A gala event honoring Denny Carlson, the retiring Anoka-Hennepin schools superintendent, was held Thursday night with one prominent guest unable to make it: Denny Carlson.

Carlson, the head of Minnesota’s largest school district, wasn’t playing hooky. He was in Woodstock, N.Y., to celebrate the birth of his grandson, Gideon Lee Carlson Cook. Gideon entered the world at 11:35 p.m. Wednesday, weighing 8 pounds, 11 ounces. Both baby and grandfather are reportedly doing fine.

Plans were for Tom Heidemann, chairman of the Anoka-Hennepin school board, to speak on Carlson’s behalf at Thursday’s event in Andover.