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North Branch Schools

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June 5, 2020

4/17/2020 12:36:00 PM
New superintendent for North Branch

The North Branch School Board unanimously voted April 9 to extend an offer to Sara Paul for the district’s soon-to-be vacant superintendent position.  Paul is assistant superintendent with White Bear Lake Schools now, and has worked as Associate Supt. of Minneapolis Public Schools, and has been a teacher and professional staff leader at District 622 in North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale. She resides in Maplewood.

Paul and Christina Bemboom were the two finalists completing the second round of interviews, done on the Internet just prior to the regular April 9 school board meeting.  

Hiring consultant Bruce Miles applauded the speedy and comprehensive work done by the Board.  North Branch administrators, staff  and community leaders were part of the process to narrow the field from 25 applicants, to six, three and these final two candidates.  

Miles complimented the Board members, saying in the midst of social distancing and switching North Branch education practices over to electronic means-- the Board “deserves credit for making this (superintendent search) work.”

Miles asked Board members to share plus and minus comments for each finalist when the interview phase ended. It was apparent the consensus leaned towards Paul.  

She had explained in her interview that she is shifting from life in a large district, to the relatively smaller operations of North Branch ISD 138, on purpose.  She wants to use her career to build from a good foundation, she wants to be able to bring out the best of district staff on more of an individual basis, and she said North Branch offers a very promising future.  She also shared that while attending the girls’ state volleyball tournament she was impressed by the girls and the community support on display.

All Board members stated they liked and respected both candidates and either would be an excellent selection.  Consultant Miles said in the end it all comes down to “fit.”  

Chair Kirby Ekstrom made the motion to offer the post to Sara Paul which was approved 6-0.

The school board will enter into contract talks with Paul, and it is expected she will begin serving as superintendent as of July 1, 2020, according to Patrick Tepoorten, district communications.

(The Press misidentified the two finalists in their photos April 9.  We regret the error.)

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