Wednesday, May 09, 2001

Princeton schools head moving on

He'll lead district in Minn.

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Dennis L. Peterson, superintendent of Princeton City Schools, has accepted a position as superintendent of Minnetonka Public Schools in Minnetonka, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb.

        His resignation, effective June 30, was accepted Monday at a special meeting of the Princeton Board of Education.

        “It's obviously closer to home,” the 56-year-old South Dakota native said. “We have three children who live up in that area now. It's an outstanding district. It's a great opportunity for me to work in a high quality district and be close to family.”

        The Princeton board hired Don Darby as assistant superintendent, effective July 1. He will serve as interim superintendent until the board completes a national search for a new superintendent. Mr. Darby, a 28-year employee of the district, was assistant superintendent for administration when he retired in 1998.

        Dr. Peterson has been superintendent at Princeton since January 1996. He came to Princeton from the Rockwood School District in St. Louis. He also has been superintendent in Cheyenne, Wyo., Mitchell, S.D., Adams, Minn. and Bison, S.D. He was assistant superintendent in Mounds View School District, St. Paul.

        His greatest accomplishment at Princeton, he said, was to improve the quality of education. “I think we have made a major leap forward in quality for all of our students. That's an achievement we can measure. Test scores have gone up, but we can measure it in other ways, too.

        “I think we've provided solid funding, both by passing a levy and containing spending so we have a long-term healthy picture for financing the schools. We shouldn't need another levy for five or six years.”

        Dr. Peterson leaves as the district embarks on a major facilities-improvement plan. All 11 schools in the Princeton City School District would be remodeled or replaced in a proposed $150 million plan to upgrade buildings.

        He moves to a district with 8,000 students, compared with 6,500 at Princeton.

        “We believe Dr. Peterson will be an excellent leader for our district,” said Minnetonka Public Schools Board Chairman Bob Quam. “He is clearly a creative leader whose enthusiasm for his work is contagious.

        “His resume includes a lengthy and impressive list of accomplishments,” Mr. Quam said.

        “Interviews with members of his staff and professional colleagues indicate that his leadership style inspires staff and students alike to achieve their highest potential.”


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