Storm damage minimal for Brainerd schools

Despite the drama of last Thursday's early morning storm, the Brainerd School District buildings and grounds sustained very little damage. Earl Wolleat, director of buildings and grounds, presented damage estimates totaling $7,995 at the Brainerd...

Despite the drama of last Thursday's early morning storm, the Brainerd School District buildings and grounds sustained very little damage.

Earl Wolleat, director of buildings and grounds, presented damage estimates totaling $7,995 at the Brainerd School Board's Monday meeting. The most significant damage, accounting for $7,000 of the overall estimate, was to the exterior of the Washington Educational Services Building. It appeared as though a tree swung into the building with enough force to knock some bricks loose, said Superintendent Klint Willert.

The other damage was minor in comparison, including a small roof leak at Washington, wind-driven water under some doors at both Riverview Elementary and Forestview Middle School and damage to an exterior light cover at Baxter Elementary.

Wolleat said he knew of trees down in the school forest, although those had not yet been tallied. Otherwise, just two trees on district campuses were damaged by the storm.

Wolleat also gave an update on the Safe Routes to School project at Garfield Elementary, where crews are aiming to place gravel on the streets this week to prepare for pavement. Weather permitting, paving is scheduled to begin next week.


Willert said Governor Mark Dayton and Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius will visit Brainerd schools on Thursday, Sept. 18. Dayton and Cassellius will go to Garfield, meeting staff members, visiting classrooms and sitting down with Willert.

"It's an opportunity to get a firsthand view of needs for infrastructure," Willert said of Dayton's visit.

In other business, the school board:

Accepted donations and grants totaling $13,574.84: $8,327 for Riverside Elementary from the Riverside PTO for field trips and playground equipment; $1,625 for Riverside from Action for Healthy Kids for school breakfasts; $622.44 for Baxter Elementary from Lifetouch for student activities; $500 for Nisswa Elementary from the American Legion Club for student activities; and $2,500 for Nisswa from James and Kristine Anderson for technology and instruction.

Approved the hiring of nine certified employees: Kimberly Doty, lead special education teacher at Forestview; Melissa Duffney, sixth grade language arts/social studies teacher at Forestview; Whitney Joyce, fourth grade teacher at Harrison; Carlie Kramer, kindergarten teacher at Garfield; Jeffrey Lee, EBD teacher at Lincoln Education Center; Magnus Nelson, agricultural teacher at Brainerd High School; Heather Neumann, ECFE teacher at Brainerd Learning Center; Vicki Smith, DHH teacher at Nisswa; and Daniel Wilhelm, seventh and eighth grade science teacher at Forestview.

Approved the hiring of three non-teaching employees: Maxine Fromm, LPN at Brainerd High School; Deisy Hebert, food service at Forestview; and Brittany Kraklau, food service at Brainerd High School.

Accepted the resignation of nine non-teaching employees: Brenda Alexander, EA, Lincoln Education Center; Shelia Fry, Food Service, Forestview; Daniel Johansen, EA, Forestview; Jacqueline Mitchell, EA, Riverside; Nicholas Nelson, EA, Harrison; Rasila Patel, EA, Brainerd Learning Center; Colleen Peterson, EA, Forestview; Debra Schneider, Food Service, Brainerd High School; and Jasman Watkins, EA, Forestview.

Approved the district's "World's Best Workforce Plan" in accordance with a state statute. The inaugural plan outlines the district's structure for addressing five goals determined by legislation: all students are ready for kindergarten, closing the identified achievement gap in the district, all students in third grade achieve grade level proficiency, all students attain career and college readiness before graduating from high school and all students graduate from high school.


Heard enrollment numbers for the district from the first week of school compared to last year at the same time. Steve Lund, director of business services, said there are 6,728 students in the district this year, two more students than the 2013-14 first week. Enrollment is down at the high school but up in the early grades, more so than the district anticipated.

Lund said enrollment numbers would be more reliable by October.

Heard that a career exploration day is scheduled Wednesday, Oct. 1, at Forestview Middle School. Through a partnership with the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, around 25 members of the community will share information and answer questions about their careers with middle school students.

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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