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New superintendent of Brainerd Schools Klint Willert smiles Friday in his office at the Washington Educational Services Building. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

New superintendent takes post at Brainerd

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Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

There's a new face leading the Brainerd School District.

Klint Willert recently came on board as the superintendent. He comes from Marshall Public Schools, where he served in the same post.

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Willert replaces former superintendent Steve Razidlo, who accepted a three-year contract as superintendent at The American International School in Vienna, Austria.

On Friday, just a few days into his new position, Willert was thrown into a mix of meetings, information sessions and met a slew of people he will be working with as he continues down the path of growing the district.

Even with a tight schedule, Willert wasn't phased. His spoke in an upbeat tone as he quickly shuffled off to the next appointment.

He's eager to greet passersby while a big smile and strong handshake. He'll ask where you're from, what brought you to the Brainerd lakes area.

It's all part of finding out where people are coming from in life, he says. It helps him get to know them better.

Willert sees every interaction as a way to build and develop relationships.

"Once you build those connections, you can get a lot done," he said.

Willert was chosen by the Brainerd School Board because of his experience and ability to move the district forward.

At the April meeting when Willert was chosen, School Board Chair Ruth Nelson said Willert has the leadership to take the Brainerd School District to the next level.

Board Member Tom Haglin said he liked Willert's approach as a leader and how he continuously wants to make improvements.

"He is a right fit for us," Board member Chris Robinson said at the April meeting.

Willert is in the process of moving to Brainerd with his wife and two children, a seventh grader and a 10th grader.

"I'm impressed with the level of commitment and dedication," he said. "I was in an administrative meeting (Friday) and I really saw the dedicated people who make this district what it is."

It's the "strong sense of pride" in the district that first caught Willert's eye.

He has a lot of hopes for his new home district. First, though, he wants to hear from the people.

"It's important their voices are heard," he said. "We all have a vested interest in the success of the school. We all need our voices heard."

Willert wants to study the district's history more in depth and learn more about the culture.

"If we better understand our past, we can look forward to the future," he said.

He wants to take a hard look at where the district can improve.

"We need to look at what to do to move forward with individual instruction and learning," he said. "It's beyond the four walls of the school building."

Willert wants to make sure the district is prepared for potential future growth as the population in the Brainerd lakes area balloons.

It's the future that inspires Willert in his efforts to move the Brainerd School District forward. And he'll continue on that upward path, one firm handshake and chipper "hello" at a time.

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Jessie Perrine
Jessie covers the Brainerd City Council and the Brainerd School Board. Born and raised in southern Minnesota, Jessie attended Winona State University, where she majored in journalism with a minor in women and gender studies. She worked at the Winona Daily News, Tomah Journal and the La Crosse Tribune before starting at the Dispatch in 2012.
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