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Willert named as Brainerd's next superintendent

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Marshall Public Schools Superintendent Klint Willert was selected Wednesday to be Brainerd’s next superintendent.

The Brainerd School Board voted unanimously to enter into contract negotiations with Willert to replace Brainerd School Superintendent Steve Razidlo. Razidlo announced his resignation effective at the end of the school year. He accepted a three-year contract as superintendent at The American International School in Vienna, Austria.

Board Chair Ruth Nelson said Willert has the leadership to take the Brainerd School District to the next level. Board Member Bob Nystrom said he strongly supports Willert, that Willert has the experience and is always ahead of the curve.

“I was impressed with him from the get go,” said Board member Reed Campbell. “He fits right in and he will be a good leader.”

Board Member Sue Kern said she likes that Willert started out as a teacher and that he is personable, approachable and he can make difficult decisions.

“I also like that the board chair wrote on his resume letter that he is a strong family man with high morals and strong character,” said Kern.

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

“He is a right fit for us,” said Board member Chris Robinson.

The board did the final interviews with the three finalists Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Willert’s day-long interview was Wednesday. When his final interview was done, officials asked him to stick around for awhile to check out Tornstrom Auditorium.

Board members wrote down their top candidate on a yellow sheet of paper and then School Exec Connect consultants collected the sheets, tallied them and learned that the unofficial vote was unanimous for Willert.

When the board agreed and voted to offer the position to Willert, Nelson went into the hallway and told Willert the news. They then came back into the board room.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity,” Willert said. “I look forward to the negotiation process. You have a great deal to be proud of here.”

Willert then shook hands with all the board members.

The next step is to negotiate a contract with Willert. If a contract is finalized and he accepts it, the board will vote on the contract on April 22. The new superintendent position begins July 1.

The other two finalists interviewed were Deidre Wells, superintendent of Inver Grove Heights Community Schools; and Ron Wilke, superintendent at La Crescent-Hokah Public Schools. Each candidate spent a day with staff, students and the community before their final interview at night. Wells was in Brainerd Monday and Wilke was in Brainerd on Tuesday.

School Exec Connect headed the search for Razidlo’s replacement. The consultants narrowed the list of applicants from Minnesota, Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, North Dakota and Illinois down to seven candidates who were interviewed by the board for the superintendent position. Last week, the board named the top three finalists.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow on Twitter at