Bemidji Schools Superintendent Finalist Tim Lutz Speaks With Community
“If I were hired here – this how I look at it in Kelliher, I’m getting emotional here – but these are my kids. At Kelliher, they’re my kids, and I do whatever I can to make it better, and I’ll do that here too,” said Bemidji Schools superintendent finalist Tim Lutz while speaking with the community.
Lutz says he believes education is his life calling. He’s been the Kelliher schools superintendent for 10 years now. Before that, he was a school principal and even a school counselor. Now, he’s looking for a new challenge.
“One of the initiatives I would like to address right off hand is that of equity. Another one is cultural sensitivity to make sure every student is feeling welcomed and connected and safe, and of course, school safety is a major issue everywhere. School safety is on my mind quite often,” says Lutz.
Some topics that came up during Lutz’s community interview included how he would handle sexual misconduct issues, staff training, initiating elementary school programs, diversity and closing the achievement gap.
One community member said, “I have a concern that I’m kind of thinking about is the diversity issue and it sounds like you have experience working with Red Lake, especially with Red Lake students because you go to Kelliher.”
Lutz says, “Half of our students at Kelliher schools come from the Red Lake area, and we’re trying very hard to be a school that welcomes their culture and welcomes them to make sure that they feel like they are connected, and a lot of times, that involves recognizing their history, their language, their culture. We have had pow wows and honor dances and honor songs.”
When it comes to Bemidji schools, Lutz says he admires the different opportunities that are offered to students. One of his goals would be creating more.
“I’d also like to ensure that the wonderful programs that are here in the district can continue. This district has a tradition of strong arts and I would do everything I can to work with the budget to maintain those opportunities, either in arts or in other extracurricular activities,” says Lutz.
Tomorrow, the final superintendent candidate, Mike Kolness, will interview for the job. Community members are welcome to attend the interview, which starts at 5 in the afternoon in the Bemidji School District boardroom. The Bemidji School Board also plans to make their final decisions on the next superintendent later that night.