BREAKING: VCPS Hires New Superintendent

Heidi Harris
Staff Writer

The Valley City Public School Board hired its seventh superintendent at a meeting Tuesday. Board members unanimously approved a three-year contract for Joshua Johnson.

Johnson will take the reigns July 1 when Dean Koppelman will retire after 18 years leading the district.

Johnson is currently superintendent for Oakes Public School, where he has been for three years. He served as principal in Devils Lake for four years prior to that. He also served as principal for Barnes County North and started his career in education as a social studies teacher in Grafton.

School board member Rich Schueneman said Johnson is a good fit for the district.

School board president Joyce Braunagel said Johnson is a visionary leader, good communicator and team player. She said she was excited that 11 people applied for the position and that the committee interviewed four highly-qualified applicants.

The three other finalists for the vacancy were Mike Kolness, superintendent/principal in Ada, Minn.; Viola LaFontaine, superintendent in Williston, N.D.; and Daniel Stutlien, superintendent/activities director in Harvey, N.D.

Board members and the search committee interviewed the finalists last week and met Friday, when they consented to offer the contract to Johnson.
He returned the signed contract Monday, and board members accepted it Tuesday.

Under his three year contract, Johnson will be paid a base of $148,000 the first year, $154,000 the second year and $162,000 the third year. The district will contribute 20.50 percent of the superintendent's salary to the teacher's fund for retirement.

Johnson has a wife Tristan and four children, ages fourth-grade to four months.

In a letter to Braunagel and business manager Linda Heit, Johnson thanked school officials for the opportunity and said, "I'm humbled by your selection."

Braunagel said the search was a community effort and the community and district were very welcoming to the applicants.