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Meet the new superintendents in the region

Mark Mindt Manvel Public School o Previous position: Administrator in Langdon Area Schools. o What attracted you to the position and the school? The location, North Dakota -- I'm a North Dakota native. And it's a great, quality school, a National...

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Mark Mindt
Manvel Public School

• Previous position: Administrator in Langdon Area Schools.

• What attracted you to the position and the school? The location, North Dakota - I'm a North Dakota native. And it's a great, quality school, a National Blue Ribbon Award winner in 2014.

• What do you hope to accomplish at the school? To continue the great work of Mr. Richard Ray, our previous superintendent, and continue to support the staff and community of Manvel.

• How would you briefly describe your philosophy of education? My philosophy is to foster an environment that allows students to grow with their educational experiences, now and into the future.

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Shannon Hunstad
Lancaster Public School

• Previous position: Principal in Pillager, Minn.

• What attracted you to the position and the school? For me, professionally, (it's a) move to the next step. And then it also was kind of coming home for me, because I grew up in Argyle, Minn. It was good to be back. The people of northwest Minnesota are just the way I remember them: They care about others before themselves. And Lancaster definitely exemplifies that.

• What do you hope to accomplish at the school? We're evaluating our test scores to improve that, and provide the best education we can and keep Lancaster viable in our region for our kids, to provide the education our students need to be successful at the next level, whatever it is - college, tech school, work.

• How would you briefly describe your philosophy of education? Passion for educating kids. That means a lot of things. It's the whole child; it's not just academics, it's the social and emotional as well.

Kevin Ricke
Fosston Public Schools

• Previous position: Secondary principal for grades 7-12 in the Lake Park-Audubon School District.

• What attracted you to the position and the school? Historically, Fosston's had stable enrollment. It's a very fiscally responsible district. Student ambassadors from Fosston always displayed good sportsmanship and (were) healthy competitors. School report card data is positive. The opportunity to be geographically closer to family and that type of thing was an advantage also. It was an advantageous time to explore some new endeavors professionally.

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• What do you hope to accomplish at the school? I think with any superintendent you want to be a good steward of your resources, whether it's facilities, budget, curriculum and so forth, do what's best for children and offer the most comprehensive education program we can within the parameters available to us. We want to make sure we keep as many doors open as possible for kids to explore before they graduate from high school so it helps them when they make that transition to the next step, whatever that may be.

• How would you briefly describe your philosophy of education? I think it goes back to that responsibility to do what's best for children, be a good steward of the resources allocated to you and always promote a safe, healthy environment for children as well as for the employees.

Bradley Bergstrom
Thief River Falls Public Schools

• Previous position: Human resource director, Austin (Minnesota) Public Schools.

• What attracted you to the position and the school? Two things came into play that attracted me. I had a chance to work with the schools' administrators and a couple of central office people in a ... leadership academy through the university. I worked with not only the people from Thief River Falls but from all over the area. And I was just so impressed with all of the people but, in particular, the leadership team from Thief River Falls. They were very committed to learn and grow. And the second reason is family. My wife is from Moorhead, and I grew up in International Falls; we wanted to get back closer to family.

• What do you hope to accomplish at the school? (The school board has) done some really good things here, and a lot of credit (goes) to the previous superintendent here, Laine Larson, and the previous board as well. I didn't have to come in here and do anything drastic right away; the first six months I'm meeting with people and listening to what it is people in this community are looking for, A) in their superintendent and B) in their schools. The other thing I hope to accomplish ... they wanted a strategic plan. We're starting the strategic planning process.

• How would you briefly describe your philosophy of education? Kid-centered, adult-focused. Everything we do has to draw a line back to the students we have in our district, and if you can't draw a line to what we're doing that goes back to kids, then we need to do something different. And the second part, with adult-focused, is really about you have to provide the time and the resources for (all) the adults who work at the school because they are the ones who are having an impact at the student level. They all play an integral role in the education of our children.

Jay B. Slade
Dakota Prairie Public Schools

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• Previous position: High school principal at Dakota Prairie Public Schools.

• What attracted you to the position and the school? Initially, I was attracted to the position at the high school because I like the rural school settings. I like the small school atmosphere.

• What do you hope to accomplish at the school? I hope to continue to make progress with all of the initiatives that we've put in place over the past four to six years, and through those initiatives, I hope to continue to provide a high-level education for the students of Dakota Prairie School District.

• How would you briefly describe your philosophy of education? My philosophy of education is that we need to teach the whole student, not just academics, but we need to teach social skills. We need to get them ready for real life after school.

Daren Christianson
Langdon Area Schools

• Previous position: Superintendent/high school principal, Pingree-Buchanan Public Schools.

• What attracted you to the position and the school? The Langdon Area Schools has been an attractive district for many reasons, which include a consistent staff, a community that provides amenities for my family, and family who currently reside in the district.

• What do you hope to accomplish at the school? My hope is to provide the educational leadership and consistency required for a school district to provide the best possible education for all of our students.

• How would you briefly describe your philosophy of education? My philosophy of education is that it is our responsibility to teach children in a way that not only grows knowledge but also teaches the importance of students developing ownership of their own education.

Answers have been edited for clarity and length.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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