Reshetar to take reins of LeRoy-Ostrander district as interim superintendent

Published 11:11 am Saturday, January 5, 2019

Jerry Reshetar assumed the role of interim superintendent of LeRoy-Ostrander Public Schools and started his first day in the district on Friday.

The L-O School Board approved the temporary appointment of Reshetar on Thursday night, after being approached by Principal Aaron Hungerholt and the interviewing committee. This marked the end of the superintendent sharing agreement between L-O and Southland Schools and the end of Superintendent Jeff Sampson’s contract in LeRoy.

“I was asked if I would assist them as they’re part of our consortium of seven schools, and I said ‘yes, I can certainly help,’” Reshetar said over the phone on Friday morning. “They contacted other superintendents in the consortium and last night, they asked me to come to their meeting to confirm the appointment.”

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With more than four decades of experience in education, Reshetar previously served as superintendent for Grand Meadow School and currently serves as Glenville-Emmons superintendent.

He also had a lengthy military career after retiring from the U.S. Army in May 2008 after 39 years of service.

Although there is no contract or sharing agreement because this is a temporary arrangement, Reshetar will be spending Mondays and Wednesdays at Glenville-Emmons and work in LeRoy-Ostrander on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for an undefined period of time.

However, this time working in the LeRoy-Ostrander district won’t be for just administrative purposes, Reshetar said. He wants to help rebuild the relationship in the community and with the school district.

“I have two goals, the first to facilitate the school board, staff, and community to change the climate,” Reshetar said. “It has been very negative over the last couple months, and I want to take appropriate steps to change the climate. The next goal would be to find their next superintendent.”

After the wake of controversy that ran through the LeRoy-Ostrander School District regarding an investigation of Principal Aaron Hungerholt and fifth grade teacher Trevor Carrier that resulted in the suspension of their coaching contracts, the community of LeRoy-Ostrander had publicly decried the handling of the situation and signed petitions to relieve Superintendent Jeff Sampson from his duties in the L-O district, as well as calling for L-O School Board chairman Justin Kennedy to resign.

The exact cause for the investigation has remained unknown to the general public, with officials explaining that Minnesota Data Privacy Laws were what prohibited them from speaking about any details regarding the case.

Since the interim superintendent was appointed, the superintendent sharing agreement has ended. Sampson no longer acts as superintendent for L-O and currently only serves the Southland School District now that Reshetar was selected as the interim superintendent.

While it’s unknown as to how long Reshetar will serve LeRoy-Ostrander, he emphasized that he wanted to make his time with the district about healing, and that would be his main priority.

“We need to work on that first goal and facilitate changing the climate,” he said. “Once we get that turned around, then we can talk about a new superintendent. We need to emphasize leadership behaviors for myself, to the school board, staff, parents and place emphasis on respect and on information sharing and integrity. That is the key piece for any school board when it comes time to make decisions on what is best for all students in the long term. If you can do that, then you can make good decisions.”

For Reshetar, the key attributes for the ideal candidate for the permanent role as superintendent in LeRoy-Ostrander would need to display leadership skills, communication skills, integrity and honesty and the ability to work with multiple people.

“Hopefully, we can find that right person to facilitate the change in climate here, and put back in place of someone of high quality,” he added. “I think they’re gonna go just fine. I emphasized that there’s so much good here. There’s a lot of good in our rural schools, and I don’t want them to lose sight of the good, despite what happened here. I hope we can successfully change our climate and things will work out just fine.”

Now that the temporary appointment was settled, Reshetar expressed that it was time for LeRoy-Ostrander to heal and to move forward together in rebuilding the relationship between the district and the community.

“The board, staff and community have access to me, and if they need to see me, they can come see me,” he said. “It’s time to heal and that takes time. We need to go through that process. Once that’s done, we need to let go of what happened in the past, and focus on our future.”