After interviewing four candidates during a special meeting open to the public on Monday, June 7, the Pequot Lakes School Board voted unanimously to offer the position of interim superintendent to Kurt Stumpf.

Stumpf is a graduate and former teacher and coach in the Pierz School District, then joined Little Falls Middle School as the dean of students before working in Sartell for seven years, four of which were spent as middle school principal. For the past two years, he has worked as superintendent in the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton School District.

“As you know, as a small-town superintendent, you wear a ton of different hats,” Stumpf said. “Between human resources and last year, I was curriculum director. I worked with finance and our COVID coordinator.”

Stumpf made it clear in his interview that even though this is a one-year position, he intends to apply for the full-time position once it is posted, likely near the end of the year.

“While I love where I am at and what I am doing … I know jobs like this don’t come around very often,” Stumpf said. “I know nothing is promised, even if I am offered the job and accept. It has been made clear to me that your intention is to go out for a full search. I knew that going in, but I don’t have to tell you how great Pequot Lakes is.”

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He also expects to earn his doctorate sometime next year.

The board also interviewed Tamara Schultz, Beth Borgen-Lindberg and Randy Hansen. Hansen previously served in administrative positions in the Pequot Lakes School District.

A majority of board members listed Stumpf within their personal top two for the position, partially due to his experience as a superintendent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have to get back and develop relationships with our colleagues and our students,” Stumpf said when asked what will need more attention within the school district as restrictions are lifted. “I don't know what Pequot Lakes staff have gone through, but I know our staff (in Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton) have been outstanding. We had pre-K through grade 6 in-person for the entire school year, which is amazing, but there were a lot of cool things our administration did to support teachers … Teachers need some time to talk to one another, and the same goes for students.”

The district will now enter negotiations with Stumpf, with a finalized contract expected to be approved in a special meeting Monday, June 14.

Stumpf would replace current superintendent Chris Lindholm, who accepted the superintendent position in Cook County after eight years in the Pequot Lakes School District. Lindholm will leave the district at the end of the month.

Dan Determan may be reached at 218-855-5879 or dan.determan@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Dan.