Bill Adams says he's sorry to leave NLS, excited to join Willmar Schools as assistant superintendent

The Willmar School Board on Monday approved the hiring of New London-Spicer Superintendent Bill Adams as Willmar's new assistant superintendent. Adams said a number of factors drew him to Willmar, but he is also sad to leave NLS.

New London-Spicer Superintendent Bill Adams
New London-Spicer Superintendent Bill Adams

WILLMAR — New London-Spicer Superintendent Bill Adams said it was a difficult decision to leave the district for a new job with Willmar Public Schools.

Adams will become the new assistant superintendent in Willmar on July 1.

The Willmar School Board on Monday approved the hiring of Adams on a list of personnel changes. He will have a two-year contract in the position.


Adams will work with Superintendent Jeff Holm in the next two years. If all goes well, the board could decide to hire Adams as the next superintendent when Holm retires in 2024, a move school officials hope could provide continuity for the district.

“Clearly, I’m very happy at New London-Spicer,” Adams told the West Central Tribune. “I’ve got an amazing school board, an outstanding community, a great staff.”


Deciding to apply for the assistant superintendent position was a difficult decision, he said, but several things drew him to Willmar.

He is interested in working with a diverse population like Willmar’s, he said.

In addition, “I’ve had an opportunity to observe from afar some of the things they’re doing,” Adams said, and he’s interested in the district’s efforts in developing new models of instruction and employee evaluation. Both plans are underway now and will take several years to be fully implemented.

He’s also interested in the district’s work with Teamworks International, the consultants who have helped the district develop and maintain its strategic plan in recent years.

Some smaller issues tugged him toward Willmar, too, he said. His maternal grandparents both graduated from Willmar Senior High. A relative who had worked in the district speaks highly of Willmar Public Schools.

“Although I’m really sad, I’m really excited on the flip side,” he said.

The board’s foresight to commit to planning a smooth superintendent transition two years in advance impressed him, he said.

Adams said he knows there’s no guarantee that he will move into the superintendent position. That will be a board decision later on.


“I’m confident that my skill set will be of value to the organization, and I’m hopeful that things work out,” he said. “I understand that’s a position that needs to be earned, not given.”

Jeff Holm, Willmar Superintendent
Contributed / Willmar Public Schools

Holm said Monday that he had been a little surprised to find an assistant at the school district next door.

“I’m pleasantly surprised, and I think he’ll be a great addition here,” he said.

Holm said he and Adams had spoken about the district’s programs in the past, before the discussion of hiring an assistant superintendent started.

Adams has 10 years of experience as a superintendent, first at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton and then with NLS, which he joined in 2019.

He began his career as an elementary teacher and a principal at Renville County West.

The Willmar School District is in the midst of adopting a new system of employee evaluations designed to provide more productive information for the district and its employees.

A system of standards-based instruction is also in the works. The system will use a new method of gauging student achievement and will increase coordination across grade levels.


Both initiatives will take several years to fully implement.

More education coverage:
Education Minnesota, the state's largest education union, sponsors the annual Teacher of the Year honor. Three area teachers are among the 131 candidates announced this week.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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