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GMR Board approves Jerome’s resignation, search for new superintendent begins

Greenbush School site

At its May 20 meeting. the Greenbush-Middle River School Board approved the resignation of Superintendent Tom Jerome, effective June 30, 2019, ending his seven-year run with the district.

Before that, the board also approved ending the 60/40 percent split administrative service contract it has shared with the Badger School District since July 1, 2012. The release of this contract made the Badger School Board’s motion to approve Jerome’s resignation also official.

GMR had the 40 percent portion of this split. This administrative service contract had an expiration date of June 30, 2020.

Jerome thanked the board members for the “privilege” to serve the district’s students, staff members and residents. They have learned and grown together over his seven-year career here, Jerome said. He also highlighted the many achievements this district has accomplished during his time.

He mentioned the academic successes, including being recognized as a Celebration and Reward School by the Minnesota Department of Education and as one of the best schools in the state and nation by U.S. News and World Report. He also highlighted some of the district’s success outside the classroom, including Math League, Knowledge Bowl, and Envirothon state tournament appearances, successes in FCCLA, One-Act Play, Band, and Choir, and the state and world accomplishments of the district’s FIRST Robotics program.

He mentioned how the district has had numerous staff members earn “Coach of the Year” honors and had a student, Dylan Heggedal, earn state ExCEL Award recognition by the Minnesota State High School League last school year.

“Through it all– I mean everything– we have worked to try to maintain our focus and objective on serving our students, while quite frankly our school district has outperformed, in reality outperformed so many districts surrounding us,” Jerome said. “And we’ve done that all– serving our students– while trying to manage a budget and be respectful to our taxpayers.”

Back on a Friday, May 4 evening, Jerome received word that he was being offered the Roseau Superintendent position, after applying for the job on the final day he was able to do so. He accepted the position on a Tuesday, May 7 morning and, according to a Roseau Times Region report, the Roseau School Board approved his hire the following day.

“I stayed here because I love the students that I serve,” Jerome said. “And for the people in this room and for the people at this table and for the people in our district who have made their focus, our students, above any individual agenda or that of another group, thank you, because you have helped make our district really pretty crazy great.”

The GMR board discussed several options, including hiring a superintendent in-house, posting and advertising the superintendent position on its own, sharing a superintendent with Badger, and hiring a full or part-time interim superintendent.

The board did agree on an option at its meeting. It made a motion to work with the Badger School District to secure an interim superintendent through the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA), contingent on Badger’s decision to share a superintendent.

“I think we need to send a clear message to Badger that we would like to pursue continuing sharing,” board member Carrie Jo Howard said.

Kilen then asked the board, “Is the concensus that we want to continue sharing?”

Board members said yes and Kilen responded, “Okay, now we’ve sent a message.”

If the Badger Board agreed to share, GMR Board representatives would meet with Badger Board representatives in the search. Badger Board Chairperson Jamie Isane and Badger board member Jeramy Swenson attended this meeting and received GMR’s message.

The next day, May 21, at a previously scheduled special meeting, the Badger Board decided to not partner with the GMR District in the search for a shared interim superintendent, but instead go out on its own.

At the GMR Board meeting, Board Chairperson Kilen said the board would have to call for a special meeting to discuss other options, if the Badger Board elected to go out on its own. Following Badger’s decision, the GMR Board scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, May 29 at 7:30 pm in Greenbush.

To see the complete GMR board story, read the May 29 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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