Superintendent Finalist Mike Kolness Meets With Community
After a long week of interviews, it was finally East Grand Forks superintendent Mike Kolness’s turn to make his plea on why he’d be best for the job in Bemidji.
“You look at Bemidji, and why wouldn’t you want to be here? The school system is very sound. You have a lot of very excellent things going on throughout the district and the community is extremely supportive, and you can just see that and you can feel that when you’re here,” says Kolness.
Kolness faced a series of tough questions during his interview including thoughts on his leadership style, closing the achievement gap and school safety.
“You’re very outspoken about budget and priorities and a lot of those, too. I felt your sense of passion when you talked about school safety, and I am also concerned about that as a parent,” said one community member during the interview.
“As far as school safety goes, I mean, it’s always number one. If kids don’t feel safe, it very difficult for them to learn, so we want to make sure we’re putting protocols in place as far as security cameras and secure entrances. Making sure our crisis plans are up to date and really to invest also in the mental health component, and making sure that we’re providing professional help for our staff as well as to help in those areas,” says Kolness.
Kolness also addressed his willingness to learn from those around him.
“I’m a visionary as far as I’m open to change. I’m looking to see where it works and where we can make improvements. Where are we strong? We want to build on our strengths, but we really want to figure out how we can try to make those areas of weakness an area of strength,” says Kolness.