Michael Cary rounded out his first year as superintendent of the Cloquet School District with positive reviews from the school board.

As is the case when taking on any new role, Cary said he faced the inevitable learning curve. Board Chair Ted Lammi said he expected the learning curve to be a little more stark from a first-year superintendent.

“From my perspective as chairman of the school board, I see the superintendent a lot and I see what he’s doing and from my perspective, he’s doing a very good job,” Lammi said. “I expected a certain amount of inexperience. I expected a certain amount of new-guy mistakes, but surprisingly, I didn’t see any of that. He arrived knowing how to do the job.”

Before becoming superintendent, Cary served as director of curriculum and instruction in the executive cabinet of the Duluth Public School District, where he said the work he did and his proximity to the superintendent helped prepare him for running a school district.

Settling into a new role comes with its own share of challenges. For Cary, that involved making sure he was getting to know the organization and the people well. That also lent itself to one of the biggest rewards of the job.

“”I’m surrounded by great people,” Cary said. “Cloquet Public Schools has wonderful teachers. We have wonderful staff. We’ve got great administrators and I have a very, very supportive school board. So from that perspective, it’s been very rewarding to work with all the people there.”

The Cloquet superintendent receives two reviews every year and the final one was June 10. Before the review, board members fill out a grade sheet that they turn into the board chair, who then calculates the average scores. The board members review the review sheets with the superintendent and provide feedback during a closed session meeting.

The Pine Journal contacted the other five board members for comments on Cary's review. Board member Dave Battagilia responded in an email that he is pleased with Cary’s performance.

“He handled the first year of a tough job very admirably,” Battaglia said.