Thursday, August 11 2022

DULUTH — A top Duluth public schools administrator is heading to state government while another remains behind.

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

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

“She really straightened out our financial vessel,” Magas said. “I can’t think of a single person who is more sincere in their resolve to serve the district.”

At the state Department of Education, Erickson is expected to succeed Terri Yetter, who has held the position since February 2020. Erickson told the News Tribune that she considers Tom Melcher, who held the position before Yetter and spent decades in school finances, as one of his heroes. It’s a bit overwhelming, she told the News Tribune, to follow in the footsteps of two people she’s admired for so long.

“My passion for school finances is a bit corny,” Erickson told board members Monday. “And the opportunity to help the entire state of Minnesota is just an opportunity that I just didn’t think I could pass up.”

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

Bonds do not advance in the search for Ferndale

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

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

Last summer, Bonds was a finalist for a position as superintendent at Robbinsdale-area schools in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, but that position was also not offered to him.

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

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