Fargo's new superintendent receives positive evaluation

Fargo Superintendent Rupak Gandhi presents his "State of the Schools" address on Thursday night, Jan. 10, at Fargo South High School. Barry Amundson / The Forum

FARGO — Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Rupak Gandhi has received a unanimous satisfactory job evaluation in his first nine months on the job, the school board agreed in their meeting Tuesday night, March 12.

The board, in accepting the evaluation that was accompanied by comments from board members, also agreed to form a three-member committee to review the terms of his two-year contract he signed to see if any adjustments were needed.

Serving on the committee will be Kristi Ulrich, John Rodenbiker and Jennifer Benson. They will report back to the board on April 9.

Gandhi, a California native who served as an assistant superintendent of research data and accountability in Colorado Springs, Colo., before starting in Fargo last summer, was hired for a salary of $200,000.

His contract, however, is renewable every year. He oversees a staff of 3,400 employees in the district that has 11,300 students.


State law requires school boards to evaluate their superintendents every March 15.

In their evaluations, some of the comments from the board members were:

  • Board chairman Rebecca Knutson: "Of those district and community members that have had the opportunity to work with him, the feedback I received regarding those interactions has been very positive. I believe the district is in good hands under his leadership and I look forward to continuing to partner with him in the district's work to educate and empower all students to succeed."
  • Brandi Aune: "Mr. Ghandi has come to our school district and is doing an amazing job. I have heard from several parents, students and staff how impressed they are with him. He continues to work on many items and addresses them and reports the outcome. He is right on track and works hard for our district."
  • Jim Johnson: "His leadership skills were put to the test early with a couple of hot potato topics... His thoughtful and open approach to addressing these difficult issues demonstrated to me his strong ability to be a servant leader."
  • Robin Nelson: "His collaborative style seems to be appreciated by students, educators, parents, the board and community members. His thirst for learning about not only educational operations, but also our local and state culture, will benefit everyone."

Board members were also asked if they saw any weaknesses in his job in their evaluations and once again they offered almost unanimous comments, although several noted that he has only been here a short time.
Board member David Paulson said since Gandhi hasn't been here "long enough to have completed a full set of tasks (teacher negotiations, legislative session, contract renewals). I would reserve further judgement until I see how these are completed."

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