District 1 superintendent will lead re-organized school district

Jeffrey Thake

The current superintendent of Williston Public School District No. 1 has accepted the position of superintendent for the newly formed Williston Basin School District No. 007.

Jeffrey Thake accepted the new role on Thursday, Jan. 21.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to lead WBSD #7 into the future,” Thake said. “This is a tremendous opportunity to expand on the personalization of public education through school and community partnerships as we continue to push the envelope towards innovation in public education.”

Thake was hired to lead District 1 in May 2018 and was involved in the negotiations and planning that lead to the formation of District 7.

On Dec. 8, voters in both districts approved the Reorganization Plan to become a unified school district. District 1 and Williams County Public School District No. 8 will officially transition to Williston Basin School District No. 007 on July 1.

“I am pleased that Dr. Thake has agreed to accept the position of Superintendent at Williston Basin School District No. 007,” Chris Jundt, president of the District 7 board, said. “The entire school board looks forward to working with Dr. Thake to make this transition as smooth as possible for all stakeholders involved. The foundation has been laid to bring educational excellence to the Williston community. These are exciting times for our community, and I am thrilled that Dr. Thake will be continuing his work for the students of our district.”

During the negotiation process, the members of the District 1 board pressed to have Thake in charge of the reorganized district. The plan approved by voters included a section directing the new board to negotiate with Thake for the role.

On Wednesday, the District 7 board interviewed three candidates for the position of business manager for the new district: Mandy Garaas, finance controller for District 1; Jodi Germundson, business manager for District 1; and Sherri Heser, business manager for District 8.

After the interviews, the board members used a scoring rubric and scored Heser with 130, Germundson with 126 and Garaas with 90. The board unanimously voted to offer Heser the position. She has seven days to decide.

One of the major milestones between the election and the district opening is set for Feb. 1. The District 7 school board will host a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb.1 to share updates on proposed curriculum, course offerings, and staff positions. The hearing is at the Williston ARC.

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