5 complaints filed against Parendo during career at Proctor Public Schools

According to data requested by the News Tribune, Parendo had five complaints made to the school district against him, ranging from 2007 to October 2021.

Former Proctor football head coach Derek Parendo watches Proctor girls soccer compete during the Class AA state quarterfinal on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, at Irondale High School in New Brighton, Minn. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Former teacher and football coach Derek Parendo had five complaints filed against him while working for Proctor Public Schools.

According to data obtained by the News Tribune, the complaints were made in April 2007, November 2017, October 2018, September 2021 and October 2021. When reached by phone Tuesday evening, Parendo declined to provide a comment for this article.

Proctor Superintendent John Engelking said that “because there were no disciplinary actions taken, the nature of those complaints is not public data.” All the complaints were closed with no disciplinary action following investigations, Engelking told the News Tribune.

Proctor Public Schools Policy 301 states that a person may file a complaint about a staff member at any level in the district, but people are encouraged to file complaints at the building level when appropriate.


Proctor football head coach Derek Parendo talks to quarterback Carter St. Germaine during a game against Cloquet on Sept. 3, 2021, at Egerdahl Field in Proctor. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

According to the policy, depending on the nature and seriousness of the complaint, the supervisor or administrator receiving the complaint shall determine “the nature and scope of the investigation or follow-up procedures.” The policy also states if the complaint involves “serious allegations” it should be “promptly” referred to the superintendent, who would then determine whether an internal or external investigation should be conducted. The superintendent would, in this case, also determine who the investigator into the matter would be.


Engelking started in Proctor Public Schools as the superintendent in 2009. Tim Rohweder was hired as Proctor High School principal in 2014.
The St. Louis County Attorney's Office announced Oct. 25 it had received a referral from the Proctor Police Department following the recent criminal investigation involving some members of the Proctor High School football team.

According to a news release, the county attorney's office will conduct a thorough review of the evidence before making any decisions regarding charges.

Football activities for Proctor football players in grades 9-12 were canceled in September.

Proctor Police Chief Kent Gaidis told the News Tribune in October the incident was reported to the police department Sept. 16 at 2:05 p.m. In an interview with Fox 21, Parendo claimed the incident happened while he was watching his daughter play in a soccer game in Cloquet. The Proctor soccer team's only game in Cloquet this season was Sept. 8.

Engelking confirmed the investigation in an email to news outlets Sept. 22 and said the district was cooperating with police.


Proctor football players fill the back of a truck during the Hogshead parade on Aug. 21, 2021, in Proctor. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Terms of separation

Parendo resigned from all of his positions Oct. 5 and waived his rights to work in the district when he signed the separation agreement.

The separation agreement states “he agrees that he will not apply or otherwise seek reemployment by the school district at any time, and that the school district has no obligation to hire or employ him in the future in any capacity.”

The agreement also states that he will remain on paid personal leave of absence from his teacher and coaching positions for the remainder of the school year. The district will continue to pay the full premium for his family health insurance coverage and will make the contractual contribution to the Health Care Saving Plan pursuant to the teacher’s collective bargaining agreement after his resignation date.

Proctor football head coach Derek Parendo talks to his team during a game against Cloquet on Sept. 3, 2021, at Egerdahl Field in Proctor. Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

According to the separation agreement, Parendo had 21 days to consider the agreement before signing. The agreement also states that Parendo gives up the right to sue the district for a wide variety of claims including violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and the Age Discrimination Employment Act.


Parendo had seven days from signing to rescind his release of claims relating to federal age discrimination and 15 days to reinstate his claims, not yet filed, under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

If Parendo were to do either of these things, his leave would become unpaid and insurance benefits would cease.

Adelle Whitefoot is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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Bygones is researched and written by David Ouse, retired reference librarian from the Duluth Public Library. He can be contacted at
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