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Frank is Blackduck Elementary’s new principal

BLACKDUCK -- After a five-year hiatus, Susan Frank is at the head of a school again.

Sue FrankBlackduck Public School’s board on Monday unanimously a measure to hire Frank, who’ll be the new elementary school principal there, effective July 31. Frank taught sixth grade at Wrenshall School District for the past five years, but was a K-12 principal there for the preceding nine and another six before that at the Indus School in northern Minnesota.

“I really like working with kids of all ages, and I've oftentimes like the challenge of administration because it changes day to day or hour to hour,” Frank told the American.

Frank was a regular in the Wrenshall cafeteria, she said, and made a point of socializing with as many of the 350 or so students there as she could.

“They called me the ketchup lady because I served ketchup,” she said with a laugh. “They would come through the lunch line and then they would come see me for the condiments, and I would talk to almost every kid almost every's just nice because you're not always correcting kids or disciplining kids. It's a positive place where you can learn about kids and their day and how things are going.”

In Blackduck, parents and students can expect to run into her in the halls, classrooms, and at elementary events, she said.

“I don't spend a ton of time sitting behind my desk in my office,” Frank said. “I'm really happy to be here and everybody I've met has been really warm and welcoming. Everybody's really nice and they say I'm gonna love it here and I really think I am.”

Frank is replacing Alexis Wilde, who is set to become Bemidji Area Schools’ new director of special education.

In related news:

  • Seven candidates filed for three open seats on Blackduck’s School Board. They are, in alphabetical order by last name: Tog Anderson, Kurt Gross, Chris Henriksen, Rachel Larson, Jacob Lien, Brian Merrill, and Cynthia Nord. Henriksen was first appointed to the board in 2013 to fill a spot vacated by a retiring member. Larson was first elected in 2010, and Nord in 2000.
  • The School Board approved a revision to their long-term facilities and maintenance plan Monday, which is amended annually and documents how the district plans to spend money it receives from the state for building improvements. The plan calls for the school district to spend about $197,000 this fiscal year, $118,000 of which will pay for a new HVAC system at Blackduck High School and $30,000 of which will pay for a new propane system. The district receives about $248,000 per year from the state for expenses like that.
  • A series of renovations at the ball fields near Blackduck Public School are underway, and organizers hope to have them completed by the end of October. The project aims to build a new, permanent concession stand and bathrooms near the existing baseball and softball fields, add a press box to both fields, and new dugouts at the baseball field. It’ll cost about $120,000 to $130,000, according to Dwight Kalvig, the Drakes head varsity baseball coach. He said organizers are still working to secure the remaining $20,000 to $25,000 they need for the project.
  • Board members evaluated Superintendent Mark Lundin, who also serves as the high school’s principal, in a non-public meeting last month. Board Chair Cynthia Nord summarized their findings like this at the board’s Aug. 13 meeting: “At this time the board of education at Black Public Schools believes that Mark Lundin is doing an excellent job both in his role as superintendent and high school principal. There are only two concerns which were addressed by the board. Number one: Mr. Lundin needs to spend a little more time in classrooms when at all possible in his role as a high school principal. And number two: the board is concerned about burnout because of the overload of duties. He needs to learn how to say no at times.”
Joe Bowen

Joe Bowen covers education (mostly K-12) and American Indian affairs for the Bemidji Pioneer.

He's from Minneapolis, earned a degree from the College of St. Benedict - St. John's University in 2009, and worked at the Perham Focus near Detroit Lakes and Sun Newspapers in suburban Minneapolis before heading to the Pioneer.

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