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Eight candidates to interview this week for Morris Area Elementary School principal position

MORRIS, Minn. - Morris Area Elementary School may have a new principal in place by the first week of May.

Eight finalists who applied for the open principal position at Morris Area Elementary School will be interviewed this week. Four will be interviewed "round robin" style on Thursday, and the final four will visit Morris on Saturday, said Superintendent Scott Monson.

A 15-minute interview committee made up of staff, administration and school board members, will conduct the interviews.

Monson said he plans to conduct references checks on candidates next Monday and extend a contract offer sometime next week. If all goes well, the new principal will be approved as at special school board meeting the first week of May.

The new principal is expected to start by July 1, 2012. Current principal Brad Korn is set to retire effective June 30. Korn announced his resignation at the end of March.

Five of the eight candidates currently serve as a principal in their own district; one is a superintendent, one is an assistant principal and one is an elementary school teacher.

The eight candidates are as follows:

• Colleen Abear is currently elementary principal of Cuyuna Range Elementary School, which is part of the Crosby-Ironton School District. Abear has 25 years of teaching experience in several grade levels and various educational settings. She has previously served as ECFE Program Director and mayor of the City of Deerwood, Minn.

• Randal Bergquist is currently the middle school principal in Melrose, a position he has held since 2006. Bergquist served as the grades 6-8 and grades 9-12 principal Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley from 2004 to 2006. He also also worked as the assistant athletic director at MSU Moorhead, and social studies teacher in Moorhead, Lake Park, Barnesville and Fargo.

• Todd Burlingame has served as the superintendent in Paynesville since 2004. He was previously employed as an elementary principal in Paynesville from 1999 to 2004, a grade 4-6 principal in Virginia, Minn, and a teacher in Starbuck and Volga, S.D.

• Lee Furuseth is an elementary principal in Walker-Hackensack-Akeley schools for grades PreK-6. He has also served as program director in Warroad from 1997-1998, a grades 3 and 4 teacher in Warroad, an elementary physical education teacher in Warroad and a Title I teacher in Indus/Northome, Minn.

• Ken Gagner is currently a PreK-8 principal in Battle Lake (two years). From 1988 to 2010, Gagner taught in Morris. He has also taught in McLaughlin, S.D., coached a variety of sports and was Morris' Science Fair advisor.

• Nate Hanson is currently the 7-12 Alternative Learning Center director/assistant principal / Targeted Services Coordinator for the Worthington School District. He has previously worked as a K-12 principal/interim superintendent/community education director in Round Lake-Brewster, Minn., a K-8 building principal in in Eveleth-Gilbert; a physical education/DAPE teacher, a grade 6 physical education/keyboarding

applications teacher in Brainerd and a K-8 physical education/DAPE teacher

in Mound.

• Jeff Nelson is currently the elementary principal / assistant to the administrator at Lake of the Woods School District. From 2005-2007 Nelson was assistant to the administrator and taught grades 7-8 math at LOTW. He has also worked as a middle level teacher, grade 2 teacher, junior high basketball coach and elementary wrestling coach at LOTW.

• Dave Peterson is currently a fourth grade teacher in the Waubun-White Earth-Ogema district. He has previously served as the K-4 Dean of Students, grade 7-12 Activities Director and classroom teacher in Waubun-White Earth-Ogema district. Peterson has also worked as a technology teacher in Waubun-White Earth-Ogema and taught and coached a variety of subject areas in Jackson County Central.