December 7, 2017

St. Louis County School District's new interim superintendent no stranger


The St. Louis County Schools District, ISD 2142, will be bidding farewell to their present superintendent, Steve Sallee, at the end of the year as he is heading to the Rochester area's Southeast Service Cooperative where he will be taking charge. The new interim superintendent is no stranger to the school district or the area.
Dr. Reggie Engebritson was chosen by the ISD 2142 board to take Sallee's place. She comes with good recommendations and experience, plus Supt. Sallee was happy she was chosen.
Supt. Engebritson graduated from Osseo High School. She went on to St. Cloud State where she received her Bachelor's Degree in Special Education in 1979 and then her Master's Degree in Special Education. She went on to the University of Minnesota where she received her doctorate in Educational Policy and Administration.
Dr. Engebritson came north in April 2007 to become the Executive Director of the Northland Learning Center. This position had her working with all of the area schools. She has also been the Special Education Director for ISD 2142 for the past 11 years, so she knows the district and the people.
The new interim superintendent has been busy visiting the schools, meeting the teachers, students and staff. She said she is "real excited" with her new job and noted that, "Steve (Sallee) did a nice job pushing the district in the right direction." The new superintendent said she is counting on the support of the district's principals and teachers. She noted that she is a "good listener and problem solver." She hopes to tell the story of 2142 and the "good things we're doing."
She is busy getting out in the district to meet people in the communities and schools. She added that she hopes she will be chosen as the full-time superintendent next summer. She is a real "workaholic."
Supt. Engebritson wants to meet the people in the district and if any group or person would like to meet with her, they may call her at 749-8130, ext. 1104.
She definitely brings a lot of enthusiasm to ISD 2142 and she is a very welcome addition to the district. ISD 2142 demands a top quality superintendent as it is the largest school district in area in Minnesota and one of the top two or three in size in the United States. The district has been fortunate to have brought in some of the top superintendents available. Interim Supt. Reggie Engebritson definitely appears to be another superintendent in that mode.

