Return to Headlines

School Board Encourages Public to Submit Feedback on Superintendent Finalists Following Interviews

OCTOBER 9, 2018 - On October 8, 2018, the Shakopee School Board held public interviews for the two finalists for superintendent of Shakopee Public Schools: 

Mike Funk, Superintendent of Albert Lea Area Schools
Mike Redmond, Superintendent of Goodhue Public Schools 

 

Following the death of Superintendent Gary Anger in August 2018, the board named Dave Orlowsky, Data and Testing Administrator, the interim superintendent while they searched for a new candidate.

Director of Human Resources Keith Gray sent a mass email to all superintendents in the state of Minnesota to announce the job posting. Thirty candidates applied for the position and the Personnel Committee selected two finalists. Of these, 21 had experience as either Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent.

 

The candidate pool was diverse in professional experience, gender and locality. There were candidates who currently work in four different states. In order for the district to focus its efforts, a vast majority of time was spent speaking with those who had experience as superintendents. There were dozens of inspiring and affirming conversations indicating Shakopee Public Schools is a highly desirable place to work.

 

Due to the overwhelming response of qualified applicants, the Personnel Committee (Matt McKeand, Angela Tucker and Shawn Hallett as board members, and Dave Orlowsky and Keith Gray as administrators) narrowed the field to those who not only met the district’s specific criteria, but also those who would be the right finalists for Shakopee.

ABOUT THE FINALISTS:

 

Mike Funk Mike Funk is currently the Superintendent of Albert Lea Area Schools.

 

Dr. Funk received his Bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and his Master’s in Education from the University of St. Thomas. He earned his Doctorate in Educational Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota.
 
Dr. Funk started his career in the Dover-Eyota School District as a social studies teacher. He then crossed the border to Wisconsin, where he served as a principal at Pepin High School.

 

Prior to joining Albert Lea Area Schools, Dr. Funk was the superintendent of BOLD Schools in Olivia, Minnesota.

 
Dr. Funk served in the Minnesota National Guard for more than 20 years and holds rank as a Colonel.

During his service he was deployed overseas twice; Bosnia in 2003 and Kosovo in 2008.
 
Mike Redmond is currently the superintendent for Goodhue Public Schools in Goodhue, Minnesota. Dr. Redmond has served the community of Goodhue for the past five years. Mike Redmond
 
Prior to Goodhue Public Schools, Redmond was the Executive Director of Secondary Education for Stillwater Area Public Schools, where he led the Teaching and Learning Department and supervised the secondary principals. 

 

Redmond’s experience also includes serving as the principal of John Glenn Middle School in Maplewood, MN, assistant principal for North High School in North St. Paul, and a social studies teacher for Mahtomedi High School in Mahtomedi, MN.
 
Dr. Redmond holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, Master’s in Education, Bachelor’s in Political Science, Teaching Licensure, Principal Licensure, and Superintendent Licensure.

 

Redmond is also an active member of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA). He serves on the leadership team for MASA Region One, and was recently selected as the Chair-elect for the statewide MASA legislative committee.

 

DR. MIKE FUNK | INTERVIEW 

What are the top three challenges facing Shakopee Public Schools and what do you hope to accomplish during your first 90 days?


The number one thing organizations want in their leader is someone they can trust. I think bringing the trust back to this community -that was broken a few years ago - is a significant factor. Second, you need someone who can lead with integrity and has operational experience at this kind of level. Third, the role of the superintendent is to work with the board to develop the inte­­nt on where the district is going, and work with people within the district and community partners. To be successful as a superintendent, the first thing you do is you listen, learn and develop relationships.

How have you educated yourself on the Academies of Shakopee model and will ensure its success moving forward?

The academies model, I firmly believe, is the future of education. I’m 100% behind it. From what I’ve observed, I think sometimes people, when you talk about change, like to snipe at it. The more we can get businesses involved, I think the community aspect will take care of itself. Let’s have discussions with the staff and community partners moving forward and look at what’s going well and what can we tweak about it.
 
Gary Anger moved mountains in a short time to rebuild positive relationships with both the district and the community. How will you continue that in your own way?

Culture is crucial in any organization. A lot of organizations focus on moving culture through professional development or different activities. Putting the right systems in place, treating people with respect, and supporting them …that’s what I firmly believe. If we do the right things and put the right systems in place with the right structure, we will be a better organization for it. You have to lead by example.
 
Communications style and what can staff, parents, and citizens expect?

I’m pretty direct. I call things how I see them. People know where they stand. Communication with the board is an interesting discussion. Each board member at this table probably prefers to communicate in a different way. As superintendent, you have to get a feel for what’s going on. In my district, we give a weekly update to the board on what’s happened in the past week.

 

DR. MIKE REDMOND | INTERVIEW

What are the top three challenges facing Shakopee Public Schools and what do you hope to accomplish during your first 90 days?

The first 90 days are listening a lot and learning a lot. I’m not going to retell history that you know better than I. The biggest challenge is stepping in, finding a place and finding a role and trying to continue to build upon that positive trajectory, really being future focused, rather than letting the past be an anchor. Certainly, in many districts there are challenges around finances. It’s always a challenge to prioritize the organization and channel those resource to your top priorities and live within your means and do as much as you possibly can with the resources you have to help students learn and reach their full potential.

How have you educated yourself on the Academies of Shakopee model and will ensure its success moving forward?

The key part of the academies is it takes a large high school and it breaks it up and makes it a welcoming place for students by helping them find a place where they belong, follow their passion and dreams, and learn. At the end of the day, it’s about real learning. I’ve been in education long enough to say that’s not something we’ve been really good at. I love what the academies are doing by igniting that passion. I see good things happening and good progress being made. I think it’s going to be highly successful.
 
Gary Anger moved mountains in a short time to rebuild positive relationships with both the district and the community. How will you continue that in your own way?

We both have a passion for doing what’s right for students and doing it the right way with enthusiasm. There’s only one Gary Anger. I’m not him. Building relationships with people - rather it’s teachers, students or staff - it’s about building relationships and caring for people. I think I would like to build upon that positive trajectory and use that as a foundation and launch to do great things for the district.
 
Communications style and what can staff, parents, and citizens expect?

I have an open door, cell phone and email. I want people to know what we’re doing. I want us to be about customer service. We welcome it. Not judging by our standards, but are we communicating what they need and want from us? We’ve got to reach out to people and get feedback, being accessible, developing great relationships with media and communities that surround us. The more people know about what we’re doing in our school district, the better we’ll be.

 

A special board meeting will be held October 15, 2018. At that time, the board will discuss both candidates and determine how to proceed. In the meantime, the board is asking the school community to submit feedback on both finalists by October 15, 2018.

Scott Swanson (sswanson@shakopee.k12.mn.us)
Tony Pass (tpass@shakopee.k12.mn.us)
Matt McKeand (mmckeand@shakopee.k12.mn.us)
Shawn Hallett (shallett@shakopee.k12.mn.us)
Angela Tucker (atucker@shakopee.k12.mn.us)
Reggie Bowerman (rbowerman@shakopee.k12.mn.us)
Judi Tomczik (jtomczik@shakopee.k12.mn.us)