By Chad Koenen
The Henning School Board has narrowed its search for a new school superintendent to six finalists.
During its regularly scheduled meeting last Monday night the school board narrowed a list of 14 applicants to fill the position of full-time superintendent.
Barry Olson, who is the current interim superintendent, will leave his position with Henning School at the end of June.
The six candidates include: John Wiley, who is the current superintendent and principal at Ellsworth; James Stang, who is the elementary principal at Holdingford; Melissa Sparks, who is the high school principal at MACCRAY; Mary Morem, who is the elementary principal at Triton School; Ann Wothe, who is the middle school principal/DAC at Menahga and Ryan Barron, who is the superintendent/principal at Tri County School.
Interviews were held on Monday, Feb. 15 and again on Thursday, Feb. 18 starting at 3:30 p.m. each day. The interviews are scheduled at one hour intervals.
Co-op resolution approved
In addition to narrowing the list of superintendent candidates, the school board formally approved a resolution to begin discussions about potentially co-oping with Battle Lake for boys basketball, girls basketball and volleyball. A committee made up of each school’s superintendent, athletic director and a school board member will meet to discuss potentially expanding the current Otter Tail Central co-op agreement.
Currently just boys and girls basketball and volleyball are Henning and Battle Lake only sports.
The approved resolution only begins the discussion and no decision regarding expanding the current co-op agreement has been made at this time.
In other news
• Approved, by a 5-1 margin, following the MSHSL mask mandate regarding athletes in extra curricular activities. The mandate requires all basketball players to wear masks on the court and on the bench, unless they receive a medical waiver, and all wrestlers can only take off their mask when they are on the mat. Several schools have athletes who have received multiple medical waivers and the school board discussed what action, if any, it should take if a team is not following the mask mandate. Deb Hart voted in dissent of measure.
• Heard from superintendent Barry Olson about the COVID-19 pandemic at the school. Olson said things have been going well and anywhere from 60-70 percent of staff members have been vaccinated for COVID-19. He said that everyone who wanted a vaccination has been afforded the opportunity to do so.
• Accepted the resignation of Aleicia Claassen as English teacher and Sara Blaeser as administrative assistant.
• Heard that enrollment is currently 339 students in grades K-12 and the amount of students distance learning has decreased from 26 at the beginning of January to 18 at the beginning of February.