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K-12 Dean of Students hired in Mills

Following the recommendation of administration, the New York Mills School Board approved in split vote to hire Travis Hensch as Dean of Students/Activities Director for the 2009-10 school year.

The position is new to the district and was created after Greg Esala decided to step down as elmentary school principal and return to teaching. Superintendent Todd Cameron will now serve as elementary school principal. As Dean of Students/Activities Director, Hensch will work primarily out of the elementary office and handle the day-to-day activities in the elementary school. He will also handle disciplinary actions in the elementary and high school.

With hiring the Dean of Students/AD, and reassignments in the administration, Cameron estimates the district will save $28,000. Hensch, who has taught in Wadena since 2003, will be paid $58,000 in 2009-10.

Hensch is currently taking administrative classes through the University of Minnesota-St. Mary's in pursuit of his Education Specialist in Administration with a K-12 Principal's Licensure and Superintendent's Licensure. He is expected to complete the administration program in October, 2010.

Hensch holds a Masters Degree in Technology for Education and Training, and a Bachelors Degree in English. He is certified to teach English, grades 7-12; and certified in computers, grades K-12. He was teaching English 9, Journalism, Humanities, College Writing 1101, College Writing 1102, and Public Speaking 1114 in Wadena.

He was the head boys basketball coach in Wadena from 2004 to present and has coached other sports at various levels.

Cameron said the district received about 50 applicants for the position, with experience ranging from fully-licensed principals to teachers with 5-10 years experience, to people entering administration programs.

Cameron and high school principal Blaine Novak interviewed 10 finalists for the Dean of Students/AD before recommending the board hire Hensch for the position.

The school board voted 4-2 in favor of hiring Hensch as Dean of Students/AD. Voting against the recommendation were Josie Hendrickx and Lapene Maijala. Voting in favor were John Peeters, Rachel Grieger, Tim Kupfer, and Dan Welter. Board member DuWayne Roberts was not at the meeting.

Hendrickx asked for a roll-call vote and made it clear in a statement by voting no, she explains, "This was not about an individual but it was outside the direction and discussions we had as a board."

The decision to hire a Dean of Students came following a workshop in June where the board discussed various options on how to fill the administration position opened up with Esala's return to the classroom.

Sale of General Obligation Aid Anticipation Certificates

The board passed a resolution approving the sale of $1,300,000 General Obligation Aid Anticipation Certificates. Kristin Hanson of Ehlers and Associates discussed the sale process, which will be completed Aug. 17. Hanson reported this is less than borrowed last year. The low bid came from Piper Jaffray & Co. of Minneapolis at a net interest of 0.9221 percent. Interest savings to the district will be $7,124.

Certain state aids for schools receivable by the district during July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 school year will not be received in time to meet necessary expenditures for the purposes which such aids are receivable.

Out of district bus requests

The board approved four out of district bus requests for students with Perham, Ottertail, and Richville addresses. Three students are in kindergarten, and one is a 4th-grader. The Richville student will be picked up at Highway 78 and 14.

2009-10 bids awarded

The board awarded the bread bid to The Bake Shoppe, based on quality, freshness and delivery; milk bid to Kemps; gas/diesel contract to Cenex/Co-op Services.

Hockey Co-op

The board approved an agreement with Wadena-Deer Creek schools for boys hockey. A request had been made to cooperate with W-DC for boys hockey for an NYM student to participate. There will not be a charge to the district to co-op with W-DC hockey.

FFA trip

Approved overnight FFA trip to the state fair at the end of August.


Mary Solarz-High School Counselor (one year long-term sub); Mike Weller-Elementary Wrestling; Kerrie Spear-High School English (.5 FTE); Mary Hendrickx-increase two hours per day (7 total) for AD secretary


Paul Detloff-Elementary Wrestling; Julie Ekren-Jr. High Volleyball