01STOCK_MILTONSCHOOLS01

MILTON

The Milton School Board will interview two finalists next week for the district’s interim superintendent position.

Richard Dahman, superintendent of Winona Area Public Schools in Minnesota, and Connie Valenza, superintendent of the Platteville School District, are the two finalists, according to a news release.

The district is hiring an interim superintendent to fill in after Superintendent Tim Schigur and Director of Administrative Operations Jerry Schuetz resign June 30.

The search for a full-time superintendent will begin in November or December.

Dahman has been superintendent of Winona Area Public Schools since 2017. He was superintendent of Medford Public Schools in Medford, Minnesota, from 2013 to 2017, according to his resume.

He received a master’s degree in educational leadership from Mankato State University in 1997.

Dahman announced in February he planned to retire from the Winona school district in June, according to the Winona Daily News.

Valenza has served as Platteville’s superintendent since 2011. It is the only superintendent job she has held, according to her resume.

She previously worked as a principal at Columbus High School in Columbus and Cherokee Heights Middle School in Madison. Valenza has a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from UW-Madison.

The Platteville superintendent announced in fall that she planned to retire at the end of the school year, according to the Telegraph Herald.

Milton School Board President Joe Martin told The Gazette that interviews will be conducted Monday and that the board hopes to hire someone “as soon as possible.”

The interim superintendent’s start date will depend on which candidate is chosen, Martin said.

The board’s human resources committee met with administrative staff Thursday to pare down the list of candidates, according to the release.

Milton School Board members said they hoped to hire an interim superintendent with experience overseeing referendum projects. The district this summer begins working on projects funded by the $59.9 million referendum voters approved in April.

In Winona, Dahman oversaw school closures, nearly $2 million in budget cuts and the passage of a $9.4 million facilities referendum in 2018 after voters rejected a referendum the year before, according to the Winona Daily News.

Platteville voters in 2015 approved a $15 million facilities referendum for projects in all district schools.

Those projects were completed under Valenza’s leadership, according to the Telegraph Herald.

At Monday’s school board meeting, human resources committee Chairman Tom Westrick said the board had compiled a list of eight candidates, which it narrowed based on conversations in recent closed-session meetings.

Westrick said Monday the board would not release its list of candidates because some of them are working and might not have told their employers they are looking for jobs.

The Gazette emailed board members Tuesday asking them to announce the finalists.

State open-records laws mandate open access to the names of all final candidates for public positions when five or fewer candidates are being considered.

The board got free help crafting its candidate list from the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators. The organization keeps a list of people—mostly retired superintendents—who are willing to work in an interim capacity.

Martin said Monday “two or three” of the eight candidates reached out to the district with interest in the interim spot and were not on the association’s list.

Neither Dahman or Valenza were on the association’s interim list, which is provided on its website.

“The number of highly-qualified candidates interested in the position demonstrates that the School District of Milton is a great district where people want to come and serve our students and families,” Martin said in the release.

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