Hebron School Board hires OslandHEBRON — Dr. Robert Osland of Wyoming wants to end on a high note in Hebron.
By: Stefanie Briggs, The Dickinson Press
HEBRON — Dr. Robert Osland of Wyoming wants to end on a high note in Hebron.
Currently Osland is an adjunct professor of child psychology classes at Laramie County Community College, but has recently accepted a contract with the Hebron Public School District to be superintendent there.
Osland has agreed to a 2-year contract for $64,000 to begin July 1. Osland will come back to the area later this month to look for housing.
Osland has been an educator for about 40 years, bouncing between Wyoming and North Dakota and working in all grades from secondary to post-secondary education. He grew up in Mayville.
“I retired out of the Wyoming school system,” Osland said. “I was able to pick up some work with the college and enjoyed that. I saw the job opening in Hebron and my chance to get back to the state.”
Although Osland is seemingly at the tail end of his career, he was looking again to be a superintendent with a small school district. He hopes to stay in Hebron for his remaining career and retirement thereafter.
Osland first received a bachelor’s of science degree in education from Mayville State College and taught mainly science and math in North Dakota and Wyoming. Osland is familiar with the southwest region since he taught at South Heart Public School District from 1976 until 1979. He met his wife, Karen, in Dickinson who was teaching in Wibaux, Mont. at the time.
“I did my graduate school work at Montana State University in Bozeman in school administration and curriculum instruction which was my interest,” Osland said. “I went to Minot as the secondary curriculum coordinator for four years and then went to Green River, Wyo., which is in the western part of that state.”
In Wyoming, Osland was the special education coordinator and worked on curriculum for grades K-12.
From there, Osland bounced back to North Dakota and was superintendent in Williston Public School District. He has also taught in the education department at his alma mater in Mayville, but then left for another superintendent job at Carbon County School District 2 in Wyoming. He was there two years ago before he retired for a short time and then became an adjunct professor.
“I enjoy school administration work,” Osland said. “My goal was to get to a smaller school district and I enjoy the western area of North Dakota. I like that Hebron is a smaller school system and I have a good understanding of the North Dakota school process.”
His son Jeff is going to school in Laramie, Wyo. and his daughter Heather is married to Dickinson native Jamie Privratsky. They live in Milwaukee.
“I was excited about the possibility and potential (at Hebron),” Osland said. “The people are close knit, but there’s a friendly atmosphere, openness and a desire to look to the future.”
Osland said he is still getting to know the district to understand the needs to be addressed in it.
“The number one priority is always the kids’ learning,” Osland said. “You always do what you can to make it better for them. There will always be issues like keeping a bus fleet in good condition or working on professional development for staff, but it’s all to have the best school district possible.”
Osland was chosen from two other candidates interviewed for the position by the Hebron Public School Board of Education. The current interim superintendent is Gerald Quintus who retired in the spring of 2007 as the Richardton-Taylor Public School superintendent, where he had been for the past 12 years.
Quintus was hired in August 2007 with Hebron until a replacement was found at the end of this school year. His contract with the district ends June 30.
Former Hebron Superintendent Jeffery Watts was at the school district for a year until he put in his resignation in April. Watts resigned for personal reasons. He filled the position following previous Superintendent George Ding retiring after 15 years as superintendent for the district.
The other two candidates interviewed by the Hebron school board were Glen Ullin Public High School Principal Larry Sebastian and district administrator Larry Swanson at Norman County East School District in Twin Valley, Minn.
The board hired the McPherson & Jacobson LLC Executive Recruitment and Development agency to find a full-time superintendent last year.
Hebron school board members Warren Woroniecki, Grant Walth and Michyle Stern agreed it was Osland’s breadth of experience and qualifications that set him apart from the other candidates.
“This is our third superintendent in three years,” Woroniecki said. “It’ll be nice to have someone with his experience to help get our school back to fully functioning.”
Osland has a good idea where money is spent in small schools, he added.
Walth agreed superintendents have been hard to come by for the district.
“We’re still doing well, but with a full-time superintendent we can get the school back on track with long term planning, curriculum (work) and the budget,” Woroniecki said. “He (Osland) has the best to offer with experience and ideas.”
New school board member Stern said Osland is a dynamic individual.
“He has a good understanding of all aspects of what is required of administration,” Stern said. “Anyone can interview well and not be what you expected, but we went through a process where teachers, staff and non-certified staff met him along with the board. We compiled questions previously asked of Mr. Watts that came from the current administration and community to address different peoples’ concerns.”
When it came down to the decision-making time, Stern said the board reviewed the questions, concerns and comments to get an idea of what was desired by all.
“It’s important to us as board members that staff (and others) were happy,” Stern said of the decision. “All the candidates were qualified to be superintendent, but we were looking at the person as a whole too. He (Osland) was the best fit.”