Board members sing Clegg’s praises

bv clegg graduation
Superintendent Randy Clegg spoke June 7 at Burnsville High school’s graduation, his last graduation ceremony in School District 191. He is leaving the district June 30. (Photo by Rick Orndorf)

Superintendent is leaving on June 30

Randy Clegg, School District 191’s exiting superintendent, was described as an innovator who brought needed changes to the district during his five-year tenure.

School Board members Ron Hill and Dan Luth praised Clegg at the June 6 board meeting, his last.

Clegg is leaving the district on June 30, when his contract expires. His replacement is 41-year-old Joe Gothard, assistant superintendent for secondary education in the Madison, Wis., school district.

Clegg, a veteran educator who served four superintendencies in Iowa school districts before coming to Burnsville-Eagan-Savage, has said he doesn’t plan to seek another superintendent’s job.

That doesn’t mean he’ll be sitting around, Luth said.

“He is known across the country,” Luth said. “He travels as a consultant to other districts, helping them through their curricular issues and so on. We’ve been truly blessed to have that kind of experience at the helm.”

Last September the board gave Clegg a mixed job review, the first in which it said he hadn’t met all his performance standards. The review followed bitter controversy and public anger over the $255,000 buyout of Tania Chance, the district’s former human resources director, who had 18 months left on her two-year contract.

In impromptu remarks June 6, Hill and Luth — the only two members remaining from the board that hired Clegg in 2008 —  ran through a list of his accomplishments.

“A lot of innovation has been brought into the school district,” Hill said.

Clegg took hold of the district’s fledgling magnet-school efforts and made them bloom, Hill said.

He led the charge for free all-day kindergarten, which was begun in 2012, and found a way to make it financially sustainable, unlike the district’s one-year foray into all-day K eight years ago, Hill said.

“It brings a new level of education to our youngest learners coming into our school district, which will be a great help as they advance up into junior and senior high,” Hill said.

Clegg launched a new budgeting system that shines a light of transparency on the cost of every district  program, Hill said. That, along with more inclusive budget planning, has brought a “total change” in the public’s understanding of the budget.

Clegg launched a new curriculum-management system, which Hill said aligned district curriculum and brought cross-district equity to educational programs.

“He has elevated the importance of what we are doing in the classroom to an even higher level than what it was before,” Hill said. “He has established a curriculum library that can be used by all teachers at all grade levels.”

Clegg brought mental health services to all district elementary schools and introduced programs including AVID, a college-readiness program, and PBIS, which promotes good student behavior, Hill said.

“I, for one, will be ever grateful for all that you’ve done for us in this district,” Luth told Clegg, whom he said transformed the district’s strategic planning into a “living strategy.”

“But the reality,” Clegg said, “is none of that could have been accomplished without a strong leadership team that deeply believed in the ability for all kids to be college- and career-ready.”

District teachers “give everything they have to the mission of this school district and really do work very hard,” Clegg said.

During his tenure, the teachers union president was seated on the district’s executive cabinet, which Clegg said made the Burnsville Education Association a partner in promoting innovation.