The Yellow Medicine East School Board negotiation committee has reached a tentative agreement that will see YME Superintendent Al Stoeckman remain with the district for one more year pending school board approval at their meeting this coming Monday.
“We’re excited to have him stay,” said school board member Tim Opdahl. “It’s a great thing for the district. And by prolonging his retirement until after the 2014-2015 school years, it gives us plenty of time to develop a plan for succession.”
In late September, Stoeckman, who is in the final year of his second three-year contract with the district, informed the board that he would not seek the renewal of his contract looking toward next year. At the time Stoeckman had little to say on the matter noting only, “"I felt it was time for a change in leadership."
Stoeckman’s intentions came as a surprise to the board, which has noted its pleasure with the superintendent’s performance over the past six years. In response, the school board’s negotiation committee, consisting of board members Tim Opdahl, Jane Haggert and Chair Grant Velde, was charged with the swaying him to stay.
Following the initial request to reconsider, Stoeckman said that he wanted some time to mull the decision over with his family––but, at the very least, would agree to listen to the negotiation committee’s overtures. Terms of the contract will be disclosed at Monday’s meeting but, in the end, it was the widespread expressions of support for the superintendent that proved to be the largest factor encouraging him to stay.
“More than anything it was the comments from board , staff and community members that made me feel like I could be effective for another year,” Stoeckman said. “And I think the length of time will be good for my plans for the future.”
As to what sort of plans are on the horizon, Stoeckman said much is still in the infancy stages, but as he looks down the road toward retirement he’s looking forward to exploring volunteer and other types of opportunities that might present themselves.
In addition to a seamless succession, both Stoeckman and the school board said they will welcome the opportunity to continue working on ongoing initiatives as of late.
Naming just a few, Stoeckman said he is extremely excited to oversee the construction of a K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) classroom, recently made possible by a $100,000 Bush Foundation tribute grant, as well as programs that will continue to work toward the improvement of student test scores.
“I appreciate the board’s confidence in me for another year,” he said. “My hope is to serve and support the district to the best of my ability.”
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