Reader's View: Superintendent Gronseth will be missed

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I wish to express my appreciation to Bill Gronseth for his service as a Duluth educator and community leader.

During his tenure as superintendent of Duluth public schools, Gronseth was responsible for completing the modernization of our facilities and increasing educational opportunities for all students.

The successes of distance learning during COVID-19 can be linked to his years-long push for infrastructure improvements and teacher training.

As superintendent, Gronseth listened to diverse communities and invited them into decision-making processes. He knew he needed grassroots advocates — like my wife, who became a special-education and inclusion advocate for our daughter and, importantly, for all families. He raised, and consistently met, expectations for respecting input from families and the public.

Gronseth worked with allies and opponents on school boards to increase the value of a diploma from the Duluth public schools. He did this because it was the right thing to do and because he himself has a Denfeld diploma and rooted pride in Duluth.


Before he “went downtown,” Gronseth’s talents and temperament inspired fifth-graders at Laura MacArthur Elementary. A fun and effective teacher makes a classroom work. Gronseth helped Duluth see public education as a civic, community, political, economic, and social enterprise. He was honest about the challenges of paying for the lofty goals of education.

We did not always like where we were as a district, but we could have confidence about where Gronseth was leading us.

He understood that taxpayers, staff, and families can provide schools and instruction, but it is up to individual students to do the learning. We saw his patience, grace, and calmness in the classroom. We saw these qualities tested, but never lost, in his years downtown. That speaks to his character and the reasons he will be missed.

David Bolgien


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