Superintendent search is on in ND

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Six of the top seven largest school districts in North Dakota will be looking for a new superintendent for the fall.

That's more than 45 percent of public school students under new leadership.

Fargo, West Fargo, Grand Forks and Williston superintendents are retiring while Bismarck and Dickinson's are stepping down.
Superintendents from smaller districts are also leaving.

Nearly 50,000 students will have a new district superintendent come next fall.

“So I think it's important that each school board as they make this decision, reflects on what their existing leadership and the remaining leadership is providing, and then fill in with the area of weakness,” said State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler.

With districts both big and small across the state trying to fill superintendent spots, there's likely to be heavy competition for the positions.

“I do think there is a group of administrators, whether it be principals or other administrators or possibly an assistant superintendent, maybe current superintendents in smaller systems that are ready for the challenge to step up and take that next step,” said Baesler.

Baesler says there's never a good time to retire, and there's always still work to be done. Some superintendents feel they accomplished what they wanted to before leaving.

“What I was tasked to do when I was hired, and that was to take a really good system and bring it up into a more 21st century model,” said Bismarck Public Schools Superintendent Tamara Uselman.

But they say it's time to prioritize family over work.

“My wife and I thought this would be an appropriate time to move on and have a new chapter in our life,” said Dickinson Superintendent Douglas Sullivan.

Bismarck Public School Board President Karl Lembke says the board will discuss whether there's a need for an outside source to help with the hiring process.

The Bismarck Public School Board will meet to discuss their search for a new superintendent Wednesday morning.