NRHEG superintendent is a finalist in Sauk Rapids

Published 10:45 am Thursday, March 25, 2010

The superintendent of the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva School District is a candidate for a superintendent position in the Sauk Rapids-Rice School District.

“This is about getting back to my home,” Kevin Wellen said. “I actually really like the district I’m in.”

Wellen, 46, has been the superintendent at NRHEG for four years. Wellen currently earns $106,000 per year, and the job he is interviewing for has not established a base salary yet. It will be negotiable depending on experience. He grew up in Sartell near St. Cloud, which is near the Sauk Rapids-Rice district. He originally went to St. Cloud State University. He was a high school science teacher in the Sartell-St. Stephen district before starting his first administrative position.

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“I enjoyed teaching,” Wellen said. “Going to administration seemed like something I was fit for.”

As a superintendent in the NRHEG district, Wellen has made a few changes.

“Since I’ve been here we’ve done a $5 million capital building project,” Wellen said.

These improvements included changes in the lighting to increase efficiency among other things. Another change was to have all the elementary classes in Ellendale and grades seven through 12 in New Richland.

“That move saved us about $250,000 a year, and it brought all our kids together,” Wellen said.

He said they passed a referendum this year and are looking forward to implementing new programs.

“We’re always looking for the next step,” Wellen said.

Visiting classrooms and seeing teachers in action is one of Wellen’s favorite things about his job. One of his least favorite is having to watch the weather in the winter.

“It’s tough getting up in the morning to check on the roads and make a weather call,” Wellen said.

He said he always looks forward to spring so he doesn’t have to get up early and watch the weather. Wellen said he likes the district he’s in, but he would like to be closer to where he grew up.

“I’m not looking to run away,” Wellen said. “This is an opportunity that would basically get me home.”

There were 37 applicants for the job, but only four were chosen to be interviewed. Wellen and three others will be interviewed on April 5. Wellen has enough work to keep his mind off the interview.

“On April 4 I’ll be nervous,” Wellen said. “Right now I have plenty to do here, and we’ll just keep moving forward.”

There are about 950 students who attend NRHEG. Sauk Rapids-Rice has about 3,750.