GHEC pursues new leadership

GRANADA — The Granada-Huntley-East Chain School Board on Thursday heard an update on the status of the superintendent/principal hiring process.

Current Superintendent Mandy Fletcher recently accepted a position as superintendent at Blue Earth Area, where she will begin working this summer. GHEC will hire one new superintendent/principal and one assistant principal.

Fletcher said GHEC has received eight applicants for the superintendent position, but the district is still accepting resumes until April 22. The district plans to interview candidates April 30 and have an offer in place by May 9. Several board members and staff members will interview applicants.

“The assistant principal position proved to be a very popular position,” Fletcher noted. “We have received over a dozen applications in five days. We had a large committee that consisted of teachers from every site, a counselor and board member. We’ve reviewed all of the applications and have decided to narrow it down before four and five individuals to interview next Tuesday.”

Fletcher said GHEC also has an elementary teacher opening. It has received applications and will conduct interviews in the next few weeks, after the assistant principal interviews.

The board accepted a contract for Mandy Farrow as a business education teacher for the 2019-20 school year. Farrow lives in Blue Earth and has taught business education in Maple River for the past three years.

“I was thrilled that we had any interest whatsoever because it’s a very difficult position currently as there’s a big shortage of business education teachers,” Fletcher said.

Moving along to other matters, Fletcher gave an update on the possibility of a school resource officer for GHEC. The district has been working with Martin County on the matter for more than a year.

Fletcher said she and board member Bob Garry recently met with the county personnel committee.

“It seems like we’re all on the same page with what the expectations are,” Fletcher said. “The commissioners asked that we take formal action tonight to make it a formal commitment that we’re intending to pursue a contract for an SRO.”

The county has offered to split the cost 66/34, with GHEC paying the majority.

The school board approved a motion to pursue drafting a contract for an SRO.

In other news, Fletcher briefed the board on a new e-learning plan the school’s leadership team has been formulating.

“Legislation is strongly encouraging districts to start planning ahead for next year to get an e-learning plan in place,” Fletcher said.

An e-learning plan allows districts to continue education in the event of unexpected closures, such as snow days. Districts must have a plan in place prior to the start of the year. The plan must be communicated to families prior to the start of the year. There can be up to five e-learning days each year.

Fletcher went on to say that she and tech integrationist Gary Holmseth have been looking at what plans other districts have in place and have been trying to adapt a plan for GHEC.

“For K-5, some districts send home take-out packets for kids to do at home. We’ve decided for elementary students to have a ‘go out and be a kid day’ and encourage kids to play a game with a family member, and then the next day at school they can share and work on those social skills,” she said.

“For 6-12 is when the e-learning really comes into play,” said Fletcher, adding that GHEC would look at sending the one-to-one devices home with students. Teachers would need to be online for the instructional time of day.

She reminded the board that this is just a rough outline, but a lot of the legwork has been done.

In other business, the board approved the 2019-20 budget of $5 million. Fletcher said the budget includes the new full-time business education teacher, estimated teacher salary increases, and estimated salaries for the new superintendent/principal and assistant principal positions. The cost of the SRO position also is in the budget.