The Shakopee school board voted Monday to begin contract negotiations with former Superintendent Jon McBroom, who is willing to temporarily lead the district while interim Superintendent Gary Anger remains on medical leave to fight an aggressive form of cancer.
McBroom comes with 30 years of superintendent experience, most recently serving 11 years as head of Shakopee schools before retiring in 2011.
During his tenure, he oversaw a period of rapid growth for the district and the opening of several new schools.
"He has so much equity in this district — I think his name appears on the opening plaques of four or five buildings," said Board Member Matt McKeand, who called McBroom a local "legend." "I had the opportunity to speak with a lot of building principals this weekend and everybody kept suggesting Jon's name. So he clearly was the top possible candidate."
When Anger announced his medical leave last week, board members began brainstorming who might have the flexibility and budgetary chops to take his place. Many of the 17 candidates interviewed this summer for the interim role have permanent jobs now and are unable to fulfill a short-term contract, said Shawn Hallett, who chairs the personnel committee.
McBroom, 67, quickly became a viable option for several board members as they discussed district priorities. He has tentatively agreed to serve in the role until June 30, 2018 — if need be.
"We don't know if this is a month or if this is six months," Hallett said. "We don't know what we're facing."
During Monday night's special board meeting, members praised McBroom's willingness to step forward and pursue the administration's goals until Anger can return to work.
"I have nothing but the utmost respect for Jon," said Board Member Reggie Bowerman, who previously served under McBroom. "He brings a high level of credibility, knowledge and experience that I don't think we can second guess at all."
McBroom previously served as schools chief in Mora and Rush City, Minn.
Anger, 53, began chemotherapy last week for small cell carcinoma following a surprise cancer diagnosis just three months into his two-year contract. The board had chosen Anger to lead the district after the resignation of Superintendent Rod Thompson, who is under police investigation for alleged misuse of district credit cards.
"It is most unfortunate that we have to have this meeting," said board Chairman Scott Swanson. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Gary and his entire family."