After seven months, Lakeville School District’s business manager resigns

Anderson plans to return to teaching

After just six months, Lakeville School District Business Manager Randy Anderson publicly announced his resignation July 16. Anderson plans to pursue a doctorate and return to teaching. (Photo by Laura Adelmann)
After just seven months, Lakeville School District Business Manager Randy Anderson publicly announced his resignation July 16. Anderson plans to pursue a doctorate and return to teaching. (Photo by Laura Adelmann)

Seven months after starting work with the Lakeville School District, Business Manager Randy Anderson has announced his resignation.

The district has posted the position, and Superintendent Lisa Snyder said she hopes to fill the opening by the end of August.

Anderson said after much reflection and discussion with loved ones, he has decided the time is right to return to his roots and reorient his career toward teaching.

He will leave the district Aug. 2 and plans to pursue a doctorate in business education while working as a teacher, coach and consultant.

Anderson, a former teacher and college professor with a passion for tennis, said he will coach tennis part time this fall at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and has applied for some college-level teaching positions.

He is not sure where he will earn his doctorate but said professionally he wants to end his career where it began: in the classroom.

Anderson, who has a master’s of business administration, taught for the first decade of his career at three Minnesota colleges and in the 1990s developed and directed residential Nike Tennis Camps. He was drawn away from the classroom to oversee school district financial operations in New Prague, Elk River and at Dakota County Technical College before landing the same financial leadership position in Lakeville on Jan. 7.

His tenure in Lakeville may have been short, but Snyder and School Board members, who reluctantly accepted his resignation at a July 16 special meeting, said his work has made a long-lasting impression on the district.

“I appreciate everything you’ve done for our district,” School Board Chair Roz Peterson told Anderson. “You have saved us a ton of money. You were definitely here at the right time.”

In an interview, Snyder said she is “very sad that it isn’t a longer-term relationship” with Anderson, describing him as a “team player” and “a real asset to our team.”

Snyder said Anderson’s teaching career gave him a unique perspective, helpful in finance.

“He had seen a lot of the organization before moving into the financial side of school management,” she said. “So he understands the impact on learning. That’s what he always had on his mind … what is best for students and where can we get the biggest bang for our buck. Those are his two great guiding principles.”

She said Anderson “took the bull by the horns” and renegotiated vendor contracts that saved the district hundreds of thousands of dollars, including a busing contract that alone cut $300,000 off the bill.

Also a computer software author and programmer, Anderson developed a computer model School Board members heavily relied upon to make critical decisions regarding the recently determined levy question of $5.6 million and 2013-14 budget.

Snyder said one of the projects she has assigned Anderson before he leaves is to add an online calculator to the district’s website so constituents can enter their property value to determine what the levy will add to their property tax bill.

School Board Member Bob Erickson, Lakeville’s former city administrator, said Anderson gave “the finest budget presentation I’ve ever witnessed in a public setting.”

“It was just remarkable,” he said. “I will never forget that.”

At the special meeting, which had been previously planned and Anderson’s resignation was added to the agenda, Anderson apologized for his unexpected departure and said he did not want to let anyone down.

He said he had started a doctorate program before, but put that “on hiatus” and now the time feels right to return to working with students; he will also seek consulting work.

“If I knew I could only hire you for six months, I still would have kept you,” said Snyder, who previously worked as a superintendent in Wisconsin schools. “You taught me a lot.”

Anderson said Snyder and the district’s current leadership team is “exceptional,” adding the district’s strong educational reputation and Snyder’s presence greatly influenced his decision to work in Lakeville.

“I’ve worked with some great leaders in my life, and Lisa was one reason I came to Lakeville,” he said. “She’s an amazing visionary.”

Anderson, of Northfield, offered to help the district hire his replacement and act as a resource to that person if needed.

Snyder said they had interviewed strong contenders for the position when Anderson was selected, and they will likely contact those candidates again.

Although he admitted to some nervousness about his decision to leave, Anderson said a recent backpacking trip helped him clarify the decision, and he turned in his resignation when he returned on July 15.

“Life has its moments, and I kind of need to grasp a hold of it and move forward,” Anderson said. “I want to see where the next journey leads to.”