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Anoka-Hennepin school board picks retired Osseo schools leader as interim superintendent

14 June 2022

The Anoka-Hennepin School District has found its interim superintendent.

The school board on Tuesday voted 5-1 to offer retired Osseo Superintendent Katherine Maguire the job of leading Minnesota’s largest district as it searches for a permanent replacement for David Law, who departs for Minnetonka public schools at the end of this month.

Maguire was one of three candidates who applied for the interim position. The board interviewed all of them during a pair of public meetings earlier this week and offered Maguire the job Tuesday evening.

Maguire will now begin contract negotiations for the one-year position. In his last year as Anoka-Hennepin superintendent, Law earned $234,800.

Board members said they were drawn by Maguire’s enthusiasm during her interview.

“She re-energized me,” board chair Marci Anderson said.

Board member Kacy Deschene said she appreciated how Maguire’s answers prioritized equitable outcomes for all the district’s students.

Maguire worked in the Osseo district for more than three decades — about half of that time in one of its top two administrative positions. She was assistant superintendent for six years and superintendent for eight.

Maguire, who retired as Osseo superintendent in 2018, played up her collaborative approach to problem-solving and praised the Anoka-Hennepin district’s administrative cabinet during her interview.

She told board members that she regularly sought input from principals and teachers on new initiatives, emphasizing the role building leaders play in executing those plans.

“We need to set high expectations for our staff members, and I believe in providing a high level of support,” Maguire said.

She rose through the ranks of Minnesota’s fifth-largest district over the course of 33 years and spent eight of them as its top administrator. Osseo has about 20,000 students. Anoka-Hennepin has about 37,000.

In order to tackle pandemic learning losses, Maguire said she would stick to the plan Law and his administrative cabinet set forth. Law’s proposed budget for past year provides for reading coaches in elementary schools and for both teachers and principals to go through a two-year literacy training that both DFLers and Republicans at one time pledged to fund with state surplus dollars.

The other two candidates are also longtime administrators with experience in Minnesota schools.

Michelle Langenfeld retired as superintendent of Green Bay Area Public Schools in 2020 after nine years there. The district of about 20,000 students is Wisconsin’s third-largest.

Prior to that, Langenfeld was the assistant superintendent at Anoka-Hennepin. In 2014, she was among the finalists for the then-vacant superintendent position, but the board chose Law. Langenfeld now works as a mental health consultant for the district.

Mark Bezek was the superintendent of the School District of Somerset in Wisconsin, which enrolls about 1,500 students just east of the state’s border with Minnesota.

Law is officially set to take over in Minnetonka on July 1, but he’s been meeting with district staff there and planning for the coming school year, Anoka-Hennepin spokesperson Jim Skelly said. Law will also spend a few weeks helping his temporary successor get situated.

Although Maguire’s contract will only last through the end of the 2022-23 school year, she may apply for the permanent superintendent job. The school board will choose the district’s new superintendent in December.

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