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Editorial: District has good choices for superintendent

The District 196 School Board has an interesting choice ahead of it. With the field to replace retiring superintendent John Currie narrowed to four finalists, there are some clear divisions among the candidates. District insider or district outsider? Experience in the district versus experience in the job.

In Jane Berenz and Julie Olson, the district has two candidates who have spent a significant amount of time getting to know the people and policies that make ISD 196 work. Olson is the district's director of elementary education and has been a principal and teacher in the district. Berenz, the current director of teaching and learning in ISD 196, preceded Olson as elementary ed director and has her own experience as a principal and teacher in the district.

Both have experience here. Both have worked closely with Currie. But neither one has been a superintendent.

The district's other two finalists have been. Keith Ryskoski is currently the superintendent in Stillwater. Gary Amroso has the top job in the Lakeville School District. The districts are of comparable size -- Stillwater has a little more than 9,000 students, Lakeville more than 11,000. Both know what it's like to be the in charge of big districts. But it's a big jump from a district of about 10,000 to one like ISD 196 that is nearly three times that size.

Those are the big differences among the candidates. And they'll play a role in the decision to come. But the differences go beyond those. Each candidate will bring individual pluses and minuses for board members to consider when they go through the interview process starting early next week.

Whoever the board ultimately chooses, from what we know of the candidates we're confident there are four good options. The trick now is to pick the one that's best.