HAWARDEN—Boyden-Hull School District superintendent Steve Grond will serve as the shared superintendent with the West Sioux School District to start the 2019-20 academic year.
Grond, a 15-year veteran superintendent, will replace West Sioux’s former superintendent Ryan Kramer.
The West Sioux School District Board of Education approved hiring Grond during a special meeting with the Boyden-Hull board on June 27.
Grond began his shared job duties July 1. He overall salary will be $165,000 for the 2019-20 school year and $170,000 for the 2020-21 school year.
“I love public education,” the 54-year-old said. “I have been around the block once or twice and have some knowledge; I want to help out.”
In the first year, Grond will spend 60 percent of his time at West Sioux and 40 percent at Boyden-Hull, with each district providing the same percentage in funding.
In following years, the position will be split 50-50.
“Part of the success behind this, I believe, is just not being a sit-behind-the-desk kind of guy,” Grond said. “I asked for the 60-40 between the two schools because I feel I need to spend more time here to develop relationships.”
He plans to bring a sense of calmness and steadiness to the West Sioux School District, which he thinks he has brought to Boyden-Hull.
“A persistent vision of moving forward, not just being satisfied with where we have been,” Grond said. “Just a vision of trying to get better each day.”
He plans to be accessible to the staff ensuring he wants to be part of the West Sioux community instead of only being “the guy held up here in the office.”
Grond also said the shared superintendent position will give him an opportunity to take a risk.
“I have always encouraged teachers and administrators to not be afraid to take risks,” he said. “The worst that will happen is you fail, but at least you know you did it. I think we are all looking for ways to grow and I think this will help me stretch a little. I am not saying there won’t be challenges, we are right in the midst of enormous building project, but I am just looking to help.”
Grond said communication will be his top priority in making sure the agreement works for both school districts.
“Also having a clear vision of what we want to get done,” he said.
While Grond said Boyden-Hull and West Sioux may have different ways to achieve a vision, the overall goal in both school districts remains the same.
“We all want kids to achieve at high levels and become confident and productive citizens,” Grond said. “The basics are the same, but I think both of us can get there.”
He will be working alongside another new West Sioux hire, Alynn Coppock, as high school and middle school principal.
“It is a real opportunity; we have a fresh set of eyes,” Grond said.
West Sioux also is seeking applications for dean of students, a new position in the high school/middle school that will be responsible for attendance, discipline, safety and related student personnel services and perform the duties within the authority and responsibility delegated by the principal. The purpose of the position will allow the middle school/high school principal to spend more time in the classrooms and dealing with the educational needs of students and supporting teachers.
The hope of the position is that it will help with the transition from a full-time to half-time superintendent. Grond said it is another position that will be a key asset to help move the culture at West Sioux forward.
Grond earned his bachelor’s degree form Northwestern College in Orange City in 1988, a master’s degree from South Dakota State University in Brookings in 2002 and an educational specialist degree in 2004 from the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota.
He and his wife, Greta, have four daughters: Eleanor, a 2017 Boyden-Hull graduate who will be a junior at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls; Margaret, a 2019 Boyden-Hull graduate who will be attending Northwestern University in Evanston, IL; Lydia, who will be a junior in Boyden-Hull; and Josie, who will be a sophomore at Boyden-Hull.
While two of his daughters are involved in several activities at Boyden-Hull, Grond knows it will be important for him to attend activities at West Sioux as well.
“It won’t be as easy, but I just want people to know I am interested in the West Sioux School District and happy to be apart of it,” Grond said. “However, I do still plan to attend as many of our daughters activities as well.”
While most people are looking forward to retirement, Grond said he is not.
“The closer I get to end of my career in education, the more I don’t want to get there,” Grond said. “I love education and I am just as passionate about education as I was when it all began 45 years ago at my first job teaching high school business and social studies in Watertown, South Dakota.”
As far as what Grond plans to do at the school district to improve things, he could not name exact items, rather he thinks he must first learn the culture at West Sioux as well as getting to know those living in the district.
“Before you come in and start making changes, you better know why you are doing it,” Grond said. “The first four to five months I just want to get to know the people.”