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Dover-Eyota becomes one of five southeast Minnesota school districts in search of a new superintendent

Three of those five districts — Dover-Eyota, Rochester, and Plainview-Elgin-Millville — share boarders with each other and cover one large contiguous area.

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EYOTA — Mike Carolan, the superintendent of Dover-Eyota Public Schools, has announced his retirement, meaning the school district will join a handful of others in the region in the search for new top leadership.

Barb Dorn, director of leadership development and executive search with the Minnesota School Boards Association, said there's a large number of superintendent openings, not just in Minnesota but across the nation.

"There are a lot of openings across the state — more than we've seen in quite some time," Dorn said. "The last few years have been very challenging for public education. I think there are superintendents who feel they did their absolute best to grapple with the pandemic and get their districts through some unprecedented challenges, and perhaps now have decided it's time to retire or move into the private sector. It's a nationwide trend."

The Dover-Eyota School Board is accepting applications through March 14. It hopes to announce a list of finalists by March 21, followed by interviews with those candidates starting March 23. The district hopes to approve a contract with the new superintendent by April 11.

Carolan has been the superintendent of Dover-Eyota since 2015.

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"It's been wonderful, but it's time for somebody else," Carolan said of his time with Dover-Eyota. "I'm excited about the potential for the district. A shift in leadership is a growth opportunity."

In addition to Dover-Eyota, the other nearby school districts searching for superintendents include Plainview-Elgin-Millville, Rochester, Kingsland, and La Crescent-Hokah.

Three of those five districts — Dover-Eyota, Rochester and PEM — share borders with each other and cover one large contiguous area.

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Kingsland Public Schools, which includes the community of Spring Valley, is just south of both the Stewartville and Chatfield school districts.

La Crescent-Hokah is along the Mississippi, just south of Winona's school district.

Dorn is assisting all the local districts except Rochester with their searches. Rochester has hired a separate firm to help with its search process.

In spite of the large number of openings, Dorn said there's also a good pool of candidates from which to draw, even if that pool is a little smaller than it has been in the past.

"The quality of the candidates is really high," Dorn said. "It's become real clear the last couple years what the challenges of being a superintendent are. So the people who are applying right now are very serious about it and know exactly what they're signing up for."

Jordan Shearer covers K-12 education for the Post Bulletin. A Rochester native, he graduated from Bemidji State University in 2013 before heading out to write for a small newsroom in the boonies of western Nebraska. Bringing things full circle, he returned to Rochester in 2020 just shy of a decade after leaving. Readers can reach Jordan at 507-285-7710 or jshearer@postbulletin.com.
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