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Mark Ekren named dean of students in principal's absence

MORRIS – Morris Area High School Activities Director Mark Ekren will serve as dean of students while MAHS Principal Craig Peterson is on paid administrative leave following criminal sexual conduct charges.

Superintendent Scott Monson told students and some parents about the administrative change at a three assemblies on Thursday, Jan. 2.

Both Monson and Ekren emphasized that it will be business as usual at the high school going forward.  

“Many of you know that Mr. Peterson is not going to be our high school principal for the time being,” said Monson. “I do not know when he is going to return.”

As dean of students, Ekren will be the primary point of contact for students with issues that need to be taken to a school administrator like discipline concerns or unexcused absences, Monson explained.

“Business will go on as usual here,” Ekren told the assembled students. “We have great teachers, we have great students. We just have to keep the process going of education – coming here every day, getting to class, doing what you need to do.”

Peterson, 36, has been charged with with four felony counts of criminal sexual conduct after allegedly assaulting a 30-year-old female acquaintance at his home in Morris on Dec. 21. He has been on paid administrative leave since Dec. 23.

Peterson appeared in Stevens County District Court on Monday where he deferred entering a plea to the charges. An omnibus hearing is scheduled for Feb. 5.

Peterson will be represented by attorney Robert Dalager and Grant County Attorney Justin Anderson will represent Stevens County. Stevens County Attorney Aaron Jordan said he will serve as second chair to Anderson on the case.