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Brainerd Superintendent Willert, accepts Brookings job offer

Klint Willert has accepted a job offer to serve as the superintendent for the Brookings School District for the 2015-16 school year. A release from the district stated Willert will take over his new position July 1. He goes to Brookings having se...

Klint Willert has accepted a job offer to serve as the superintendent for the Brookings School District for the 2015-16 school year.

A release from the district stated Willert will take over his new position July 1. He goes to Brookings having served as superintendent for Brainerd Public Schools since July of 2014.

Brookings School Board member Larry Rogers told the Brainerd Dispatch Friday afternoon Willert verbally accepted the job offer and both sides were negotiating contract details before the board formalizes the decision at its Monday meeting. Brian Lueders, business manager for the district, also said Willert had been offered and accepted the job offer, and would be formally accepted at Monday's meeting.

Willert stood out from the pool of candidates the board reviewed, Rogers said.

"He is the strongest superintendent candidate I have seen," Rogers said.

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Brainerd School Board member Bob Nystrom said Friday the board can't take any formal action on finding a replacement until Willert submits his resignation. Once that happens, the board will immediately schedule a committee meeting to start the search for a replacement.

Willert's leaving puts the board in the difficult position of finding a replacement superintendent a year after they conducted a search, Nystrom said.

"I'm very disappointed he only lasted for a year when he signed a three-year contract," Nystrom said. "I personally thought he would stay for three years. It caught us off guard."

Brainerd School Board member Reed Campbell said he was "sorry" Willert's stay at Brainerd only lasted a year, but the board would have to move on and find a new candidate.

"It sounds like his heart was pulling him back that way and we hate to lose him," Campbell said.

Willert also was one of two finalists for Willmar School District superintendent. After a final round of interviews, the Willmar School Board offered the position to him earlier this week. Willmar board members were aware that Willert was also under consideration by the Brookings district and were awaiting his response.

Willert could not be reached for comment Friday.

Willert previously told the Dispatch a relocation would allow him to care for parents. Prior to being hired in Brainerd Willert was superintendent in Marshall from 2004 to 2014. He has also worked as a teacher, principal, school counselor and superintendent at schools in Montana, South Dakota and Iowa. He has a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas. He holds a Minnesota superintendent license.

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The West Central Tribune contributed to this story.

SPENSER BICKETT may be reached at 855-5859 or spenser.bickett@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/spenserbickett .

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