Tricounty News

School board ends year on emotional note

Board chair, business manager end long careers with the school district and board

The last school board meeting of the year was bittersweet for both business manager Nick Thielen and board chair Frank Eder. 

Thielen announced his retirement several weeks ago, effective Jan. 6. Cathy Wuertz has been promoted to replace him, and Thielen has agreed to stay on part-time to work especially with the school construction project. He may be retiring, but he’s not going far.w-EVW school board
School administration (principals and superintendent) praised Thielen for his willingness always to help. His extensive ties to the community have proved invaluable during his 15 year career in the district. Thielen also was praised as a great mentor.

Eder chose not to run for board again this year. He also is retiring from his day job. Eder has served on the school board for the past 27 1/2 years. He plans to spend some time with grandchildren, and then drive bus. He, too, is not going far.

This last meeting was harder for Eder than he’d planned.

High school principal Bruce Kiehn thanked Eder for his leadership. “He was on the board in 1985 when I came on as a teacher,” Kiehn said.

Elementary principal Rob Pederson also had glowing things to say about the two men. Pederson commented that, when he became a principal, he didn’t know what a business manager did, but that now he knows how indispensible one is.

Superintendent Mark Messman interviewed with Eder and others for the superintendent position nearly a year ago. “I wanted to work with someone like Frank,” Messman said. 

Both Thielen and Eder were praised over and over for their understanding of students and their needs, at all levels. They both have worked hard to make students top priority.

Wuertz, who is gradually filling Thielen’s shoes, later commented that none of these glowing comments about the two men were exaggerated. “They’re spot-on,” she said.

Both Thielen and Eder will be sorely missed, as they will miss their roles in the district. But they haven’t gone away for good, and their examples will live on as a legacy.

In its main business of the evening, the school board also:

• Approved promotion of Holly Lahr to Payroll Specialist, effective Jan. 7.

• Heard about construction progress: cabinets, carpet and doors are in; painting is ongoing; still waiting for moisture content to go down before installing the wood floor in the gym. (Once installed, there can be no activity on the gym floor for four weeks.) It is hoped that the new gym will be available some time in February, but they are not going to rush it.

• Set board meetings in 2013 for the second Wednesday of the month, to begin at 6:30 p.m.

• Certified the 2012 (payable 2013) levy as presented at the last meeting: a 3.5-percent reduction overall.

The next board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, in the board room.