Newly-hired Shakopee Schools Director of Finance and Operations Jeffrey Priess submitted his resignation letter Aug. 21.
His resignation will be effective Dec. 31.
Priess’ resignation letter, addressed to Superintendent Mike Redmond, states:
“Please accept this letter as notice that I will be resigning from my position as Director of Finance and Operations effective December 31, 2019. Thank you for your support of me and of our entire finance department during the short time we had to work together. I feel our department has taken the District to a better financial position and now is a good time to move on and explore some new opportunities and challenges. You can count on my full support to ensure a smooth transition.”
The district announced Priess was the new finance director on March 13, 2018, after former Director of Finance Suzanne Johnson resigned in January of 2018. Johnson was hired following the June 2017 retirement of Mike Burlager.
Since 2017, when questions were swirling around former Superintendent Rod Thompson, the district has been under the leadership of three different finance directors. Whoever replaces Priess will be the fourth finance director in four years.
Shakopee Schools’ unassigned fund balance went from less than $700,000 in 2017 to a projected $2.6 million in 2019. Priess reduced the number of purchasing cards, or P-cards, allotted to school district staff from 68 to 30 for “efficiency reasons.” P-cards have been controversial since Thomson went to prison for making 305 personal purchases worth over $30,000 with his P-card between November 2014 and May 2017.
Redmond said at the summer school board retreat that the finance department has done “exactly what I want them to do, and that is to make sure our P-card system is beyond reproach.”
Before this position, Priess worked most recently as a senior consultant with the accounting firm, Malloy, Montague, Karnowski, Radosevich and Co. He also served as the executive director of business operations for Robbinsdale Area Schools and the director of finance at Farmington Area Schools.
“Our district owes Jeff an incredible debt of gratitude for his work as our finance director,” Redmond said in a recent press release. “He and his team have worked tirelessly to meet our fund balance goals... They also consistently apply the best practices in terms of budgeting, accounting, and financial management.”
Redmond and the Shakopee School Board will work together to implement a transition plan as well as discuss the next steps to determine who will replace Priess, according to the release.
“We were fortunate to have Jeff on our team for almost two years,” School Board Chair Reggie Bowerman said. “Knowing that he had retired from full time service as a business director in the past, we knew we wouldn’t have him in this position forever. He has done well by our school community and our students. We are grateful and appreciative of his service to our district.”