Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius wants to be the superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools.

Just not yet.

On Monday, the district will announce six semifinalists for the job. A rumor has been going around education circles that Cassellius applied.

She didn’t, but said she would have if the timing was different.

“If it was later, like after the governor’s term, yes.” Cassellius said. “How can you not? I love my community.”

Cassellius said she is “still serving the people of Minnesota” and needs to get all children access to universal pre-kindergarten, one of Gov. Mark Dayton’s top priorities.

“We will see what happens when I’m done with this,” she said.

Cassellius was a teacher, principal and administrator in Minneapolis before following former Superintendent Carol Johnson to Memphis in 2004 to serve as academic superintendent of middle schools. In 2007, Cassellius worked in Oklahoma City for a short time before being returning to Minneapolis Public Schools under former superintendent Bernadeia Johnson. She then oversaw the East Metro Integration District for less than a year before Dayton appointed her as the state’s education commissioner in 2010.

Cassellius’ children attend Minneapolis Public Schools.

“I worked there. My kids go there. I live in the community and care deeply about what’s going on,” she said.

Interim Superintendent Michael Goar, who worked with Cassellius in Minneapolis and Memphis, has said he wants the job permanently.

Alejandra Matos

Richfield STEM School to host Veterans Day program

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and state Lt. Gov. Tina Smith are expected to attend Richfield STEM School’s annual Veterans Day program next week.

The elementary school typically sends out invitations to elected officials for its student-led program. Two years ago, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison addressed students at the program.

Principal Joey Page said it gives these officials a chance to be in the schools, but also to “help us in representing and being thankful for veterans.” The school reaches far and wide with its invitations — including an offer to the White House.

“President Obama hasn’t taken me up on it yet,” Page said.

The program, which is open to the public, begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the school cafeteria, starting with a color guard presentation and remarks from Klobuchar. Students will sing, and the school will share videos for students with veterans in their families. It will close with words from Smith.

Beena Raghavendran

New performing arts center opens at Simley High School

Construction is coming to a close on Simley High School’s new performing arts center, which accommodates 750 people, more than twice as many as the old space.

Students will put on the first shows in the new theater — several performances of “Footloose” — next weekend.

The theater is part of a larger, $14 million improvement project to the Inver Grove Heights school. A new athletic building was added, along with improved music rooms, a remodeled front office and flexible learning spaces — open areas students can use for different purposes.

A public open house was held in the performing arts center this week.

Erin Adler