Board offers superintendent's job to Adrian man

Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

By the end of this week, the New Prague Area School Board should know if it has a new superintendent.

The board has offered the position to Roger Graff, superintendent and high school principal in Adrian.

Graff was the third choice of board members following interviews Monday, July 17, but the first two choices, Park Rapids superintendent Glenn Chiodo and Roseau superintendent Larry Guggisberg, turned down the offer.

Chiodo turned down the district on July 18, and Guggisberg took a full week before turning down the offer.

School board chair Dan Carlson said Guggisberg cited timing and family concerns as his reasons for declining the job. He had also been a finalist for the superintendent's job in Fergus Falls, but on Monday, July 24, he turned down the chance for a second interview in that district.

Carlson said Graff has promised an answer by the end of the week. If he accepts the offer, he and the board will have to negotiate and sign a contract before the move becomes official.

Adrian is a financially strong and academically high achieving district in southwestern Minnesota. Of the 640 students in the district, 120 attend Adrian schools on open enrollment.

During the interview process, many observers and some school board members felt his first interview was by far the best of the six semifinalists. He was the first choice of three of the board members after the second interview, but other board members were concerned about his relative lack of experience compared to the other candidates.

School board officials hope to have a new superintendent in place by September 1.

If Graff turns down the offer, the board will have to revisit the selection process and look at a new timeline. Options include starting the process over immediately or delaying the process until later in the year and hiring an interim superintendent, mostly likely a retired superintendent, to oversee the district until a new superintendent is hired.

Dr. Frankie Poplau, superintendent for the past seven years, resigned in April. Her last day on the job was July 7. She remains on the district's payroll until late August, using her accrued vacation time. Steve Bruchman, Director of Community Services, is serving as acting superintendent.

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