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Duluth Schools finance head takes state position; assistant superintendent not chosen for Michigan job

Cathy Erickson is set to be the next school finance director at the Minnesota Department of Education. Anthony Bonds, assistant superintendent, didn’t make it to the final round of interviews for a superintendent job in suburban Detroit.

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DULUTH — One high-level Duluth Public Schools administrator is heading to the state government while another is staying put.

Cathy Erickson, the district’s chief financial officer, is set to be the next director of school finance for the Minnesota Department of Education. District officials announced Erickson's new gig during a board meeting Tuesday.

Superintendent John Magas said the news was “bittersweet” for the school district. Erickson, Magas said, was instrumental in helping the district rebuild its savings — “unrestricted fund balance” — and led its sale of the Historic Old Central High School building in downtown Duluth. She also successfully lobbied for legislation that let the district issue bonds for a new transportation and administration center on the hilltop site of Central High School.

“She has really righted our financial ship,” Magas said. “I can’t think of a single individual that is more heartfelt in her resolution to serving the district.”

Moody’s Investors Service now claims the district’s creditworthiness is “investment” grade, rather than “speculative.”

At the state education department, Erickson is set to succeed Terri Yetter, who's held the job since February 2020. Erickson told the News Tribune she considers Tom Melcher, who held the post before Yetter and spent decades in school finance, a hero of hers. It’s a little overwhelming, she told the News Tribune, to follow in the footsteps of two people she’s admired for so long.

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“My passion for school finance is a little on the nerdy side,” Erickson told board members Monday. “And the opportunity to get to help the entire state of Minnesota is just an opportunity I just didn't feel I could pass up.”

Erickson also serves on the Two Harbors City Council. She said she plans to retain that office and mostly work remotely for the education department, which is headquartered in suburban St. Paul.

Bonds doesn’t advance in Ferndale search

Meanwhile, Anthony Bonds, the district’s assistant superintendent of teaching, learning and equity, was not among the second round of finalists for a superintendent job in Michigan.

Anthony Bonds is one of five superintendent applicants at Ferndale Public Schools scheduled to interview later this week.

Officials at Ferndale Public Schools in suburban Detroit selected Bonds and four other applicants for interviews earlier this month, but he was not one of the two finalists named June 11. Ferndale School Board members ultimately chose Bobbie Hayes Goodrum, an assistant superintendent at another Detroit-area school district, for the job June 15.

Last summer, Bonds was a finalist for a superintendent job at Robbinsdale Area Schools in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, but was also not offered that job.

Bonds did not return a News Tribune request for comment earlier this week.

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From the column: "A broad range of efforts and events are underway in the Northland right now to foster a more welcoming culture."

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Joe Bowen is an award-winning reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. He covers schools and education across the Northland.

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