Wrenshall has new school superintendentWrenshall School District hired a new interim superintendent at a special meeting of the board of education on Friday, June 29.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Wrenshall School District hired a new interim superintendent at a special meeting of the board of education on Friday, June 29. Kimberly Belcastro was endorsed by a unanimous vote of the board for the district’s top administrative post. The term for Belcastro’s appointment will run from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013.
"We're just ecstatic," said Board Chair Troy Powers of Belcastro's acceptance of the position. "She has already hit the ground running and has what we believe to be a great path set up for the district."
Belcastro comes to Wrenshall from her position as superintendent of the Ely Public School District, where she has served in that capacity for the past year. Prior to that time, she served as interim superintendent with that district for five months and high school principal and director of operations for two years prior to that. She has also been middle school principal at Proctor from 2004-2009 and principal at AlBrook from 2000-2004, holding teaching positions earlier at Hermantown, Esko and the Lake Superior School District.
Belcastro grew up in Esko and earned her undergraduate teaching degree at the University of Minnesota Duluth, her master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin Superior and her doctorate degree in educational administration from Bethel University in St. Paul.
“I moved to Ely to get superintendent experience,” said Belcastro. “I loved it there, but it was always my hope that I could move closer to home.”
Belcastro interviewed for the superintendent’s position in Wrenshall four years ago and was the runner up at that time. She and her husband, Jay, have a combined family of five children ranging in age from 12 to 27, with the two youngest attending Wrenshall School. Her husband, a teacher in Proctor for 17 years in business and marketing, is currently an assistant principal at Sartell for the next year or two to gain administrative experience, hoping eventually to relocate back to this area as well.
Belcastro assumes the Wrenshall superintendent’s position following the June resignation of former superintendent Rick Herman, who had been with the district for four years. Herman’s resignation came only days after the board voted to dismiss him. At the advice of legal counsel, the board rescinded his dismissal but at that time Herman resigned. The action came following two separate administrative leaves after Herman reported to the board about verbal conflicts he had with Principal Susan Frank. He was placed on leave again before the end of the school year after a report on the situation came in from an independent consultant hired by the district in early May for the purpose of monitoring how the superintendent and principal interact.
The School Board and Herman issued a joint statement calling Herman’s departure “a mutual and amicable separation, and not a termination.”
Belcastro said she now looks forward to “pulling the staff together and helping them to start fresh.”
“There’s a little work to do, but that’s OK,” she said. “I’m really excited about the opportunity.”
Most immediately, Belcastro said she is looking forward to the community’s upcoming Wrenshall Brickyard Days as a chance to get to meet the people of the district and renew old friendships.