Board chair Jeff Ross didn't mince words. The past year has been a challenging one for Eastern Carver County Schools, he said.

With Clint Christopher stepping down from the District 112 Superintendent position, the school board selected someone Ross called a "dynamic, strong leader" to lead the way in coming years.

The Eastern Carver County School Board unanimously agreed to enter into negotiations with Lisa Sayles-Adams for the position of superintendent effective July 1, 2020. Sayles-Adams is currently assistant superintendent for at North St. Paul–Maplewood–Oakdale Public Schools.

Her selection concludes a rigorous process that began in March and ended with eight strong candidates interviewed May 5-6, and then narrowed down to three finalists.

Candidates participated in day-long interviews on May 11, 13, and 14 that included staff, student, and community "virtual" meetings as well as in-person interviews with the School Board. The other finalists for the position were Dr. Ryan Laager, superintendent of Belle Plaine Public Schools, and Dr. Jeff Ridlehoover, assistant superintendent at Mounds View Public Schools.

"We knew we needed a dynamic, strong leader, not just to raise the already high quality of education for our students, but to help bring together our community. In Lisa we have found a truly outstanding leader with the skills and background to deliver the excellence we all expect," Ross said. "She showed tonight she’s ready to hit the ground running, has the complete skill set we were seeking, and we are excited for what her leadership will accomplish for our students, staff, and community.”

Earlier this year, Christopher announced he was leaving the district, which started the search process for the district’s next superintendent.

The board concluded interviews Thursday evening, reviewed feedback from meetings with students, staff, and community, and then discussed the merits of all candidates before making its final decision.

Sayles-Adams has been assistant superintendent in North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale for one year. Formerly she worked for eight years in St. Paul Public Schools in the same capacity, as well as a middle school principal. Her additional experience came as a principal in Clayton County in Georgia, and a teacher and principal in Minneapolis Public Schools.

She received her bachelor and master's degrees from the University of Minnesota. Sayles-Adams is currently working on her doctorate from Minnesota State University-Mankato.

Sayles-Adams was among three finalists in 2019 for the Osseo-Maple Grove Area Schools superintendent position.

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