Through the month of January, the Tri-City United School Board will be down to six members following the resignation of Michelle Borchardt.

Currently serving as the clerk on the TCU School Board, Borchardt announced her resignation at the Nov. 8 meeting. Borchardt is in the third year of her second term on the board. Her last meeting will be Dec. 13.

Borchardt said her family bought a house outside of the school district, so she can no longer serve on the board.

“I’m going to miss it. I really have enjoyed my time here, and I said when I ran I wanted to be a part of a district that’s a district of choice,” said Borchardt. “I think in a lot of ways, we’ve done that in the last few years. This is an amazing district with amazing teachers and professionals that do a lot more for our kids than I ever knew.”

The district is currently exploring two options to fill Borchardt’s seat. The School Board could recruit and appoint a replacement, or it could open an application process to the general public. The appointed board member would start Feb. 14 and fill in for Borchardt until the end of her term on Dec. 31, 2022.

An open application process could reach more candidates and set a level playing field, but it would also take more time than a direct appointment. Several board members openly raised concerns that there may not be enough interest in the position at this time, given the level of scrutiny on school boards.

Board Chair Marsha Franek recommended the board make a decision on how to proceed at its upcoming November work session.

Borchardt’s absence means there will only be six board members when hiring a new superintendent. No matter which recruiting process the district chooses, the appointed party must wait 30 days to be seated, said Franek. The earliest the School Board could appoint a new member is Dec. 27, so they would be unavailable for most of the hiring process.

Current Superintendent Lonnie Seifert announced his retirement Sept. 27 and will exit the district June 30, 2022. Seifert started his tenure July 1, 2020. He told the board on the same day as his superintendent evaluation that he was retiring after 36 years in education.

The board adopted a timeline Nov. 16 and surveyed community stakeholders. The board will approve hiring criteria for the position Nov. 22 and produce a vacancy brochure.

From Nov. 24 through Jan. 5, the Minnesota School Board Association, which is working with the School Board, will advertise for the superintendent opening and receive applications. Between Jan. 6 and Jan. 24, MSBA will conduct a screening process, verify candidate references and conduct preliminary interviews with recommended applicants. Candidates are then reviewed by the board. Finalists will be selected Jan. 24.

The finalists will be interviewed before the School Board between Jan. 26 and Jan. 28. Then, on Jan. 31, the board will conduct a second round of interviews before selecting a lone finalist for the position. Employment negotiations would start Feb. 1 and the selected superintendent would begin their tenure on July 1.

Reach Reporter Carson Hughes at 507-931-8575. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All Rights Reserved.

Recommended for you

Load comments