Wednesday, November 07, 2001

Northwest hires superintendent


Dirr retiring; Minn. educator chosen as his replacement

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Rochester, Minn., educator has been hired as superintendent of Northwest Local School District.

        Dr. Kathryn Hellweg, director of Teaching and Learning (assistant superintendent) of the Rochester School District, was offered a three-year contract Monday by the Northwest Board of Education.

        Dr. Hellweg replaces Superintendent Kenneth Dirr, who is retiring Dec. 31. Dr. Hellweg begins work Jan. 1 at an annual salary of $110,000. The school board chose her from a field of 30 applicants.

        She has held her position with Rochester schools for four years. The district serves more than 16,000 students, compared with about 11,000 at Northwest.

        At Rochester, Dr. Hellweg created a cohesive Teaching and Learning team, which focuses on the district goals of high student achievement, creating a safe and welcoming learning environment, and efficient and effective operations.

        Also during her tenure, the district built one high school and one elementary school, opened a new middle school, rebuilt the Community Education building and renovated many schools.

        She also provided leadership for a $10 million operating budget reduction during the past school year.

        The Northwest board was impressed with Dr. Hellweg's variety of teaching and administrative experiences, said Cheryl Gabe, communications coordinator for Northwest. Dr. Hellweg's focus on student achievement, along with attention to special-needs students and diversity were other factors in the decision to hire her.

        Dr. Hellweg was en route to Rochester and unavailable for comment Tuesday.

        In her letter of application she said, “Throughout my professional career I have viewed myself as an instructional leader. What I consider to be my most significant professional accomplishments have resulted from aligning all aspects of the school district to support high student achievement.”

       



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