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WHS principal resigns, to be replaced by assistant principal

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington High School assistant principal Paul Karelis was promoted to principal Friday morning after the resignation of Scott Backer was accepted by the District 518 Board of Education.

"(Scott)'s going with his family and excited to make this move," said John Landgaard, District 518 superintendent, referring to Scott's wife, Jennifer Backer, who resigned her position as Worthington Middle School assistant principal to become a principal in Faribault earlier this summer.

"We're going to wish him the best no matter what he decides to do, whether it's teaching, administration or being a stay-at-home dad," Landgaard added.

The board approved several other administrative staffing moves Tuesday, which will be made official with contract signings at a later date.

Prairie Elementary School's assistant principal, Jeff Luke, will become Worthington Middle School's assistant principal. Josh Noble, an EBD teacher at Prairie Elementary who was recently licensed as an administrator, will fill Luke's position as assistant principal. Keith Fleming, the Area Learning Center coordinator, will take Karelis' position as assistant principal at WHS.

"These changes are quite wide-sweeping and dramatic," Landgaard said. "... I see this all as a positive thing."

The board did not formally approve the changes, but were unanimously in favor of them. One factor cited was the difficulty of finding good candidates from outside the district so close to the start of the school year.

"I think it's in the best interests of the district," said board member Lowell Nystrom.

The ALC coordinator position is the only one that remains unfilled. It will likely be made into a .75 time position.

In other news Friday, the board approved an out-of-state travel request for Deb Harberts and Jolene Calvin to attend a Literacy in a Responsive Classroom Conference in Edgerton, Wis.