GLYNDON, Minn. — With Superintendent Bryan Thygeson planning to retire after 10 years of leading the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Public Schools, the board has started a search process by mailing a survey to all residents in the district.

The survey asks residents and staff members to provide input on what expertise, skills and personal characteristics they would like to see in the new superintendent, said School Board member Lindsey Leach. It also asks if they feel it's important for the next school leader to have experience as a superintendent.

Leach said residents can mail back the survey or complete it on the school district's website by Oct. 30.

The board has contracted with the Minnesota School Boards Association to provide guidance and assist with the search.

Leach said the MSBA will compile the survey results, and they will be discussed Nov. 5. Applications in a regional and nationwide search are due by Jan. 11, she said, adding they hope to pick the next superintendent in February.

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The selection will take over on July 1.

In the meantime, Thygeson signed a one-year contract as the district is dealing with a lot of issues, including major building projects and COVID-19 concerns.

Thygeson is a 36-year veteran of education who has held several teaching and administrative positions in Minnesota including superintendent in the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo district.

He said he announced his resignation early to give the district "time to pick the best possible candidate" to succeed him.

He said he appreciates the board's support over the years and believes they have developed a "common vision" for the three communities.

A major part of that vision has been the expansion projects underway in the two district school buildings.

In the plan, the school in Dilworth will be expanded to accommodate all of the district's elementary students to have them in one location. Currently, some of the elementary students are in the Glyndon building. The plan for the Dilworth school includes a new gym, main entryway, commons and media center.

In Glyndon, the addition will allow for middle school and high school students to have expanded space with the addition of science labs, a performing arts suite, a new competition gym, an activities lobby and an administrative addition.

Security measures and cafeteria improvements are also planned in both schools.

Thygeson said the projects are expected to be completed by the fall of next year, although COVID-19 has held back some progress.

So far this school year, DGF elementary students are learning in school, while middle and high school students are in a hybrid model with two days in school and two days of distance learning because of COVID-19. On Wednesdays and weekends, the schools undergo deep cleaning, Thygeson said.