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School board selects new Superintendent
March 24, 2021
SARTELL– On March 11th, Jeffery Ridlehoover was chosen as the new superintendent at Sartell-St.Stephen schools in the final round of interviews. Ridlehoover will take the place of the current superintendent, Jeff Schwiebert, following his retirement in July.
On March 15th, Jeremy Snoberger, chair of the school board answered two significant questions on behalf of the board to shed a light on the hiring of Dr. Jeffery Ridlehoover.
The board members had specific qualities that they were looking for in a Superintendent and in their pool of candidates. These qualities came from many surveys and focus groups.
This word doc outlines the profile they created when listening to all of the stakeholder groups, which included students, teachers, staff, community members, etc.
Snoberger says, “I would add that Jeff actually shared in his interview that it was this document that helped him know that he was right for this job, as he felt he met all of these qualities.”
Board members highlighted that Ridlehoover has many of the characteristics illustrated on the list but very specifically, “He is an excellent communicator, and we feel that he will be a great spokesperson for the district both in and out of the schools and businesses of Sartell.”
Snoberger went on to add, “He is a visionary instructional leader, and his wealth of experience in high-performing districts and his wealth of knowledge on the needs of the educational environment were impressive.”
To emphasize Ridlehoover’s objectives, Snoberger says, “He always puts students first, and he shared with us his passion for EVERY student to succeed and excel. He understands and has had first-hand experience supporting the values of economic, ethnic, cultural, and other areas of diversity in the educational environment, and we feel that he will lead us well through the implementation of the equity audit in our district.”
The Sartell-St. Stephen school district board chose Mr. Ridlehoover for some specific reasons.
Snoberger explains that the school board members verbalized their interest in Dr. Ridlehoover right away, “We were impressed with his candor and the way he addressed the needs placed before him in the community forum, and we felt that his set of skills and experience best met the needs of the Sartell-St Stephen School District.”
“I look forward to Jeff Ridlehoover being here in Sartell and for all of our students, teachers, staff, and the entire community to meet him and see what we saw when we chose to offer him the job, as the Sartell-St Stephen Superintendent,” Snoberger says.
School board members were quick to give accolades to the current superintendent, Jeff Schwiebert; Mr. Schwiebert has been in his current role for seven years and will retire at the end of this school year.
Snoberger says, “I also want to take just a moment to say how thankful we are for Jeff Schwiebert and the leadership that he has brought us over these past seven years. He has led us through many transitions in the district, and helped us to be the district we are today.”
Matt Moehrle, Treasurer on the School Board, expresses his notions about Dr. Ridlehoover
Moehrle notes, “First, he has outstanding credentials in both leadership roles and academics. For instance, his Ph.D. work earned him a national award, and a few years ago he was named Minnesota’s high school principal of the year…His work as an adjunct college professor has given him experience teaching and mentoring school administrators, so I expect he will provide excellent support to our school leadership teams.”
Above all else, what resonated most with Matt was, “His (Jeffery Ridlehoover) message that he gives extra effort to not just motivate others; he wants to inspire people to do their best and be personally invested in the goals they are working toward.”
Ultimately, “I think his approach will get real-world results, and will also greatly strengthen the sense of community and school pride in our district – for both students and staff alike,” declares Moehrle.
Patrick Marushin, Director of the School Board gives his insight:
School board member, Marushin shares his thoughts on the new hire.
“We could not have done this search without all the excellent input we received from students, staff, and community members. I thought it was an excellent process…I believe Dr. Ridlehoover is a high-energy individual who has exhibited excellent leadership and communication skills. I am excited about the wealth of experience he brings from his previous districts, and I am thrilled to have Dr. Ridlehoover lead our school district into the future.”
Over email, Dr. Ridlehoover explains his draw to Sartell-St. Stephen and his plans for his new position.
Ridlehoover is the current Assistant Superintendent at Mounds View and Adjunct Professor at Hamline University. In past years, Dr. Ridlehoover has been the principal at both Mounds View and Wayzata High Schools.
Q: What about this Sartell position interested you?
A: “There are many things that make Sartell appealing to me. The first is the incredibly supportive community that clearly values learning and the education of the whole person. Second, is the staff and leadership that is currently in place. Another appealing component and I didn’t know this until I visited, was the amazing kids and school board that I had an opportunity to meet. In short, all of the pieces are in place to make Sartell-St. Stephen the finest school district in the state. I humbly believe that I can contribute positively to what is in place and bring some new ideas as well.”
Q: Is there a vision you see our district heading?
A: “My vision is to continue the work currently in place and enhance it by listening and learning from those with historical knowledge. As I said in my interviews, I will also be looking to dig deeper into the instructional continuum to personalize learning for each and every student. There are also operational items that I believe I can assist in coming to fruition, but I want to take some time to assess the current reality before making any recommendations.”
Q: Is there anything you would like high school readers to know about you?
A: “ I was absolutely blown away by the high school facilities and the interactions I witnessed between students and faculty. I am also a big proponent of high school activities, including sports, clubs, and the arts. The students in the high school will notice immediately that I am a high-energy, positive person who will be present at events to watch and support our students as they do the things they love.”