LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Lester Prairie School Board hired Michael Lee as the district’s k-12 principal during a special meeting Aug. 10.
The vote approving Lee was 5-1, with board members Corbey Hentges, Steve Ziermann, Mary Otto, Rebecca Heimerl, and Meganne Stifter-Knoll in favor, and Board Member Marc Sebora opposed.
Superintendent Jeremy Schmidt said after the meeting Sebora had questioned the interview process, as well as Lee’s availability for principal duties if he was also coaching.
Schmidt noted he coaches, as did former principal Nat Boyer. Schmidt said he is willing to step down from coaching if this is a concern for the board.
The district received 28 applications for the principal position.
Of the four finalists who were interviewed, all but Lee had principal or assistant principal experience, Schmidt noted.
He said the hiring committee liked the fact that one of the things Lee talked about during the interview was the importance of meeting the needs of every student. The board also liked the fact that a priority for Lee will be bringing all staff members together.
The hiring committee included Schmidt, Hentges, Stifter-Knoll, Ziermann, Christine Mattson (counselor), Alice Daak (business manager), and Andrew Weber (teacher).
Schmidt said all four candidates interviewed were good candidates.
Lee has been a physical education teacher in the Waconia School District since 1999. Prior to that, he worked three years for Royalton Public Schools.
Schmidt said Lee is a Lester Prairie resident, and is very involved in the community.
“I’m really excited to have him on board,” Schmidt said. “It’s nice to have someone who already has a relationship with some of our teachers.”
In addition to his responsibilities as principal, Lee will serve as assistant cross country coach and head girls’ basketball coach, according to Schmidt.
Lee started his duties Aug. 10, after the board approved the hire.
One of the first things Lee worked on was helping with the process of hiring a new activities director/dean of students (AD/DOS).
Schmidt said the school board will consider approval of Jeremiah Kramer for the position during its Monday, Aug. 20 meeting.
From April to August, the board received a total of 66 applications for the AD/DOS position, Schmidt said. This includes multiple postings due to Trent Sukalski resigning after less than two months with the district.