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Richfield School District Starts Replacement Interviews as Three Administrators Announce They're Leaving

As two principals and a supervisor announce their decisions to accept other positions for the next school year, the district quickly moves to fill their vacancies.

In addition to at the end of the 2010-11 school year, the Richfield School District will also say goodbye to Alison Nisbet, currently a supervisor for the Richfield Career Education Program. Nisbet is leaving the district to become associate principal at Wayzata High School, where she will be in charge of the alternative school there.

"The students and parents and families of Richfield have left an impression on my heart," Nisbet said. "I look forward to coming back for graduation and making sure that all kids have options in the schools."

The Richfield School District began a paper screen of applicants for the two open principal positions in order to determine the strongest candidates Monday. Advertisements for both open positions have been posted for two weeks and will be taken down Friday.

Superintendent Bob Slotterback said the district would be bringing in a "handful" of candidates for screening interviews; from the strongest in that group the district will conduct "stakeholder" interviews with candidates for both prinicpal positons.

Candidates chosen for stakeholder interviews will meet with teachers, administrators, parents and, in the case of the principal position at RHS, conduct an interview with a student who sits on the school board. Slotterback said that he will conduct final interviews with the top two or three candidates for each principal position.

Slotterback said he wasn't surprised that three administrators were leaving.

"Some people ask, 'Why are we losing all this talent?' We hire really good people and coach them up, and they become excellent candidates for bigger jobs. It's a compliment to us to see this," he said.

Slotterback said that all three Richfield administrators would be receiving significant pay increases to go with their new positions.

The superintendent estimated that while the Richfield Public School District was in the top third of similar school districts in terms of its faculty pay scale, it remains in the bottom half when it comes to paying administrators.

"Is this a concern? Yes, we’d like to not have this issue [of losing adminstrators]. When you hire really good people and jobs come along that are big promotions, they become attracted to those jobs," Slotterback said. "We don’t have any right to keep a person if they get a big promotion."

Slotterback attributed this year's losses in part to last year's loss of Jill Johnson, then principal at RHS. Johnson left to become executive director of Teaching and Learning for Wayzata public schools. In her position at Wayzata, Johnson is partially responsible for recruiting and hiring staff. Slotterback wasn't surprised when Johnson turned to a familiar talent pool this year.

"If we never lost anybody we’d probably be asking ourselves if we have good candidates. It ebbs and flows," Slotterback said. "Before this we’d lost one person [in the three years I have been superintendent], and this year we lost three. Our people get recruited. That's the nature of any business."

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