by NATHANIEL NELSON and SARAH SQUIRES
Winona Area Public Schools (WAPS) Superintendent Rich Dahman announced during Thursday's School Board meeting he would retire in June after less than two years into his three-year contract.
"During my 34 years in Minnesota public education, I've greatly enjoyed my roles as coach, teacher, principal and superintendent," he said in an email to district employees. "I'm fortunate to have worked with many talented and dedicated administrators, teachers and staff members, both here in Winona and in previous districts." Later, to the School Board on Thursday, "I was debating whether to retire at this point, but I decided over the past week or so that that is the step I'm going to take."
The board unanimously opted to begin a search for a new leader, with new board chair Nancy Denzer urging the board not to hesitate. I believe the search should include a "net to be cast as widely as possible," board member Steve Schild commentated.
Dahman helped deliver a $10-million referendum for building improvements passed on last year's ballot and which are currently underway. He previously hailed from Medford Public Schools as its superintendent for four years.
WAPS has for years has dealt with a changing of the guard in its top executive position.
Dahman was hired with a 5-2 vote in March 2017, following the abrupt resignation of former superintendent Stephen West, who left after accusations that he plagiarized his doctoral thesis and after Saint Mary's University, where he'd reportedly previously earned that doctoral degree, announced he was no longer a doctor in education. West quit after just two years at the helm of the district. Longtime district administrator and teacher Scott Hannon held the post prior, first as interim superintendent after former administrator Paul Durand was denied a new contract by split vote in 2010, then as his permanent replacement.
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