by Dennis Dalman
The choice for a new superintendent in Sartell was expected to be announced as early as Friday, Feb. 7.
As of Newsleader press time Wednesday morning, only one of the three finalists has been interviewed – Paul Neubauer, director of curriculum and instruction in St. Francis, which is in Anoka County just north of the Twin Cities.
The other two candidates were expected to be interviewed mid-week and later. Candidate Debra Lechner was scheduled for Wednesday, and candidate Jeff Schwiebert was slated for Thursday.
Lechner is director of teaching and learning in the Brainerd School District, and Schwiebert is superintendent of the North Scott Community School District in Eldridge, Iowa.
Lechner has worked for the Sartell-St. Stephen School District previously. She was director of teaching and learning before taking the job in Brainerd about 12 years ago. Her late husband, Leon Lechner, was activities director for Sartell schools.
Each of the three candidates was scheduled to spend an entire day touring the school district; meeting students, staff, administrators and teachers; and later in the day meeting with community members. After the busy days, each was slated for yet another interview by the school board.
The three were selected by the board from seven candidates, who were interviewed in late January.
Selecting a candidate does not automatically mean that person will definitely be the new superintendent. The final selection means only the board is authorized to begin contract negotiations with the candidate of their choice.
The new superintendent, if he or she agrees to take the job, will replace former superintendent Dr. Joe Hill, who resigned last year. Mike Spanier has served since then as interim superintendent.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.