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Praise for outgoing Scarbrough, retirees

Cloquet School Board Chairman Ted Lammi informed Superintendent Ken Scarbrough that the board elected to ignore his recommendation that they don't make a fuss over him and his pending retirement.

"Ken told me one time that when he started his career as a superintendent, that he for sure would never work for a school district that had a hockey shelter or a swimming pool. Well, we've got both those things," Lammi said. "And here he is."

During Tuesday's regular meeting, Lammi credited Scarbrough with a number of accomplishments, including enhancing the district's College in the Schools program, "our enviable rates of American Indian and overall graduation rates," and MMR and ACT scores. Lammi said the superintendent's crowning achievement was building the new middle school "on time and under budget."

"I'd like to take the credit for that, but I know better," Scarbrough responded, smiling.

Lammi said Scarbrough deserved much of the credit for starting and shepherding the new school project from start to finish.

"Building projects are an emotional time in a school district. For one thing you're decommissioning a building that everyone knows and it's got a lot of memories, and you're also spending a lot of money," Lammi said. "Emotion gets directed a lot of times at the most visible member of a school district and that is always our superintendent. ... He knew that change was needed and he pushed for it."

Scarbrough got a little emotional while responding to Lammi's accolades, and his gift of a giant jar of Milk Dud candies.

"Cloquet has been by far the most difficult superintendency that I've ever had," said Scarbrough, who is retiring June 30 after 13 years with the district. "I've had six of them. But it has also, by far, been the most rewarding."

He credited the support of the school board, excellent administrative staff and the school employees for much of that.

"One of the things that concerned me when I started was that our staff members want to keep loading it on; they don't want to get rid of anything that they're doing for the kids. So working under stress and pressure to do the best they can for kids I think defines the Cloquet School District. I think the entire community can be proud of that. I'm very fortunate to have spent my last years working with such a fine group of people and in a community that supports education, and kids."

The school board also offered congratulations and best wishes to the district's other retirees:

• Cindy Baker, paraprofessional, Washington Elementary School;

• Theresa Blais, ECFE secretary/receptionist, Community Ed;

• Charlie Boedigheimer, head custodian, Cloquet Middle School (CMS);

• Mary Cook, fourth-grade teacher, Washington;

• Jim Dake, cleaner, Garfield School;

• Doreen Hendrickson, COTA, Washington;

• Julie Johanson, program assistant, Community Ed;

• Sue Kolodge, paraprofessional, Cloquet Senior High School (CHS);

• Melanie Leno, paraprofessional, CHS;

• Sheryl Muermann Lee, sixth-grade teacher, CMS;

• Jeanette Olson, social studies teacher, CAAEP;

• Kathi Parpala, paraprofessional, Churchill Elementary School;

• Warren Peterson, principal, CHSl;

• Carolyn Scarbrough, first-grade teacher, Washington;

• Pam Schiminek, secretary/receptionist, CHS;

• Julie Johanson, program assistant, Community Ed;

• Carol Wiener, program assistant, Community Ed;

• Brad Wright, food service, CHS;

• Dan Wright, custodian, CHS.

In other matters Tuesday, the School Board voted 4-1 to terminate the contract for the Indian Ed teacher at Washington Elementary School, following a closed discussion during its May 14 meeting. Voting "yes" to ending the probationary contract were Board members Lammi, Nate Sandman, Dave Battaglia and Jim Crowley. Duane Buytaert voted "nay" and Dan Danielson was absent.

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