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.

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.


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
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