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Rochester School Board approves search firm for permanent superintendent position

The firm the district selected was the second highest in terms of cost. Their proposals ranged from $16,900 up to $83,253.

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Jean Marvin, chair of the Rochester Public Schools School Board, speaks during a meeting on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, at the Edison Administration Building in Rochester. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER — The Rochester School Board on Tuesday hired a search firm to help with the selection of candidates for the district's permanent superintendent position.

The district will pay Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, $26,000 for the service.

Overall, there were six firms that responded to the district's request for proposals. A small group of individuals from throughout the district interviewed five of them.

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Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates was the second highest in terms of cost. Their proposals ranged from $16,900 up to $83,253.

According to background information provided by the district, the district gave each of the firms a score. Of those scores, 40% was based on the price, 30% was based on the written proposals and references, and the final 30% was based on the interviews.

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The district's previous superintendent, Michael Muñoz, resigned in February 2021. Rather than rush the process of replacing him, the school board decided to hire an interim superintendent for a year with the intention of conducting a second search for a permanent superintendent after that.

Kent Pekel has held the role of interim superintendent since July. His one-year contract is in effect through the end of June.

Throughout the process of searching for a new superintendent, the board has repeatedly indicated it would allow the interim superintendent to apply for the permanent position at the end of their one-year contract. When he first came to the district, Pekel indicated that he would apply for the permanent position if his initial contract went well.

The school Board just completed a mid-year review of Pekel's performance , which showed a positive opinion of his work. Prior to that, Pekel also submitted a self evaluation of his time with the district so far.

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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