated enrollment for second graders is 74 students, and Dean of Students Troy Haugen said that the students have been in four sections since kindergarten.

If left at three sections of second grade, classroom numbers would be 24-25 per class. With the additional section, class size would be lowered to 18-19 per section.

The board approved the fourth section.

Contract renewals

Several contracts were approved Monday for the next two school years, running through the 2011-12 year.

Dean of Students Troy Haugen was approved for a $3,000 increase, setting his salary at $70,990.

Business managers Diane Menz and Donna Mineer got increases of nearly $3,000 for a salary of $53,338 each for the next two years.

Community Education Director Lori Thorp received a $1,500 increase and a technology stipend was shifted to salary, setting her salary at $37,220 for two years.

Office Manager Amie Erickson received a $3,000 increase, setting her salary at $33,000 for the next two years.

Information Technology Specialist April Anderson received a $3,000 increase, setting her salary at $32,280 for the next two years.

Technology updates

Staying true to the referendum word, the district is approving a substantial upgrade in technology.

A request for 78 laptops for about $88,400 was approved Monday.

The laptops will go to faculty members for more security and more flexibility. The desktops from teachers would then replace outdated computer labs. Information Technology Administrator Gus Klemm said some of the computers in the labs are six to 10 years old and not functioning real well.

With the upgrade in computers, they would also be able to move the computers in the district off Windows XP to Windows 7.

The board approved Klemm to go forward with the process and get a firm number on what the project will cost.

"We want low bid but with the best service needs," board member Dwight Cook said.

Indian Education position

Removed from the consent agenda was the hiring of Becky Matejka for the position of Indian Education coordinator.

After Renee Christofferson retired this spring, the district advertised for the position, receiving only one applicant. One more application came in after the closing date.

Board member Rich Zeigler asked the board to consider opening up the position for another period of time in hopes of getting a teacher who is Native American.

"My thought would be we have time until August" to interview and offer the position to someone else, he said. "It would be a very good service to reopen it and see if there are any Native teachers interested."

That's not to say he has anything against Matejka though, he stressed.

"I have no concerns with the applicant. She's a very good human being, a good person. This has nothing to do with her at all," he said.

Cook disagreed that the position should be opened back up, saying that the district has worked with agencies, giving "all preferences for the disadvantaged class" but that only one person applied and she should get the job.

Board member Don Thorp said opening the position back up and hoping for a Native American teacher could be considered reverse discrimination.

Cook said that Zeigler admits Matejka is qualified for the position and that he doesn't see a problem with the hire. He made a motion to hire Matejka for the position, and the board voted in favor, with Zeigler voting opposed.

Stender evaluation

According to the board's performance review of Superintendent Deron Stender, he met or exceeded requirements in all areas.

That includes education leadership, finances, strategic planning and advice to the board.

One category, community relations outside of the school, was noted as an area that continues to need work.