Five are superintendent semifinalists in District 191

Five applicants, four from Minnesota and one from Wisconsin, are semifinalists for the superintendent’s job in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

The School Board unanimously approved the slate Monday night. Candidates were recommended by School Exec Connect, the board’s hired search firm.

The board will interview the candidates Tuesday and Wednesday and call two or three back next week.

Semifinalists are:

• Joe Gothard, assistant superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wis.

• Raymond Queener, assistant superintendent of Stillwater Area Public Schools.

• Darren Kermes, executive director of the Shakopee-based Carver Scott Educational Cooperative and Minnesota River Valley Special Education Cooperative.

• Teri Staloch, assistant superintendent of Osseo Area Schools and the only woman in the field.

• Robert Slotterback, superintendent of Richfield Public Schools.

“I don’t want to say this is a disappointing slate, but I’m not jumping up and down,” Board Member Dan Luth said, noting the number of assistant superintendents.

Ken Dragseth of School Exec Connect said more than half of the superintentendents in the metro area were assistant superintendents in their previous jobs.

“I still think we have the five strongest ones in the pool,” he told the board, noting that a sixth potential semifinalist withdrew on Monday.

“We’re looking for the stars who want to build their career here and do well,” Dragseth said.

Thirty-one people applied for the job of replacing Superintendent Randy Clegg, who is retiring June 30.

Five of them didn’t complete the application process or took jobs elsewhere, Dragseth said.

A majority of applicants are superintendents now, he said.

Board Member DeeDee Currier, noting  there’s one  one woman in the field of five, asked when the “pipeline” for superintendents will “truly be equal.”

Dragseth said his firm considered recommending two other women, both of whom decided to stay in their current districts.

The board will interview Gothard, Queener and Kermes in separate interviews from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Staloch and Slotterback will be interviewed from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m. Wednesday. Interviews are at the Administrative Services Center, 100 River Ridge Court.

After the second interview Wednesday, the board is scheduled to narrow the field to two or three finalists.

They’ll be invited to daylong appearances in the district April 9, 10 and 11. Those include district tours, meetings with students, at-large community meetings, dinner with the board and final interviews.

The board is scheduled to makes its choice April 11, after which a contract will be negotiated. The new superintendent is scheduled to start work on July 1.