Chadron School Supt Interviews Begin


CHADRON – The Chadron School Board is beginning the last leg of its search for a successor to retiring Superintendent Dr Caroline Winchester. The board last week named 4 finalists and will interview 2 of them today and the other two tomorrow.

Dr Maggie Mintken, principal of the Grand Island Academy of Freshman Exploration, had her public interview today at noon while at 6:00 it will be Dr Julie Downing, a Staff Developer at the ESU #13 office in Chadron and an adjunct faculty member at Chadron State College.

Tomorrow, Blue Hill Community Schools Supt Jo-el Ruybalid will be in at noon with Scribner-Snyder Supt Ginger Meyer at 6:00. All 4 sessions will be in the district board room and are open to the public – although without public participation.

School Board President Tom Menke says it was hard getting the applicant pool down to the 4 finalists and he’s sure it will be even harder to choose the person for the job.


The interview process has each candidate and their spouse dine informally with the board just ahead of their public session, and to be interviewed as well by various stakeholder groups.

Menke says after Meyer’s interview tomorrow night, the board will take a short break and then begin reviewing the finalists and hopefully settle on one before the night is done.


Dr Maggie Mintken is a Chadron State College graduate who served early in her career as a special education teacher in both Chadron and Alliance. Both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from CSC while her doctorate is from Creighton.

Mintken has been with the Grand Island Public Schools since 2007, first as special education coordinator, then as assistant principal at 2 different schools before being named Principal of the Academies of Grand Island Senior High last year.

Dr Julie Downing’s background includes stints as a K-8 rural teacher in Sheridan and Dawes Counties, head teacher at the CSC Early Childhood Development Center, and a grade school teacher at Gordon Elementary.

She moved into administration in 2005 as Curriculum and assessment coordinator for the Gordon-Rushville district, then joined ESU 13 in 2008 – a position she’s continued to hold while also serving as an adjunct instructor at CSC.

The wife of Nebraska State Patrol Sgt Mick Downing, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degree from Chadron State while her doctorate is from UNL.