L-O district offers pending interim superintendent contract to Butterfield-Odin superintendent

Published 9:05 am Friday, August 16, 2019

With the beginning of the school year approaching, LeRoy-Ostrander may have caught a break in their search for a new administrator to run the school district.

Ray Arsenault

The L-O School Board held interviews for three candidates to take over the interim superintendent position on Wednesday afternoon. It was formerly filled by interim superintendent Jerry Reshetar, who resigned late last month after expressing his frustrations on the apparent inability to work with some school board members.

Angie Olson, L-O school board member, shared that the interviews “went well” and that an offer was given to one candidate on Thursday morning.

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“We interviewed three and offered one the job this morning,” Olson said. “He accepted and will be on the agenda for approval at our regular meeting next Tuesday.”

The candidate offered the position is Ray Arsenault, who currently serves as superintendent of the Butterfield-Odin Public School District in Butterfield, Minnesota.

Arsenault is originally from Burnsville, Minnesota, and started his teaching career in St. Paul at a private high school, according to The Mankato Free Press. He spent two decades as a teacher and coach of multiple sports teams at Waterville-Elysian-Morristown High School while obtaining a master’s degrees in history and education leadership at Minnesota State University.

He also spent more than a decade in New Mexico as the assistant principal and eventually superintendent, where he managed the state’s fifth-largest district. Arsenault returned to Minnesota and led a STEM-focused charter school and served as a substitute teacher in Rochester Public Schools while obtaining his state superintendent’s license.

The Free Press also noted Arsenault was fluent in Spanish and received awards in New Mexico for improving minority student standardized test scores.

When asked what made Arsenault stand out as the right person to take the reins over in L-O, Olson mentioned that, “he has other past experience working with stressed school districts.”

L-O district was embroiled in controversy after the alleged mishandling of an investigation against Principal Aaron Hungerholt and teacher Trevor Carrier, which eventually stripped them of their coaching privileges.

This situation prompted public outcry and resulted in parents, students and staff members demanding to have then-superintendent Jeff Sampson resign from the position and to end the shared-superintendent agreement between L-O and Southland Schools. The coaches were eventually reinstated. Reasonings behind the investigations were never publicly mentioned or revealed.

Reshetar was brought on in January to help the district heal and improve the culture and relations within the community. He also intended to help with finding a permanent successor once he felt that L-O district was able to move forward.

However, Reshetar shared with the school board in a letter written in April that he needed to be supported by leadership in order to fulfill what he was originally hired to do and warned that, without that support, the district would need to find another superintendent if they were reluctant to allow changes that held staff members accountable and improve the climate in school.

After a July school board meeting where his recommendations for rehiring the athletics and community education director were shot down by the majority of the board in a 5-2 vote, Reshetar expressed that the duty of the school officials were to hold staff members accountable.

He resigned a couple weeks later.