District 11 interviews six candidates for superintendent

The Anoka-Hennepin District 11 School Board interviewed six candidates for superintendent Feb. 11 and 12.

School Exec Connect, the national search firm with which the district is working to fill the position, pre-screened candidates and presented anonymous credentials to the board at its work session Feb. 10. The board agreed to interview all six of the candidates School Exec Connect put forward.

Candidates for the position include: Stephen Flisk, Jinger Gustafson, Carlton Jenkins, Michelle Langenfeld, David Law and Jeff McGonigal.

Gustafson and McGonigal are internal candidates. Both work as associate superintendents in District 11.

In 2011, Gustafson moved into her current position as associate superintendent for middle schools when Langenfeld vacated it to become superintendent in Green Bay. Before that time, Gustafson worked as assistant principal at Roosevelt Middle School, then principal of Oak View Middle School for a total of eight years.

Gustafson has a doctorate in leadership and a superintendent’s license from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis.

McGonigal was also hired as an associate superintendent in 2011, associate superintendent for high schools. He came to the district to become principal of Coon Rapids High School seven years ago, leaving his post as principal of Robbinsdale Cooper High School.

McGonigal earned his master’s degree in secondary administration from the University of St. Thomas and his superintendent’s license from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis.

Also working in the Twin Cities, Flisk serves an associate superintendent in the Minneapolis Public School District, and Law is the assistant superintendent in the White Bear Lake School District.

Flisk moved to the Twin Cities from Chicago three years ago, leaving his job as academy superintendent at Carver Military High School to become associate superintendent for academic affairs in Minneapolis.

At present, Flisk is working toward his doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Illinois. He holds master’s degrees in math and education from Chicago State University and Saint Xavier University, respectively.

Law has connections to Anoka-Hennepin, having worked as an assistant principal at Sandburg Middle School in Anoka for seven years. In 2007, he moved to the White Bear Lake School District to become principal at Sunrise Park Middle School. He has worked as assistant superintendent for four years.

Law, appropriately enough, has a doctor of law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. He has a superintendent’s license from the University of Minnesota.

Out of state candidates are Jenkins and Langenfeld, both superintendents in the Midwest. Jenkins works for the Saginaw Public School District in Michigan, and Langenfeld heads the Green Bay Area Public School District.

Before becoming superintendent in the Saginaw Public School District four years ago, Jenkins worked as executive director of secondary and charter schools and as principal of the high school in Beloit, Wis.

Jenkins has a doctorate of philosophy in educational leadership from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Langenfeld left her post as associate superintendent for middle schools in Anoka-Hennepin in 2011 to become superintendent in Green Bay, Wis. Before becoming an associate superintendent in District 11, Langenfeld worked as principal of Coon Rapids and Sandburg middle schools for a total of eight years.

Langenfeld earned a doctorate in policy and administration from the University of Minnesota.

At press time, the board had not announced which two or three candidates it would invite to return for final interviews, which include touring schools, attending question-and-answer sessions with district employees and the wider community, as well as sitting in for final hour-long interviews with the school board.

Question-and-answer sessions are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 18-20, from 5:30-6:15 p.m. each day. The school board interviews will be conducted from 8-9 p.m. on those same dates and will be open to the public.

The board expects to make a final decision by the Feb. 24 board meeting. Then a contract can be drawn up and signed in March.

The new superintendent will begin his or her duties in July on Dennis Carlson’s retirement.

Carlson has served Anoka-Hennepin as superintendent for five years.

For more detailed information about the candidates and continued updates, visit www.anoka.k12.mn.us/suptsearch.

Olivia Koester is at [email protected]