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What's next for District 834 after departure of top official

Now that Keith Ryskoski will be leaving the helm as superintendent for Stillwater Area Schools, the District 834 school board will have to find his replacement.

Ryskoski has been superintendent for Stillwater Area School District for five years.

"We are very sorry to see Keith go," school board chair George Hoeppner said.

Hoeppner and School Board Vice Chair Natasha Fleischman said District 834 plans to hire an interim superintendent for the 2010-2011 school year before beginning a search for a permanent superintendent.

"It's a bad hiring time right now because everyone is already geared up for the next year," Fleishman said. "This is a better way to do it than a rushed full-blown search."

Fleischman said the school board has already been in talks with retired superintendents about possibly taking the interim position.

Fleischman said the benefits of hiring a retired superintendent would be that they already know a lot of the inner-workings of a district.

"We need someone who can hit the ground running," she said.

Fleischman said getting someone in as soon as possible is a priority because District 834 is currently working on its long range planning.

"We need someone who can step right in and not slow down the process," she said. "We are committed to moving forward."

The goal is to have someone in place by August once Ryskoski leaves on July 31.

Hoeppner said the school board hopes to start looking for a permanent superintendent in September and have someone in place by April.

Ryskoski said he hopes the next superintendent will be someone who understands the district.

"I hope it's someone who understands the rich tradition and history of the district," Ryskoski said. "While there is a strong tradition, it is a changing district too."

Ryskoski and Fleishman said they don't think his departure or the interim superintendent will have an effect on District 834's ability to maintain excellence.

"Everybody who works in the district plays an important role," Ryskoski said. "It's not as if things are crumbling and falling down."

"We're not going to be flailing," Fleishman said.

Fleishman said once the interim superintendent is hired, the school board will begin discussing what qualifications it is looking for in a permenant replacement.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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