Chadron School Supt Interviews Wrapping Up

CHADRON – The Chadron School Board interviews its final 2 candidates today to succeed retiring Superintendent Dr Caroline Winchester, then plans to almost immediately begin discussions on all 4 with the intent of settling on one of them before the night is out.

Each candidate has an informal meal with the board, followed by the formal board interview in the district offices. Each also has interviews with various stakeholder groups. Scribner-Snyder Supt Ginger Meyer was in at noon with Blue Hill Community Schools Supt Joel Ruybalid coming in at 6:00.

Ruybalid got his start as an administrator with 5 years at a pair of private schools in Kansas before becoming the Secondary School Principal at Mullen in 2002. He left in 2010 when name superintendent in Blue Hill.

His 3 degrees came from schools in as many states with a BA from Texas-Arlington in 1991, a 2001 Master’s from Kansas State, and his Education Specialist degree from Nebraska-Kearney in 2009.

Ginger Meyer has spent her entire education career in Nebraska, starting in 1994 as a grade school teacher in the Battle Creek District. She was Curriculum, Assessment and Poverty Director for the Broken Bow-based Sandhills Consortium from 1999 – 2011 when she came to the Scribner-Snyder.

Meyer earned a 2-year AA degree at McCook Community College in 1989, a BA from UNL in 1993, her Masters from Wayne State in 1999, and her doctorate in 2010 from UNL.

KCSR/KBPY news was the only member of the public present for yesterday’s interviews with Dr Maggie Mintken, principal of the Grand Island High Freshman Academy and Dr Julie Downing, a Staff Developer at the ESU #13 office in Chadron and an adjunct faculty member at CSC

Each interview uses the same set of questions and both Mintken and Downing took about an hour to answer them, then spent about a half-hour asking questions of the board members.

Mintken was a special education teacher for the Chadron District after graduating from Chadron State in 2006. She told the board she was impressed by the district’s progress since then, especially in working to improve its Fine Arts offerings and bringing back FFA.

Mintken described herself as a forthright, open, and visionary person. In answering the board’s questions, she repeatedly emphasized the importance of clearly defined goals, transparency and communication – both listening and speaking – in all situations.

MIntken said teachers and administrators must always put the individual student first and treat them as they would treat their own. She sees the changing world as the biggest challenge facing students, requiring schools to maximize student opportunities including interactions with the real-world.

Downing told the board she was the most ready of the finalists to hit the ground running because she’s lived in Chadron for a decade and also knows the district’s strengths and weaknesses from working with its teachers and administrators for more than a decade with ESU 13.

She frequently offered examples of how her ESU would benefit her and the district in the future, including the relationships she’s built with other local districts, Chadron State, and many businesses. Downing also said she needs a new mountain to climb and that after so many years of being a consultant and trainer looking in from the outside, she’s ready to step in as a leader.

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