Anoka-Hennepin School Board selects David Law as new superintendent

The Anoka-Hennepin School Board has chosen David Law to take the helm of the state’s largest school district when current Superintendent Dennis Carlson retires at the end of June.

Law currently works as assistant superintendent in the White Bear Lake Area School District.

David Law
David Law

The board and Law will now begin negotiations.

“We are pleased to have selected a new superintendent who is talented, passionate about doing what’s best for students and excited to return to Anoka-Hennepin School District,” said School Board Chairman Tom Heidemann in a press release from the district. “We believe David Law will do a great job for our schools and our community and we are eager to work with him.”

Law was one of three candidates who participated in final interviews this week. The board interviewed Jeff McGonigal, associate superintendent for high schools in District 11, and Michelle Langenfeld, current superintendent in Green Bay, Wis., earlier in the week. The board interviewed Law and made its selection Feb. 20.

“It was nerve-racking,” Law said of the interview process, which was quite involved. The three candidates each spent a day in the district, touring schools, attending question-and-answer sessions with various groups and participating in a final hour-long interview with the board.

Law has a long history with the district. He was a student at Sorteberg Elementary School and Northdale Middle School before graduating from Coon Rapids High School. From there, he went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in math from Hamline University in St. Paul and his doctor of law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. He has his superintendent’s license from the University of Minnesota.

He couldn’t stay away from District 11. After teaching for a year in California, he returned to his alma mater, Coon Rapids High School, to teach math. Later, he served 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. 

“It was a dream job for me to be able to come back,” Law said of his decision to apply for the superintendent position in Anoka-Hennepin. He has aspired to be a superintendent for some time.

Familiar faces surrounded Law when he visited Champlin schools during his day-long interview Feb. 20.

He knew all of the principals from his time in the district. He worked as an assistant principal with Champlin-Brooklyn Park Academy Principal Brian Mann at Sandburg. He and the Jackson Middle School Principal Thomas Hagerty were hired as math teachers in the district at the same time, back in 1992. Champlin Park High School Principal Michael George played on the football team Law coached in Coon Rapids.

“It just felt like home,” Law said.

Law lives in Andover, and his three sons attend school in the district. His two elder boys attend Oak View Middle School, and his youngest is a third-grade student at Crooked Lake Elementary School.

Looking forward, Law sees maintaining all of Anoka-Hennepin’s achievements and good work in the midst of budget cuts as the district’s biggest challenge. Staff and community members brought forward those concerns in the question-and-answer sessions, he said. He shares them. He doesn’t want to see sometimes necessary cuts affect student achievement.

When Law starts work in July, everything will be ready to go for the 2014-2015 school year, he said. His focus will be on making the leadership transition as smooth as possible.

“My job is to make sure that I’m supporting people,” he said.

Olivia Koester is at [email protected]