Richard Dahman sees community support, academic success and strong extracurricular opportunities as strengths in the Milton School District.

That’s what he wants to focus on as interim superintendent, he said.

This is Dahman’s first week working as the interim superintendent for the Milton School District. He got his foot in the door last week by participating in staff training.

Dahman was signed to a one-year, $155,600 contract through May 2020. He was the superintendent of Winona Area Public Schools in Minnesota from 2017 until he retired in June. Before that, he was superintendent of Medford Public Schools in Medford, Minnesota, from 2013, according to his resumé.

The retired Minnesotan said he was interested in finding opportunities to help students after his retirement. He saw the opening in Milton and pursued it, Dahman said.

Interim superintendents have the opportunity to build on good things happening in the district and gather information from others on how to improve, Dahman said.

Dahman looks forward to listening to community members and staff about what they think could be better, he said.

“I’m going to really focus on being open with people and giving them opportunities to share thoughts and viewpoints,” Dahman said.

Dahman said he will have to learn more about the district before determining what needs to be improved.

When asked his thoughts about coming into a district with a recent history of turmoil and critics who do not trust the district, Dahman said he is willing to listen to people but had not yet heard anyone be concerned about transparency.

Milton School Board members said they hoped to find an interim superintendent with experience in overseeing referendum projects.

The Winona School District passed a referendum in November, and Dahman said he was involved in the planning process for projects before he retired.

This is Dahman’s first time living in Wisconsin.

He has taken up temporary residence in Madison, he said.

Educating kids is fundamentally the same in every state. There will be minor differences in state laws and policies between Minnesota and Wisconsin, he said, but Dahman did not express concern over the learning curve.

Dahman said he might consider applying to be the permanent superintendent but will wait to see how things go as interim before making a decision.

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