Jim Wagner

Jim Wagner

LE SUEUR — A superintendent who is returning to Minnesota from the state of Wyoming will be the next leader of Le Sueur-Henderson Public Schools.

Jim Wagner will replace Supt. Marlene Johnson, who is leaving at the end of the school year.

The Le Sueur-Henderson School Board voted Thursday night to enter into contract negotiations with Wagner.

He is superintendent of Johnson County Public Schools, a district with six schools in Buffalo, Wyoming. Before moving West, he was superintendent of Kimball Area Schools near St. Cloud and before that a principal in Albert Lea.

Wagner has been a candidate for a number of other superintendent openings in Minnesota, including Waseca Public Schools last spring and Mankato Area Public Schools in 2019.

Wagner was the only candidate with whom the School Board conducted a second interview. The board had also selected Ted Ihns, who is a superintendent in Iowa, as a finalist. The board planned to interview him Wednesday before Wagner on Thursday. But Ihns withdrew his candidacy because the salary offer was too low, said Ed Waltman with the South Central Service Cooperative, which the district hired to lead the superintendent search.

Wagner is being offered an annual salary of $142,000, which Waltman said he recommended based on a survey of salaries in comparable area districts.

Johnson took the helm at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. She informed the board last spring she would not seek a new contract when it expires on June 30.

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