Thursday, May 30, 2024

Lutterman named next superintendent for Triton

Luke Lutterman is no stranger to Triton Public Schools.

When he was a kid he attended Triton, and for close to a decade he’s been a principal with the district.

Then of course there’s his biggest inspiration for going into education; his mom, who served for years as the administrative assistant for the elementary school.

Now Lutterman will have the chance to lead the district.

Come next July, Lutterman is expected to be the next superintendent pending successful contract negotiations. The School Board in a press release last week, announced an agreement between Lutterman and the School Board to enter into contract negotiations.

Current Superintendent Craig Schlichting is expected to retire at the end of next school year, after notifying the Board in January, according to School Board Chair Wendy Kenworthy.

“On May 1, four separate committees interviewed Luke Lutterman for the position of Superintendent,” Kenworthy wrote in a press release. “We had a diverse group of stakeholders. involved including administration, directors, staff, school board members, community members, and support groups. Following the individual committee interviews, the board met to discuss feedback. Given the feedback provided, I am happy to report that the school board voted unanimously to enter into negotiations with Luke Lutterman for the position of Superintendent.”

Back To Triton

Following college at St. Cloud State, Lutterman began his teaching career at a public charter school and was also the after-school program coordinator and the activities director for the school.

In 2010, he took a principal and activities director job at Rushford-Peterson Schools in southeast Minnesota. He was there for three years before going back to the St. Cloud area where he served as the high school activities director for Sauk Rapids-Rice High School.

Then it was 2016, and the middle school principal job opened up at Triton, which he said he was “fortunate enough to be successful in securing that position.”

In 2019, following budget reductions and restructuring, he became the middle/ high school principal.

Asked if he thought about going to Triton one day he said “it was always in the back of my mind.”

“Obviously, I had a tremendous experience at Triton myself,” Lutterman said, noting aside from his mother there were many people who inspired him to be a teacher.

In college, he said he wanted to be a teacher and a baseball coach.

“That was my number one goal as a college student. Things took a little bit of a different route but I’m excited about where I’m at,” Lutterman said.

Looking Ahead

Lutterman, during a phone interview with the DCI noted the job isn’t officially his, as himself and the School Board need to reach a contract agreement and for it to be ratified by the School Board.

Lutterman said for now his top priority is to continue serving as principal.

“My number one job is to be a principal,” he said. “I’m gonna do that to the best of my abilities every day. but if there are conversations going on about the future, I would assume that I would be more involved in those conversations than I would normally be.”

He also said he thinks it’s a positive he will be familiar with the school district, should he officially become the superintendent next year saying, “I’m thankful and grateful for the opportunity to be able to uh be close to the position for a year and continue a number of the great initiatives we have going on.”

“I think I’m at an advantage with that too, to be able to learn directly about the position for a year,” Lutterman said.

Asked about any ideas he has for when he takes over the role, he said “I would say like many other school districts continuing to prioritize teaching and learning, and making sure all of our students continue to make academic progress.”

He also pointed to having a budget “that is sustainable,” noting potentially looking at long term financial planning when doing the budgets.

Search For Superintendent

When Lutterman was in middle school, he had Schlichting in class, and he was an assistant football coach.

Now for the next year, he will continue to work for him and soon, will be taking over his old teacher’s desk.

“I give Mr. Lutterman my highest recommendation. I believe that Luke Lutterman will be an excellent superintendent,” Schlichting said.

Kenworthy said following the news of Schlichting expecting to retire in 2025, the search process began on Jan. 31, with a study session between the Board and a consultant to look at different options.

“The consultant reviewed a number of options that the board could consider at that meeting,” Kenworthy wrote in an email.

During the March 18 meeting, a decision was made to have a “special meeting” to approve the search process.

On April 10 it was decided to begin with an internal search.

“The school board decided to begin with an internal search and were prepared to do an external search if necessary,” Kenworthy wrote in an email.

Asked about picking a successor over a year in advance, Kenworthy said it earned the Triton School Board praise.

“This is a proactive approach that was discussed and applauded by MSBA (Minnesota School Boards Association) for having a succession plan for our future,” she wrote.


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