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Three superintendent candidates return next week for second day of interviews

WILLMAR -- Superintendent candidates Jerry Kjergaard, Bill Strom and Jon Kringen will return to Willmar next week for a second round of interviews with the Willmar School Board.

Each of the candidates will return for a full-day interview. Strom will be in Willmar on Tuesday, Kringen on Wednesday and Kjergaard on Thursday.

Board members are scheduled to choose a final candidate by the end of the week and begin negotiating a contract. They hope to have a new superintendent working in the district by July 1.

Superintendent Kathy Leedom will retire on July 31 after 14 years with the district, the last eight as superintendent.

The school district's plan for each day is to have the candidates tour the district with Leedom in the early afternoon. A series of meetings will follow. Administrators will meet with the candidates at 2:30 p.m. each day, followed by a meeting open to all interested staff members at 3:30 p.m.

The community will have a chance to meet the candidates and ask questions from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. each day in the Willmar Education and Arts Center rehearsal hall.

Those attending the meetings will be asked to fill out comment sheets, which will be provided to the board members.

The candidates will go to dinner with board members before a final board interview each evening at 7 p.m. The final interview is also open to the public.

The board interviewed three candidates Tuesday evening and another three Wednesday evening.

After the last interview, board members ranked the candidates on a scale of 1 to 6. Kjergaard, the superintendent at Waconia, was ranked in the top three by six of the seven board members. Strom, the superintendent at Mountain Lake, and Kringen, the superintendent at Mahnomen, each were ranked among the top three by five of the board members.

Other candidates were Willmar Junior High Principal Mark Miley, MACCRAY Superintendent Greg Schmidt and Blooming Prairie Superintendent Barry Olson.