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Our Opinion: Hahn is a good choice for superintendent

Hahn will represent the students, faculty, employees, administration and residents of Brainerd Public Schools well.

Brainerd Dispatch editorial
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Congratulations are in order for Heidi Hahn on being selected as the next superintendent of Brainerd Public Schools.

The Brainerd School Board selected Hahn, the current assistant superintendent in the district, April 14 to replace retiring Superintendent Laine Larson on July 1.

Hahn has been working in the Brainerd School District for 26 years. Her other positions include being a counselor and special education teacher, as well as serving as assistant director and director of special education at the Paul Bunyan Education Cooperative.

She has a difficult road ahead navigating declining enrollment and finances but we’re certain Hahn, with her years of familiarity with the school district and the communities it serves, is more than up to the job.

The decision to offer the position to Hahn itself appeared to be a challenge, featuring a spirited, lengthy debate among board members making their cases for their preferred choices.

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The school board for several hours was deadlocked with board members Sarah Speer, Charles Black Lance and Jana Shogren preferring Hahn and board members Mark Haglin, Ruth Nelson and Kevin Boyles preferring the other finalist for the position, Eric Schneider.

Ultimately, Nelson broke the 3-3 tie Thursday night, changing her vote from Schneider to Hahn. Hahn, in turn, accepted the position Monday, April 18.

We’re sure the board members were frustrated with three-plus hours of deliberating and tie votes for candidates but they shouldn’t be. Each of them was elected or appointed to vote in a manner they best thought represented to taxpayers in the Brainerd School District. And that’s what they did.

For any elected board there should be no expectation — from themselves or the people they represent — of unanimous decisions and we appreciate the fact each board member had an open discussion about their thought process behind the candidates.

Ultimately the Brainerd School Board came to a majority decision — the right decision — and now should move on putting its full support behind its new superintendent. Based on comments board members after Hahn accepted the position, that’s exactly what they intend to do, and we appreciate that.

While we’re on the subject, perhaps now would be the time for the Brainerd School Board — or any number of boards across the state of Minnesota with a similar configuration — to consider adding a seventh member. An odd number would make the case for ties in board voting much less likely.

But all that can be hashed out another day. For now, we want to reiterate our support and congratulations for Hahn. We know she will represent the students, faculty, employees, administration and residents of Brainerd Public Schools well.

The Brainerd Dispatch Editorial Board members are Dispatch and Echo Journal Publisher Pete Mohs, former Dispatch Publisher Terry McCollough, Dispatch Editor Matt Erickson, Dispatch Managing Editor Renee Richardson and Echo Journal Editor Nancy Vogt.
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