Bemidji Superintendent Finalist Rochelle Johnson Interviews With Community
“This is my home. This is my district. I’m invested in this district. I think I’ve got extensive training. I think I have extensive experience that I can bring to this district,” said Bemidji Schools superintendent candidate Rochelle Johnson during her interview with the community.
Johnson is no stranger to the Bemidji community. She’s a Bemidji State University alum who also taught in the district. Johnson has been the Cass-Lake Bena Schools superintendent for the past four years. She applied to the job in Bemidji because she says it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“My husband and I chose this community. We’re originally from Red Lake, and years ago we moved our family to this district. This has become our community of choice. We love the district. We love all of the things that we can do in this community,” says Johnson.
A number of topics came up during Johnson’s community interview today, including incorporating more Native programming, reducing class sizes, sexual education, and the importance of school safety.
“I know safety is a big issue, so we’ll take a look at the safety. The Bemidji school district has a new elementary school, and we need to take a look at that transition and what is the plan for that and how it’s going to impact students, how it’s going to impact families and how it’s going to impact staff,” says Johnson.
The Bemidji School Board sat quietly during the discussion to gauge how the community felt about the candidate.
One community member spoke out about Johnson during the interview by saying, “I would just like to say that as most of us know Bemidji is a really unique community. It’s the hub for the local towns and reservations, so I personally think you might be the key that Bemidji needs to kind of bring the local cultures together.”
If given the superintendent job, Johnson says a big goal of hers will be moving the district forward.
Johnson says, “I think that we’re going to continue to improve. We’re going to continue to improve in technology and curriculum, student achievement. We’re going to do everything we can to close those student achievement gaps. We’re going to increase student attendance. We want to become the district of choice for all those students.”
Tomorrow, superintendent finalist Tim Lutz will be in town for his interview, which starts at 5 in the afternoon in the Bemidji Schools district boardroom. The whole community is welcome to participate.