S.D. BROOKINGS – Klint Willert, the superintendent of the Brookings School District, announced his resignation to the Brookings School Board on Wednesday night. He will leave his position on June 2 of this year.
At Brookings, Willert had been in charge of his post for eight years. After holding an executive session, the school board unanimously accepted his resignation.
Throughout the meeting’s public comment period, Willert expressed his pride in the district’s accomplishments during his tenure in Brookings.
“While this resignation is unconventional, it is what is deemed concurrent with the current school board members’ goals for the district,” Willert said.
“That significant importance of the education of our learners is why I’ve committed myself, my family, and my life to the endeavors of the Brookings School District. This job and my work is more than a passion to me.”
The sudden resignation caused community members to wonder why Willert was leaving now.
“All of us property taxpayers are interested in what’s happening here. We need to know. I guess I have a real hard time thinking that you want to walk away from that.” district resident Jason Bowes said.
The Department of Education has placed the Brookings School District on provisional probation due to noncompliance with accreditation at the time of the resignation.
The agency discovered problems with the district that weren’t in compliance with certification during its evaluation of the community, which is done every five years.
The four unresolved issues that the Department of Education identified and the district’s strategy to address them were outlined in a letter to the public that Willert published.
Willert and School Board President Keli Books emphasized how minor the transgressions were and how one of the problems had already been resolved.
According to the Department of Education website, Brookings is one of three school districts under probation for accrediting compliance, along with Wall and Flandreau Indian.
Both believe that the remaining concerns will be resolved by the deadline of March 31 at the upcoming school board meeting on Monday.
“Some things that weren’t done on time needed to be uploaded to the state website.” Books said.
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“We’ve had conversations with [Secretary of Education Joseph Graves] and his staff assuring us that we are on the right path to having a plan of action, as well as addressing the concerns shared no later than March 31,” Willert said.
At that same board meeting, the Brookings School Board also adopted a motion to have Dakota Education Consulting oversee the district’s search for a new superintendent.
Tom Oster, the company’s CEO, entered the meeting and gave a brief overview of the company’s recommendations to the school board and how it would conduct a candidate search.
That position was advertised as of Thursday on the website of Dakota Education Consulting, and according to Oster, it will also be posted on the websites of other educator organizations.
If all goes according to plan, according to Oster, they will attempt to have school board candidate interviews by the end of April.
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