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Two of three Willmar finalists also being considered for superintendent elsewhere

Update 8 a.m. - This story has been updated to reflect Brainerd's superintendent search timeline and corrects the names of that district's candidates.

WILLMAR -- Two of three finalists returning for a second interview for the Willmar superintendent position are finalists in other superintendent positions.

Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard of Waconia and Superintendent Jon Kringen of Mahnomen confirmed Friday to the Tribune that they are finalists for superintendent positions in other districts.

Dr. Jerry Kjergaard, scheduled for his second Willmar interview Thursday, is a finalist for the Brainerd superintendent position and is currently in Brainerd. He participated Friday in a tour of Brainerd and a community and staff meeting Friday night, along the other three finalists. The four Brainerd candidates are scheduled for interviews today with the Brainerd School Board.

Jon Kringen, scheduled for his second Willmar interview Wednesday, is a finalist for the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle superintendent position and interviewed there April 19. He was not among the two candidates invited back for a second interview.

Superintendent Bill Strom of Mountain Lake is the third Willmar finalist returning for a second interview. Strom, scheduled to interview Tuesday in Willmar, told the Tribune in an e-mail Friday that he currently is neither a finalist nor an applicant for any other opening.

"The one thing we knew going into our superintendent search is that it would be real competitive," said Willmar School Board chairman Mike Carlson Friday in a telephone interview. "We have a good feeling about the three returning to interview (next week) and believe we have a good shot (at getting our choice)."

Kjergaard was one of four finalists announced for the Brainerd superintendent position on April 14. The other Brainerd finalists are Steve Razidlo, Brainerd assistant superintendent; Todd Lyscio, Brainerd Community Education director; and John Longtin of Eagan.

The Brainerd board's plan is to conclude its interview process today. The board make their superintendent choice or narrow their list to two candidates as early as Saturday afternoon. The board expects to make an offer early next week and completed the hire by May 12, according to the Brainerd Dispatch.

Kjergaard was also one of three finalists in February for the superintendent position in New Prague School. He was not chosen for that position.

Kringen was one of five finalists in March for the superintendent position in Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton School District. He did got get that position.

Willmar hopes to have a new superintendent working in the district by July 1. Superintendent Kathy Leedom will retire July 31 after 14 years with the district.

Kelly Boldan

Kelly Boldan has been the editor of the West Central Tribune of Willmar, since joining the newspaper in October 2001. He has previously worked as the editor at the Bemidji Pioneer, also part of Forum Communications Co., and other daily newspapers, online Web sites, and weekly agriculture newspapers in Wisconsin, Texas and Minnesota. You can follow via Twitter at @KellyBoldanWCT or read about the Tribune's newsroom blog at: or the Tribune's blog at:

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