ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Rochester Public School Board has chosen Dr. Kent Pekel to become the district's interim superintendent this summer.
Chair Jean Marvin says Dr. Pekel has accepted the position, and will begin contract negotiations with the school board's attorney tomorrow morning. Board members will vote on whether to approve the agreed-upon contract at their meeting next Tuesday.
Dr. Pekel was the board's unanimous pick. Some of the qualities that stood out to district leaders and community stakeholders alike were his forward-looking vision, leadership style, and commitment to building trust. His data-driven approach to improving student outcomes and track record of advancing equity were also identified as strengths.
"I was impressed with how so much of his professional experience and work in applying research dovetailed with the priorities that the district has right now and over the next year," said Vice Chair Cathy Nathan.
The incoming interim superintendent is currently the President and CEO of Search Institute, a nonprofit educational research organization that "partners with organizations to conduct and apply research that promotes positive youth development and advances equity," While Dr. Pekel does not have previous superintendent experience, board members feel his range of experience across the education industry make him the right fit to meet this unique moment for the district.
"In non-traditional times like now, you may need someone with a non-traditional approach in terms of how to get things done," Chair Jean Marvin said.
While Pekel is set to oversee the district for just one year, some on the school board feel he could make a lasting impact on the Med City.
"I looked at his interview and material as some, again, who's non-traditional in his path. But if we're looking for someone to model our vision and be a transformational leader, I think that he fit those criteria very well," Director Karen Maclaughlin said.
Dr. Pekel will begin overseeing Med City schools July 1st. You can watch his full interview with Rochester Public School Board here.