School board approves superintendent contract

by TaLeiza Calloway

The St. Cloud School Board recently approved a three-year contract for incoming superintendent Willie Jett. The vote was unanimous.

Jett was chosen Feb. 27 to serve as the next superintendent of St. Cloud area schools. He will replace Superintendent Bruce Watkins, who will retire June 30.

The 48-year-old is currently the assistant high school superintendent for St. Paul Public Schools. He will begin his new role in St. Cloud July 1.

Cindy Harner, chair of the board’s Personnel and Negotiations Committee, said it’s a pretty standard contract. He will work a 260-day year and receive 25 vacation days, she said. Under the contract, Jett will be paid $170,000 for 2013-14, $173,950 for 2014-15 and $178,200 for 2015-16. The salary will be paid in 24 equal installments each year.

He can earn up to 15 sick days per year and will be entitled to 14 paid holidays, according to the contract. Jett will receive a $500,000 life insurance policy and will also be eligible to take part in a tax-sheltered annuity the district would match up to $5,000.

The district will pay for up to $6,500 in moving expenses. Harner said she believes Jett’s already found a home in the area.

“I think it’s very fair to both sides,” Harner said. “We worked out a very nice agreement. I think he’s happy with it and we’re certainly happy on our end.”

School board member and St. Joseph resident Al Dahlgren said via email the board is excited to have Jett as the new superintendent.

As school board members prepare to welcome Jett, some admit it’s hard to see Watkins leave.

“It is sad to see Mr. Watkins leave but we think we found a very good replacement for him,” Harner said.

Jett has a master’s degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh. He spent nine years in the classroom and is in his 12th year as an administrator in Minnesota. He’s worked in urban and suburban schools. He and his wife Tamara have two children.

[/media-credit] Willie Jett

TaLeiza Calloway

TaLeiza Calloway is a professional journalist in Central Minnesota. Her byline has appeared in the St. Cloud Times and Central Minnesota Women Magazine. The Ohio native moved to Minnesota about four years ago. She joined the St. Joseph Newsleader staff as a reporter in November 2011.
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