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West Fargo Schools names three finalists for superintendent position

From left to right: Beth Slette, Ben Johnson, Randi Anderson.

WEST FARGO -- The West Fargo School District has named three finalists for the superintendent position, which includes one internal candidate.

The finalists are Beth Slette, West Fargo assistant superintendent of elementary education; Pelican Rapids (Minn.) Superintendent Randi Anderson and Ben Johnson, Bismarck, assistant superintendent of secondary education.

The West Fargo School Board interviewed five candidates via teleconferencing on March 6-8 out of the 15 applications received by the Feb. 18 deadline. The applicants came from North Dakota, Minnesota, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

The three finalists will each spend about a day in the district speaking with the School Board, staff and community members.

Slette began teaching in 1992 in Minnesota and came to West Fargo Public Schools in 1994. She became assistant superintendent for elementary education in 2013. She earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from North Dakota State University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She will interview with the board on March 20.

Anderson started teaching in Grand Forks in 1989 before moving to Colorado in 1998, where she served as a senior consultant for McREL, a research associate for RMC Research Corporation, and as Harrison School District’s director of assessment and accountability. She moved to Minnesota in 2012 and worked for South Washington County Schools as director of teaching and learning and director of personalized learning and instruction for Eden Prairie Schools before moving to Pelican Rapids. She earned a master’s degree in education leadership degree and a bachelor’s degree in math from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. She will interview on March 21.

Johnson began teaching in 2002 as an AP psychology and U.S. history teacher in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He became assistant principal at Fort Dodge Senior High School in 2007 and then became principal at Boone High School in 2012.

In 2014, he moved to North Dakota to become assistant superintendent for secondary schools at Bismarck Public Schools. He has also served as a consultant for Iowa Department of Education and as an adjunct professor at two universities.

Johnson has a doctorate of philosophy, educational leadership and policy studies from Iowa State University. He earned a master’s degree in educational policy and leadership studies from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in special studies in secondary education, psychology and history from Cornell College. He will interview with the board on March 22.

Superintendent David Flowers announced his plan to retire on June 30 in December, shortly after Fargo Superintendent Jeff Schatz and Moorhead Superintendent Lynne Kovash announced they are also retiring from their respective districts. The West Fargo School Board decided it would handle the search internally rather than hire a consulting firm before the new year.

Flowers, who has been superintendent since 2010, currently earns about $234,000 in salary and benefits.

Due to a 2017 change in North Dakota century code, names of applicants for public positions do not have to be released until a candidate is named as a finalist for the position.