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Duluth hires new assistant superintendent, interim director of curriculum

The Duluth School Board unanimously approved the hire of two administrative positions during a special meeting Tuesday.

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Anthony Bonds
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The Duluth School Board unanimously approved the hire of Anthony Bonds as assistant superintendent and Jen Larva as interim director of curriculum and instruction for the school district during a special meeting Tuesday.

The hiring process included application review, background and reference checks, a performance task and two rounds of interviews, the last with input from a diverse team of parents, teachers, administration staff and board members which provided feedback on leadership qualities through survey.

"We wanted to make sure that the hiring process for these two key leadership positions was as transparent and inclusive as possible," Superintendent John Magas said. "We ended up doing those interviews on the morning I started here, June 29, because I looked at it as one of the most critical things we could do."

Anthony Bonds hired as assistant superintendent

Anthony Bonds comes to the district from the Anniston City School District in Alabama where he served as executive director of curriculum and instruction. His previous experience also includes assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and innovation for the Beloit, Wisconsin, school district; director of elementary education at Sun Prairie, Wisconsin; principal and assistant principal for the Wauwatosa School District; and as a teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools.

"There were many, many strong candidates and it was a difficult decision to make because we had such strong candidates," Magas said. "What brought Mr. Bonds to the top, in my opinion, was that he had very extensive experience in working with and supervising principals at the district level. He also had a really strong background in equity work and supporting all levels of learners."

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Bonds expects to complete a doctorate in K-12 leadership from Edgewood College in Wisconsin in May 2021 and holds a master's degree in administrative leadership from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Morris Brown College.

Magas worked with Bonds previously at Sun Prairie School District.

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Jen Larva

Lowell principal to become interim director of curriculum and instruction

Jen Larva's most recent position is principal at Lowell Elementary, where she collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Education Regional Centers of Excellence to develop, implement and support practice profiles in reading and mathematics. She provided leadership throughout the launch and implementation of two language immersion programs at Lowell and addressed equity through the school’s continuous improvement team and use of the tool for educational equity with staff and families.

Her previous experience includes director of school improvement for Cloquet Public Schools; principal in the Carlton school district; a classroom teacher and building technology coordinator for Cloquet Public Schools; and as an adjunct professor for the College of St. Scholastica.

She holds an education specialist's degree and advanced graduate certificate in educational administration from St. Mary's University; a master's of education in educational computing and technology from the University of Minnesota Duluth; and a bachelor's degree in elementary education and reading instruction from St. Cloud State University.

The position is as interim director, as Magas said the district is currently looking at the administration's organizational chart to see "what offices best align to support our schools."

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Joanna Walters

Assistant principal at Denfeld High School hired

Joanna Walters was also announced Tuesday as the new assistant principal at Denfeld High School. Her experience includes dean of students at Denfeld, Myers-Wilkins Elementary and Lincoln Park Middle Schools. She also has a background as a music instructor for Unity, Lincoln Park, Duluth East, Woodland Middle School, Morgan Park Middle School, Duluth Central High School and Lowell Elementary. She taught orchestra, choir and world percussion.

Walters holds a degree in educational administration from the University of Minnesota Duluth, a masters of arts in education from the College of St. Catherine and a bachelor of arts in music education from UMD.

Related Topics: EDUCATIONDULUTH PUBLIC SCHOOLSDULUTH SCHOOL BOARD
Teri Cadeau is a general assignment and neighborhood reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cadeau has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area for eight years including: The Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.
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