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Traetow steps in as Fairmont Superintendent

FAIRMONT — In a special meeting on Tuesday evening, the Fairmont School Board approved naming Andy Traetow as superintendent of Fairmont Area Schools, effective August 1, 2021.

Traetow steps up to fill the opening after Joe Brown resigned from the position just last week. Most recently, Traetow has been co-principal at Fairmont Elementary School.

“I think we’ve all decided we’re comfortable with foregoing the (superintendent) search process and moving forward,” said board president Rufus Rodriguez.

Board member Julie Laue said she called the Minnesota School Board Association to make sure that legally they would be able to hire and was told it would be considered an internal promotion.

“I would have preferred to go have gone through a full hiring search, but I do not agree with hiring Andy as an interim position and then expanding that. It sends the wrong message to everyone. That’s why I’m in favor of this,” Laue said.

Laue further clarified, saying she wanted to go through the full process in order to prove to the hiring group that Traetow is the best candidate.

“I’m so appreciative that Andy is prepared. I have total confidence in his ability. He has proven himself no matter where he’s served in the district of being capable, prepared and putting in all of the work. I have no concerns about Andy being our superintendent,” said board member Nicole Green.

Board member Michael Edman acknowledged how fortunate the district is to have Traetow ready to fill the position.

“When we look at the facts that we have, we have a uniquely qualified candidate for this position. A license is a pre-requisite, check. Experience in both of our buildings as an educator and administrator is a huge advantage,” said Edman.

Rodriguez pointed out that Traetow also has extensive knowledge of the district’s vision for growing the vocational program, especially given that Jake Tietje and Joe Brown, both of whom have been at the forefront of the project, have left the district.

As for filling his former position, Traetow said that he has spoken to Michelle Rosen, co-principal of the elementary school, about the most appropriate way to respond and to make sure that they’re putting a team together to best support the teachers and students.

Traetow said that there are 938 students in grades K-6 and 73 staff at the elementary school and that more support is needed there.

As superintendent, Traetow will be involved in the search for a new co-principal at the elementary school, with the intention of finding and hiring a qualified candidate before August 1. Traetow said with Brown’s resignation, they’ve already had people reach out with the potential of employment.

The board will set a special meeting to negotiate Traetow’s superintendent contract.

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