Doug Bruggeman

Cost-saving restructuring creates new Pelican school post at lower salary

The innovative administrative structure took further form June 15, when the Pelican Rapids School Board named longtime social studies teacher Doug Bruggeman “Dean of Students.”

The move sets the stage for a streamlined administrative team, which promotes Brian Korf to a combined superintendent-high school principal position and Derrick Nelson as elementary principal-activities and athletic director.

Bruggeman has been with the Pelican Rapids schools since 1992, teaching social studies and coaching. He has also been visible as longtime student council director. Bruggeman is also a founder of the Shada 3-on-3 basketball tournament, which attracts more than 1,000 players each summer to the community. Though the Shada tourney is not an official school event, the event showcases Pelican facilities and the community—while involving dozens of local athletes and volunteers.

The Dean position is created to administer many of the day-to-day principal duties, including student discipline, thus shifting some of the typical principal workload.

The administrative restructuring is expected to save the school district and its taxpayers at least $85,000 per year.

Also added to help support the lean administrative structure, teacher Jim Christenson’s contract will include duties as an instructional coach. These would traditionally be under the principal’s umbrella, but veteran teacher Christenson will take the assignment—based on an additional 20 days per year. A teacher in Pelican since 1993, he will continue in the science classroom.

Korf is expected to complete the necessary education requirements for superintendent by September of 2020, at which time he is expected to assume the full role of superintendent-principal.

Retired Fergus Falls Superintendent Jerry Ness will continue as interim superintendent until fall. His role as a mentor and advisor will continue through the 2020-21 school year.

The restructuring essentially eliminated two of four administrative positions by adding support staff, at a lower cost than a full administrative salary.

The streamlined management structure creates a peculiar chain of command, noted Ness. For example, if a parent had a concern at the high school, and consulted with the principal—there is nowhere to take the concern up the ladder, since the principal is also the superintendent. So, Ness outlined a system where unresolved concerns or issues are then brought directly to the school board.

With Bruggeman as Dean, applications are being solicited for a full-time social studies teacher. Interviews with candidates to replace Bruggeman are expected in the coming days