The Redwood Area Board of Education met an hour early this past Monday night (Feb. 25) to hold a workshop to discuss two items that will be an important part of leading the Redwood Area School District into the future.

One of those topics is the upcoming hire of a new superintendent with that individual starting in that role as of July 1, 2020, as the existing contract with current superintendent Rick Ellingworth ends after the 2019-20 year.

With that in mind, the board heard two presentations from those who could help the district as it moves forward with that process, and in the end it opted to proceed with Big River Consulting in that search. 

Dr. Bruce Miles of Big River Consulting talked about that process, adding it is good that the district is looking this far ahead simply because there is always a demand for superintendents. To get an ideal candidate becomes much easier the sooner that search begins.

The board is planning to begin that search in earnest this coming October, with the ideal situation of having someone on board in late winter.

Miles said that it is about a three-month process that involves announcing the opening, gathering resumes and then conducting interviews based on those candidates. Miles added he encourages the board to be very involved with the process.

“The more you are involved with the process the better off you will be,” Miles told the board, adding while Big River Consulting will guide them through the process, “the final decision is up to you.”

In addition to approving the employment of Big River Consulting to conduct the superintendent search, the board also voted to work with the Minnesota School Board Association to develop a strategic plan that will help the board as it addresses issues, such as the future of the elementary school, student attendance, teacher shortages, plans for its career development and training center addition and the search for its new leader.

The board heard that it is important for that strategic plan to be in place in advance of its superintendent hiring process, as it will help provide the framework of what type of person it will want in that role.

The board is planning to begin that process this summer, and it will include conducting surveys with staff and the community, as well as hosting listening sessions with different groups to determine what is working well and what needs to be improved. That process will likely continue into this coming September.

In other action during its Feb. 25 meeting the board:

• Approved a change order for the Estebo Career Development and Training Center in the amount of $115,492 that includes modifications and additions to support the technology being installed at a cost of $367,000, the installation of an overhead door between the existing metal shop and new Project Lead the Way lab at a cost of $34,116, an increase in power for the new portable welding stations at a cost of $13,355, modifications to the existing entry at a cost of $9,426, the addition of standard light fixtures in the grow lab at a cost of $3,614, modifications to the signage deducting $5,124 from the budget, the addition of doors and hardware in the hallways inside the new area at a cost of $4,736 and other items, such as roof modifications to address drainage, relocation of a marker board and modifications and updates to the music department area.