Deer River School Board Selects New Superintendent

At the May 11, 2020 School Board meeting the ISD 317 Board of Education hired Dr. Jeff Pesta to serve as the next superintendent of the Deer River Schools.  Dr. Pesta is currently the Interim Superintendent of the Hastings School District. Previous to this role he served as Superintendent of the Kenyon-Wanamingo Public Schools for six years.  His professional experience also includes serving as a Middle School Principal in Northfield for seven years, an Associate Principal in White Bear Lake for six years, and a science teacher in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District for six years.


The selection of Dr. Pesta follows a three-month search process kicked off in February with five Focus Groups of teachers, support staff, students, administrators, parents and community members as well staff/community survey respondents identifying the characteristics and skills desired in the superintendent.  The School Board adopted a New Superintendent Profile based on that stakeholder feedback, and candidates were assessed based on how well they matched the profile.   Seventeen candidates applied for the position and among them were eight Superintendents, four Executive Directors, three Principals, one Dean and one Instructional Coach.


The School Board interviewed five semi-finalists on Saturday, April 25 and selected three finalists to be interviewed on Monday, April 27 by a Stakeholder Group of teachers, support staff, administrators, students, parents and community members.  One of the three finalists withdrew from consideration, and two finalists were interviewed by the Stakeholder Group. Their feedback was shared with the School Board, and the School Board conducted a final interview of each of the two finalists that same evening. The School Board selected Dr. Jeff Pesta as the individual with whom they wished to enter into contract negotiations to serve as the District’s next superintendent.


Dr. Pesta received his BS in Biology and Business Administration from Mankato State University, his Master’s Degree in Science Education from the University of Minnesota, his Administrative Licensure from Mankato State University and his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of St. Thomas. The start date for Dr. Pesta will be July 1, 2020.