Interim Supt. Dr. Reggie Engebritson attends ISD 2142 board meeting


Supt. Steve Sallee, who will be leaving the St. Louis County Schools District for a new position down south starting the first of the new year, was absent from the regular meeting of the ISD 2142 board held Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 6 p.m., in the North Woods School. Interim Superintendent Dr. Reggie Engebritson, who will take over starting the first of the year, came to the meeting to get an idea of the new district. She was warmly greeted by the board.
North Woods Principal John Vukmanich introduced senior Grace Johnson who has had a fantastic high school career. When she graduates, she will have 30 college credits to take to college. She reported on the 20-ft. by 20-ft. patio that was built with parents' and students' funds. She said the school will have a "Rock-a-thon" on Friday, Dec. 1, with the funds going to the "Make-A-Wish" Foundation. She told the board that the school store will be getting new merchandise in for sale and the students are excited about that.
Principal Vukmanich spoke about the teacher mentoring program they are having. There are seven new teachers.
The Qcomp goals for North Woods were exceeded this year. The elementary goal for reading was 55.2 percent and they made 58 percent. The math goal for high school was 25.2 percent and they exceeded it at 29.4 percent. All students and staff have been inserviced on ALICE with letters being sent home. Response has been overwhelmingly positive. The school used the training opportunity to also talk to kids about respecting each other and "doing better" than sometimes what is seen in the adult world.
Sara Niska spoke to the board about making cheerleading a school-sponsored event. She has been working with cheerleaders since 2011. Presently, it is not a school-sponsored event. Kristi Berlin, curriculum director, said she was working with Sara on this.
A change order for the Northeast Range School totaling a savings of $10,750 was approved. The big savings was a deduct of $84,200 for countertops that were in the original contract. Northeast Range board member Chris Koivisto questioned the countertops. The change was approved unanimously.
Carl Clark, project manager for the NER heating project, invited the board to accompany him on Wednesday as he went over the punch list for items that needed to be finished.
The board approved the combined polling places for the district with the sites being the Orr City Hall, Cook Community Center, Tower Civic Center, Babbitt City Hall, Clinton Community Building, Cotton Community Center, and the New Independence Town Hall.
The Shared Agreement between the St. Louis County Schools District and the Mt. Iron/Buhl District over the stipend for Kristi Berlin was approved. She will receive an additional $5,000 on Dec. 31, 2017, and again on June 30, 2018. This is just for one year.
The Custodians' Contract for 2017-2018 was unanimously approved.
New teaching staff hired were: Barry Wolff, 0.8 FTE Special Education at Cherry; Crystal Pearson, 1.0 FTE long-term substitute elementary teacher at Cherry; and Kris Dirksen, 1.0 FTE long-term substitute elementary teacher at South Ridge.
Paraprofessionals hired for Cherry were Wynona Clinton, Chantel Reynolds, Lora Anderson, and Genevieve Drais as a teaching assistant/aide. Cody Romer was hired as a paraprofessional at South Ridge, Bonnie Watsula as a cook aide at South Ridge, Jennifer Pallin as an assistant cook at NE Range, and Danny Kellner-Sawyer as a bus driver at South Ridge.
Coaching staff hired for the 2017-2018 school year for NE Range were Ethan Stachovich as assistant coach for girls basketball; for Cherry, Robert Pearson - assistant boys basketball coach getting a half stipend, and Danni Grotberg as assistant girls basketball coach getting a half stipend; and for North Woods, Elizabeth Cheney and Angela Schultz as assistant girls basketball coaches with Schultz getting a half stipend.
The board accepted the resignations/retirement of Debra Keating-Babbini as van driver for Cherry, Peggy Makkyla as Indian Ed. Program Asst. at NE Range, Tawnya Aune as paraprofessional at North Woods, and Beth Vidal as Community Ed. coordinator and Little Grizzlies coordinator at North Woods, Angel Dahl as assistant softball coach for South Ridge, and Jennifer Pallin as dishwasher at NE Range.
Sheri Carlson was terminated as an ECFE teacher. She is currently on ULA and does not hold an ECFE teaching license. Tara Oksa, technology assistant, was terminated as she hasn't worked since Oct. 12 and attempts to locate her have been unsuccessful.
North Woods elementary teacher Debra Johnson had her unpaid leave of absence for April approved.
Employment agreements for DaNeil Sirjord, director of ECFE and Federal Projects, Kim Johnson, business manager, Tony Buccanero, director of Facilities and Grounds, Kay Cornelius, Transportation director, Mary Spang, director of Health Services, Lisa Callister, district accountant, Wendy Fahey, payroll coordinator, Joani Bergstrom, MARSS Student Data/Student Information Systems coordinator, Teila Nelson, school nurse, Vern Wenberg, Technology coordinator, and Shannon Mattila, Technology assistant were approved.
The meeting adjourned at 7 p.m.

St. Louis County Schools enrollment stays strong

Most school districts around the state of Minnesota have seen their enrollments drop over the years, but not ISD 2142, the St. Louis County Schools. The enrollment for the County School District hit a low of around 1,800 prior to the construction project that closed old schools, built two state-of-the-art schools in North Woods and South Ridge, remodeled the Cherry School twice, and remodeled the Northeast Range School.
Enrollment at the end of the last school year was 1,887 and that is the same figure today. South Ridge has an enrollment of 538, Northeast Range has 251 students, Cherry 497, North Woods 532, and Tower 69.
Enrollment figures are quite important to school districts as they are the basis for student aid income from the state.


Pick up this week's paper for more stories and pictures...

Grizzlies ROAR in season opener

Santa visits with children in Cook

Cook's Country Christmas brings Christmas Spirit to the area

Orr'S Snow City Festival

Letters to the Editor...