SAUK RAPIDS -- It's the first day on the job for the new superintendent of the Sauk Rapids-Rice school district.

Brad Bergstrom says one of the things that he likes about the community and why he applied for the job is the people and their commitment to education.

They passed a $37 million bond to build a new elementary school.  I look around here as we're standing outside the high school and district office, what a great place this is.  So just wanting to make sure that we're always doing what's right for kids and doing this together was really the draw for me.

Bergstrom says he and his wife also wanted to be closer to their two grown daughters.

He says when he was interviewing for the job it was clear to him that the school board was looking for someone who is going to be active in the community.

Number one is they wanted someone to continue to be visible and out in the community, which is something that I really value and want to do.  They don't want a superintendent that's going to sit in the office and not know who they are.

Bergstrom says the board was also looking for someone with good communication skills.

He says its difficult taking over as superintend during the COVID-19 pandemic, but at least he says all districts across the state are going through it together as they try to prepare for three different learning scenarios this fall. He says he'll be relying on the people already in place in the district to help formulate those plans.

Bergstrom spent the past four years as superintendent of the Thief River Falls school district, which was his first job as a superintendent, before that he spent time in Austin, Fergus Falls, and Indus school districts.

Bergstrom says he'll spend the next several weeks getting to know the district employees and various community leaders.

He takes over for former superintendent Aaron Sinclair who announced his resignation late last year.

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