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Fargo superintendent gets unanimous thumbs-up in evaluation

Fargo School District Superintendent Jeff Schatz. (Forum File Photo)

FARGO - The Fargo School Board gave a unanimous thumbs-up to school district Superintendent Jeff Schatz, voting 9-0 Tuesday, Nov. 14, to approve a mostly positive evaluation of the district's top administrator.

The fall summative evaluation is one of two superintendent evaluations school board members are required to perform annually by state law. It must be finished and approved by Nov. 15.

If you think of it as a grade of Schatz's performance over the past year, he pretty much aced the test" by earning "satisfactory" ratings from the full board, said board President Jim Johnson.

"I think he's done a tremendous job of getting our staff focused" to help improve the district, Johnson said. "I think Dr. Schatz continues to try to get all of the folks in this district ... focused on our strategic plan and direction."

A second evaluation is required by March 15. Johnson said the time between the two evaluations gives superintendents time to work on any deficiencies pointed out by their school boards. That won't be a problem for Schatz, he said.

Johnson said he expected the board will seek to negotiate another contract with Schatz.

"Obviously, nobody had any serious issues of any kind with Dr. Schatz," Johnson said. No corrective actions were suggested, "other than keep up the good work."

Board members praised Schatz for his leadership, particularly in the run-up to the successful March 7 vote for a 127-mill general fund levy limit.

"Dr. Schatz is doing an exceptional job. He went above and beyond with the mill levy presentations," Brandi Aune wrote.

"The successful mill levy vote was a direct benefit from Dr. Schatz's leadership and tireless advocacy effort," Linda Boyd wrote.

There were also some mild criticism among the evaluations, too.

"There are times during a board meeting that Dr. Schatz appears to be very defensive to the discussions taking place," Kristi Ulrich wrote.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

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