Williston Public School District No. 1 superintendent Michael Campbell.

Michael Campbell, the superintendent of Williston Public School District No. 1, has asked to use his remaining vacation time for the duration of his contract, effectively ending his time at the district, according to a lawyer for the district.

At a special meeting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, the district's school board voted 5-0 to name Kevin Klassen, the principal of Rickard Elementary, acting interim superintendent.

Rachel Bruner, a lawyer for the district, told board members Thursday morning that Campbell had told board president Kimberly Semenko on Wednesday evening that he wanted to use his accumulated leave for the rest of his contract. Campbell told the board in February that he planned to retire in June, when his 2-year contract with the district expired.

Campbell was hired in July 2016. In November, the board voted unanimously to reprimand Campbell, citing comments it claimed were “inappropriate, unprofessional and potentially discriminatory."

The letter of reprimand came on the same day as an evaluation of Campbell by the board. The original evaluation listed him as satisfactory in each of the six categories listed. Days later the board re-did the evaluation, saying Campbell’s self-evaluation scores were included in the tally but should not have been.

In the re-done evaluation, the board listed Campbell as unsatisfactory in two categories: Goals and Vision Setting and Human Resources Management.

The evaluation in November came as a sharp contrast to the one the board approved less than six months before. On that evaluation, which the board approved in March 2017, the board scored Campbell satisfactory in the same six categories and no board member gave Campbell an unsatisfactory score on any of the the six categories.

Klassen has been an educator for 26 years and been at District 1 for three years. Before coming to Williston, he served as the superintendent for Surrey Public School District No. 41 in Ward County for 12 years.

He graduated from Minot State University and has a current certification to serve as a superintendent in North Dakota.

Semenko said the district was still working out the details of who would fill Klassen's role as principal of Rickard while he served as acting interim superintendent.

Klassen is taking the reins of the district days after the application period for a new superintendent ended. The district's search committee is going to meet with Ray and Associates, the firm handling the search for a superintendent, to go through applications and set a timeline for interviews, Semenko said Thursday.


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