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Grand Forks Schools fills leadership positions

Mike Wilber1 / 3
Darin Walters2 / 3
Catherine Gillach3 / 3

Grand Forks Public Schools has filled several leadership positions, including an additional assistant superintendent post.

Schroeder Middle School Principal Catherine Gillach will become the district's assistant superintendent of secondary education, per the recommendations of soon-to-be Superintendent Terry Brenner. Gillach's appointment was one of three leadership positions approved Monday by the Grand Forks School Board.

Brenner recommended using the position to replace his current job description—director of curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development. The school had two assistant superintendent positions, but one was eliminated 10 years ago.

Brenner asked to bring back a system with two assistant superintendents in light of increasing enrollment and other factors. The switch will not cost the district additional money, he previously told the Herald.

Assistant Superintendent Jody Thompson will be promoted to associate superintendent to reflect his seniority. Gillach will make $140,000 a year plus benefits.

Other applicants included Century Elementary School Principal David Saxberg, Phoenix Elementary School Principal Kevin Ohnstad, district Director of Technology Joel Schleicher, Thompson (N.D.) Elementary School Principal Dave Wheeler, Centerville (Minn.) Elementary School Principal Wayne Whitman and Princeton (Minn.) High School Principal Barb Muckenhirn.

Valley Middle School Associate Principal Darin Walters also was named associate principal for Red River High School. He will take over for Chris Douthit, who is retiring after 27 years with the district. Douthit has accepted a county school liaison position with the Community Violence Intervention Center in Grand Forks. He also is running for a seat on the School Board, though his retirement and bid for election are not related, Douthit said.

His last day at Red River is June 8.

Central High School teacher Mike Wilber will become associate principal at Valley.

The changes will be effective July 1, when Brenner officially assumes his role as superintendent.

Walters and Wilber will make $98,861 and $80,780, respectively, for annual salaries, according to the school district.

"Both amounts are based on the 2017-18 principals salary schedule, which might see a slight increase for 2018-19 after negotiations are completed," district Business Manager Ed Gerhardt said.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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