Richardson expected to fill interim role 

By Louis Hoglund

A new superintendent will be at the helm of the Pelican Rapids School District.

Ed Richardson

The formal resignation of Randi Anderson, which was received by the Pelican Rapids school board July 22, puts a broad set of maneuvers into place. 

Expected to be named interim Superintendent is Dr. Ed Richardson, who is elementary principal at Pelican’s Viking school.  A move to place Richardson in the superintendent seat will require re-structuring Pelican school administration, which was scheduled Monday night, July 29. 

Anderson accepted a position with the Shawano, Wisconsin, schools last week. With just weeks remaining before the school year start, Pelican is expected to name an interim superintendent in quick order.  At the same time, the board will need to consider a long range plan. 

School board Chairman Jon Karger met with the administrative team, including the high school principals, Monday morning, July 29. The school board scheduled a special meeting that same evening–with the liklihood of naming Richarson interim superintendent. 

Randi Anderson

Though the decisions were pending when this edition went to Press,  the most likely scenario for the coming school year places Richardson as superintendent; present activities director Derrick Nelson will be promoted to elementary principal, but continue his activities director assignment.   Brian Korf will continue as high school principal, though he may pick up additional duties to assist Nelson.

School board Chair Karger outlined the likely administrative shift. 

Anderson’s two year tenure with the Pelican schools was marked by a number of challenges.  Topping the list, nearly $1 million in budget cuts earlier this year, in order to stem spending that was rapidly exhausting the school’s limited reserves. 

More cuts are likely next year, to further buffer against overspending for the 1920-21 school year. 

“It has been a true honor working within the community for the students of Pelican  Rapids,” wrote Anderson in her resignation letter.  “I have accepted a superintendent position in Shawano…This places our family closer to my parents, and my daughter back in Packer country.”

The silver lining in the resignation is that, depending on how the board restructures, it could reduce administrative overhead costs for the near term.  

Though not official when this edition went to press, the restructuring with  internal promotion could save taxpayers up to $150,000 for the upcoming school year, said Karger.  

This projected savings includes some increase in compensation to both Richardson and Nelson; recognizing additional duties. 

Specifics of contract language will be discussed by the board in the coming weeks.  But basically, said Karger, the administrators will proceed under existing contracts for the coming year.  

The administrative structuring will be reviewed after one year of operation, which is when administrative positions were scheduled for re-negotiation. 

In fact, Superintendent Anderson, in her resignation letter, suggested that “it is my sincere hope that the school board will leverage my resignation as an opportunity to make an administrative budget reducation which will help offset the necessary reductions that will be made in 2021 to balance the budget,” wrote Anderson.   

“I want to take this opportunity to thank individuals throughout the community and school district for their guidance, support and encouragement over the past two years,” added Anderson in her letter of resignation. 

Anderson has been actively looking at other superintendent opportunities for much of her two year tenure with Pelican Rapids.  She was a finalist for several positions that have bcome open in the region, including posts in Moorhead, West Fargo, and Wisconsin.