After several weeks of searching, the Yellow Medicine East School Board offered the position of Superintendent to current Blue Earth Principal, Richard Schneider. Schneider was one of three semifinalists who participated in the second round of interviews on Monday, June 18 during a special meeting of the Board.

Schneider has been at Blue Earth since 2012. Before that, he served as middle school and high school principal first in Hamlin, South Dakota, and then in Harrisburg, S.D. He began his teaching career as a math and science teacher in Volga, and Avon, S.D. A native of Spencer, S.D., Schneider graduated from Hanson High School.

During his interview, Schneider stressed that being a superintendent isn’t an ‘8-5’ job, but rather, a full time commitment that requires visibility and engagement on the part of the district leader. He explained that during his first 30 days on the job, he would develop a communication plan to help “break down barriers” and encourage greater interaction with the YME staff.

Two other semifinalists were Principal Kristopher Lynk of Sartell-St. Stephen Public Schools and Elementary Principal Michael Pagel of Fulda Public Schools. Each candidate conducted an hour long interview with Board members. Board members agreed that all three candidates were extremely qualified, and their decision was not taken easily. Board Chair Dawn Odegard stressed that although these numbers were a useful tool, the Board ultimately had to make a determination based on their own assessment.

As part of the search process, Board members conducted assessment forms of each candidates. After the interviews, the results of their assessments were tabulated and projected. Schneider came in first, followed closely by Pagel and then Lynk.

Feedback was also solicited from YME staff and community members, about a dozen of whom attended the public interviews. Afterwards, Board Member Sharon Rupp addressed the audience, saying, “Thanks for being a part of this. We couldn’t have done it without you.”

During the deliberations, shared their notes from the interviews. Board members seemed impressed by the crisis management experience of all three candidates, and asked each candidate about their own experience handling difficult situations.

Now that he has accepted the position, Schneider will enter into formal contract negotiations with YME. It is not clear when those talks will conclude, though during the interview, he said that he could start as soon as July 1.