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Coquyt submits resignation from MAHS, board begins search for new principal

MORRIS - The Morris Area School Board formally accepted Morris Area High School Principal Mike Coquyt's resignation at a special meeting on Tuesday, immediately beginning the search for a new full-time replacement.

Coquyt submitted his resignation to Superintendent Scott Monson on Wednesday, June 20. His final official date of employment is June 30, 2012, although the board voted to contract with Coquyt for up to 15 days of work after that date to assist with the transition to a new administrator.

In his resignation letter, Coquyt said he has accepted an offer to serve as an assistant professor at Minnesota State University, Moorhead.

"After careful consideration, I realize that this opportunity is too exciting for me to decline," Coquyt said. Coquyt has been with the district since 2007.

On Tuesday, the board also discussed options for finding an administrator moving forward.

Monson presented three possible scenarios for consideration - hiring a new, full-time principal; shifting administrative duties and hiring a part-time or full-time dean of students; or contract with an administrative firm for an interim administrator for the upcoming year.

The consensus of the board members present - Kurt Gartland, Dick Metzger, Laura Carrington and Brent Fuhrman - was that finding a qualified, full-time replacement was their first choice, followed by contracting for an interim principal for the 2012-2013 school year.

Contract firms, explained Monson, often hire retired administrators who can then serve, essentially, as consultants for districts. Often, these contract administrators serve as superintendents. Districts save money when hiring contract administrators because they don't need to pay extra benefits.

Dave Baukol, superintendent of Chokio-Alberta, has been hired by that district under one of these models, said Monson.

Given the timing of Coquyt's resignation, the potential applicant pool for a full-time administrator may be limited. However, the board emphasized finding a quality candidate.

"Just because the timing isn't right, doesn't mean we shouldn't take a very tough hiring approach to this process," said Metzger. "We need to have somebody that we can work with long-term; we want to find that right person."