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Bill Strom returns for second interview today for Willmar superintendent

WILLMAR -- William Strom, the superintendent of Mountain Lake Public Schools, will be in Willmar today to begin a second round of interviews for the Willmar superintendent job.

Strom will be available to answer questions from the public from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. today in the rehearsal hall at the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth St. S.W., near downtown Will-mar.

In the early afternoon, he will tour the school district facilities with Superintendent Kathy Leedom, who is retiring July 31. He will meet with district administrators at 2:30 p.m. and participate in a question and answer session with school staff members at 3:30 p.m.

After board members have dinner with Strom, a final board interview will begin at 7:15 p.m. in the board room on the first floor of WEAC.

The interview is open to the public.

Two other candidates are scheduled to come to Willmar for similar interviews, Mahnomen Superintendent Jon Kringen on Wednesday and Waconia Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard on Thursday.

Strom, 49, has been superintendent at Mountain Lake since 1999. He also serves as a principal in the district's preK-12 building. He and his wife Cheri have a son and a daughter.

He is a graduate of Marshall High School and has a bachelor's degree from Crown College in St. Bonifacious. He earned his master's degree and superintendent licensure at Mankato State University.

Strom also works as a graduate instructor for St. Mary's University in Minneapolis. Before becoming superintendent in Mountain Lake, he was the administrator of a Christian school in Mountain Lake for 14 years. He previously taught in Bloomington Public Schools and at a Christian school in Deephaven.

In his first interview last week, Strom told the School Board that he would make the adjustment to the much larger Willmar school district by gathering information and by getting to know the administrative team and their roles in the district. Mountain Lake has about one-eighth the students Willmar does.

"You still have to get along with people," no matter the size of the district, he said.

Strom told the School Board that he felt he would be a good fit for the district because he has good judgment and is good at understanding complex situations. He's also good at getting along with many different types of people, he said.

In a telephone interview Monday, Strom said he applied for the job in Willmar because he has always liked the town.

The Stroms' younger child, their son, is about to graduate from high school, and they have always talked about that as a good time to look around and make a career move.

He hasn't applied for any other job openings this year, he said.

"We're very thoughtful about where we want to move and where we want to live," he said.

"The town is wonderful," and it's located in a beautiful part of the state, he said. One of the things they like about Willmar, too, is its strong "communities of faith," he added.