The Morris Area School Board will offer Troy Ferguson the position of superintendent. The board voted at an April 9 meeting to offer the position to Ferguson based on the recommendation of the board's superintendent search committee.

Ferguson is the superintendent of the St. Francis District. Ferguson said in an interview with the Stevens County Times that he has an amicable relationship with the St. Francis school board but will leave the district for personal and professional reasons at the end of this school year.

Board chairwoman Robyn Van Eps and board member Kurt Wulf will negotiate the contract for Ferguson. If the district and Ferguson agree on a contract, the full board is expected to officially hire him at the April 23 meeting.

"We felt we had three great finalists," seach committee member Jennifer Goodnough said at the board meeting.. But when all the qualifications were reviewed, the committee believed Ferguson is the best choice for the Morris Area District, Goodnough said.

"We believe Mr. Ferguson has the qualifications and skills to move the school district forward. We look forward to working with Troy Ferguson in his new capacity," VanEps said in a news release.

Ferguson was selected over finalists Sue Richards-Chase, the middle school principal at Cass Lake-Bena, and Melissa Radeke, the director of teaching and learning/4-6 principal at Windom Area Schools.

In a discussion about a contract with Ferguson, VanEps and Wulf, who was unable to attend the bord meeting, wanted to know if the school board desired to set parameters for the salary and benefits.

Search committee and school board member Anthony Ekren said he wanted VanEps and Wulf to consider Ferguson's contract with St. Francis.

Board member Doug Stahman said while Ferguson has fewer years of experience than current superintendent Rick Lahn, he comes from a much larger district. He'd be comfortable starting Ferguson at Lahn's base salary.

Lahn's base salary is about $134,900 for this school year. It was scheduled to increase to about $138,000 in 2019-2020 and about $141,000 in 2020-2021. Lahn will retire at the end of this school year.

"We want the best superintendents, we want the best principals, we want the best teachers, we want the best staff," board member Matt Johnson said. "We have a candidate we are confident in and the (negotiations team) should act accordingly."