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Razidlo to leave Brainerd schools, take post in Austria

Brainerd Superintendent Steve Razidlo will leave the school district at the end of the year. He accepted a three-year contract as superintendent at The American International School in Vienna, Austria.

Razidlo made the announcement Monday at a school board meeting. His last day in Brainerd will be June 30.

“I hoped if the day came to leave (Brainerd), that it would be for something that might be an exceptional opportunity,” Razidlo said. “This is that opportunity.”

Razidlo has been with the Brainerd School District for 17 years, the last six as superintendent.

It’s an emotional decision for Razidlo, who held back tears during the announcement.

“It wouldn’t hurt to leave if I didn’t care about (Brainerd) a great deal,” he said.

The idea of an overseas position started stirring around for Razidlo after fellow teachers took a leave of absence to work abroad.

“I listened to those stories of their finding great opportunities for professional and personal enrichment,” he said. “They came back a changed person.”

Razidlo learned of the opportunity at Austria’s American International School this past summer and applied in late September.

“I was fortunate to have been given an offer to go and try a new role,” he said.

Newly-elected School Board Chair Ruth Nelson said Razidlo will be greatly missed.

Board Vice Chair Bob Nystrom added that it is “hard to see (Razidlo) go.”

There was no challenge too big for Razidlo, Nystrom said.

“We’ll be lucky to get someone close to you,” Nystrom said of Razidlo.

There’s no telling how long the search for a new superintendant will take. School board members must first decide what type of search to hold and their next steps moving forward.

Razidlo is confident the board will find a great replacement.

“This is a place and community that people want to be a part of,” he said.

But Razidlo isn’t packing his bags yet. He has a lot of work he wants to finish before he goes.

“I’m doing all I can to try and finish the work and initiatives here. There are ongoing projects that I feel tightly bonded to,” he said.

There’s no picking out his proudest contribution. Instead, Razidlo says he feels lucky to have been associated with the Brainerd School District for so long.

“There’s an overall effect of being around people who, at their core, want to always get better and want what’s best for kids. That’s the hallmark of this district,” he said. “They are about opportunity and successes and innovations. That’s really who the people working in district and on the board are.”

JESSICA LARSEN, staff writer, may be reached at or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at