Education commissioner applies for superintendent job

Minneapolis Public Schools is looking for a new superintendent, and the state’s commissioner of education has applied for the job.

Brenda Cassellius revealed in April she is a candidate to lead the district, which has been without a permanent superintendent since Bernadeia Johnson resigned in early 2015. The Board of Education is on its second attempt to fill the position after the first search process fell apart over the winter.

Who else might be in the running this time around isn’t yet known. The board delegated the responsibility of reviewing applicants to an 11-member superintendent selection committee, and the plan is to only make public the names of top finalists.

The board plans to vote on one of those finalists by the end of May.

The news that Cassellius was in the running for Minneapolis superintendent was first reported by the Star Tribune. Last fall, she told the paper she considered applying during the first superintendent search, but that the timing wasn’t right for her.

Josh Collins, the department’s director of communications, said the commissioner would not be giving interviews on the topic and forwarded this written statement from Cassellius:

“As a Minneapolis resident and parent, I love this city and its schools. I know that if Minnesota is going to be successful in closing achievement gaps and ensuring an excellent education for all students, Minneapolis Public Schools must also be successful.

“I was approached by DHR, the firm conducting the search for a new Minneapolis superintendent, to consider applying for the Minneapolis superintendency. In thinking about it, I see this as an opportunity to extend my service to our state, and have submitted my name for consideration. No matter how the school board’s process moves forward, my work as commissioner continues. I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure the district’s success, whether as commissioner or as superintendent.”

Cassellius’ education career began in the early 1990s when she was a social studies teacher in the St. Paul and Burnsville districts. She went on to serve as an assistant principal in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, then joined former Minneapolis Public Schools superintendent Carol Johnson in Memphis in 2004, where she was academic superintendent.

Cassellius returned to Minneapolis in 2007, where she was associate superintendent for secondary schools before taking over as superintendent of the East Metro Integration District in 2010. Gov. Mark Dayton appointed her education commissioner later that same year.