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Farmington superintendent not chosen for Iowa City job

Brad Meeks.

Superintendent Brad Meeks is staying put in Farmington, at least for now.

The Iowa City Community School District announced Tuesday that it will hire Wausau, Wis., superintendent Steve Murley as its next superintendent. Meeks was one of three finalists to receive a second interview for the job, along with Elk River superintendent Mark Bezek.

The Iowa City board came away from a 2 1/2-hour closed meeting Sunday without a final decision on its new superintendent, but board president Patty Fields said Monday she was happy with the quality of all three finalists. The board announced its decision Tuesday during its regular meeting.

"Steve just had all the qualities that we were looking for in a superintendent," Fields said before Tuesday's meeting. "He's got great communication skills, has a long record of bringing in input to make effective decisions. He is a good fit for our community."

Fields also had kind words for Meeks. She praised his "strong background in education and administration" and his approach to collaboration.

"We were very lucky to have three very excellent finalists," Fields said.

Representatives from the Iowa City board called Meeks midday Tuesday to inform him of the decision. Meeks has said all along he is happy in Farmington, but there was still some disappointment. He called the Iowa City position a unique opportunity.

Still, he was happy with the process.

"It was a good experience," Meeks said. "It's the first time I've formally interviewed since I came to Farmington.

The Iowa City decision came as good news to Farmington School Board chair Bob Heman, who said he looks forward to continuing the projects that have been started under Meeks' leadership in ISD 192.

Heman said he told Meeks that while he would be happy for the superintendent if he were hired in Iowa, he'd be even happier to keep him around.

"I was very hopeful that he would stick around, and it worked out," Heman said. "I'm very pleased that he's sticking with us."

Despite being a finalist for the Iowa City job Meeks said he is not actively seeking another position. He said his wife, an Iowa native, pointed out the Iowa City job to him. His son, Devon, signed a letter of intent last year to swim for the University of Iowa in Iowa City and Meeks said the community and the district appealed to him when he visited the campus with his son.

Meeks, who came to Farmington from Aberdeen, S.D., in 2003, said he liked the idea of working in a district located in the same city as a college.

Meeks said he is contacted from time to time by superintendent search firms, but that "99 percent of the time I'm not interested."

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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