At a special meeting on April 11, the Osseo School Board chose to pursue hiring an interim superintendent, having been unable to reach a strong level of supt search websupport for any of the finalists that had been interviewed.

Board members approved a motion to halt any future search activity by the search firm, Ray and Associates, pending further direction, and to authorize the board chair and vice chair to work with the executive director of human resources on behalf of the board to identify candidates for consideration as interim superintendent.

The current search process has been underway since last fall when the board hired a search firm to lead a national search for candidates. Twenty-eight people applied for the Osseo position; six were selected for the first round of interviews but two withdrew prior to the interviews. Three of the four finalists interviewed in the first round were advanced to final interviews, but one of them withdrew from consideration prior to final interviews.

The two finalists interviewed on April 10 were Dr. Erick Pruitt (Houston ISD, Texas) and Mr. James Harris (Daniel Boone Area School District, Pennsylvania). Board members received significant feedback on each finalist’s interview and public presentation, and board members determined that they needed more time to consider the feedback received and reflect on what they had heard in the interviews/presentations.

At the April 11 meeting, neither finalist received sufficient support to receive an employment offer.

Chair Mike Ostaffe recognized the months of work by board members and the significant staff and community feedback on the finalists. “A new superintendent deserves strong support from all board members. It’s important that we now take some time to work with our consultant and staff to come up with a plan to move forward. Hiring an interim superintendent will help ensure that we can do that work within the stable climate that our staff and families deserve.”

Board meetings are open to the public and are webstreamed and live cablecast on Channel 21; meeting recordings are archived on the district website.

rush creek destination imagination studentsWith the Destination Imagination (DI) regional tournaments in the books, several teams of elementary, middle and high school students from Osseo Area Schools punched their tickets to compete at the Minnesota State DI Tournament this April.

Teams competing at regional events worked since the beginning of November on their “central challenge solution.” These challenges are implemented by DI and encompass STEM, improvisation, performing arts and visual arts skills. Each challenge is open-ended and enables student teams to learn and experience the creative process from imagination to innovation. Throughout the process, students also learn important skills like creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, citizenship and courage.

Teams moving on to the state tournament this weekend represent Rush Creek Elementary, Brooklyn Middle STEAM School, Maple Grove Middle School, Osseo Middle School, Maple Grove Senior High, and Osseo Senior High.

Rush Creek Elementary

All of Rush Creek’s DI teams will compete at the Minnesota State DI Tournament. Regional results include:

  • First place for Improvisation; team “The Six Smarties” (members: Isabel Bauerly, Emma Roach, Sydney Manning, Will Raymond, Makayla Elkins and Mady Nash)
  • Second place for Improvisation; team “DI Dragons” (Katherine Bearce, Wyatt Bjugstad, Kaitlyn Ganoe, Elsie Erickson, Mia Hellawell and Madelyn Good)
  • Third place for Scientific; team “Kool Kangaroos” (Livia Walseth, Leah Rimstad, Adrienne Pendergrass, Marissa Henning, Simone Roberts and Simona Roberts)

Additionally, team “D’Incredibles” did a service project in partnership with Lord of Life Lutheran Church where they produced and distributed 92 blessing bags for homeless individuals. Team members of “D’Incredibles” include Aarthi Loganathan, Addison Sorbel, Raegan Fritts, Mollie Finn and Isabella Stafford. All four Rush Creek teams are coached by Laura Thompson and Liz Botkin.

Brooklyn Middle STEAM School

Brooklyn Middle’s team—“4 - - Alpha”—competed at the Blaine DI Tournament on March 24. The team won first place in the Scientific Challenge category. Team members are Grace Seifert, Abby Battan, Anna Carstens and Katie Knox; they are coached by Ben Seifert and Nathan Battan.

Maple Grove Middle School

Regional results for Maple Grove Middle’s two DI teams include:

  • First place for Scientific; team “seluR atosenniM” (Eshwar Garlapati, Thomas Botkin, Brayden Kaiser, Cecilia De Oliveira, Kat Klopotek and Gautham Barani)
  • Third place for Improvisation; students Mark Stanley, Daniel McCleneghan, Samuel Whetstone, Seth Derusha, Ryan Ault, Isaiah Johnson-Arigu and Alex Campbell

Osseo Middle School

Three seventh-graders from Osseo Middle have advanced to state in the Fine Arts Challenge (Change of Tune). Students on this team (“They Didn’t Show Up”) are Mali Sargent, Emily Anose and Grace Marler; they are coached by Shannon Sinkel.

Maple Grove Senior High and Osseo Senior High

Placing first at regionals for Fine Arts, the “D’Ideas Keep on Comin’” team will make another appearance at the state tournament this year. Team members include James Pipkin, Jess Bray, Adamson Novak and Erin Besser; they are coached by Jody Kinneberg, Haley Travis-Eull, Lucas Pedersen, Julia Fromm and Liz Botkin. This team has served as a mentor to other Osseo teams and hosted an Instant Challenge workshop this winter to help younger DI students in the district work on their problem solving skills.

PHOTO: Four teams of students from Rush Creek Elementary have qualified for the Minnesota State Destination Imagination Tournament on April 14. View this Facebook album to see photos of all the Osseo DI teams moving on to state.