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Candidate for WDC superintendent: I didn't withdraw

The Wadena-Deer Creek School Board, when asked why it held no public meetings to choose a superintendent, claimed one of the top two candidates -- Dr. Charles Rick -- withdrew, leaving no choice but to hire Virginia Dahlstrom.

That's news to him.

Reached last week, Rick, superintendent at St. Louis County Schools, said he was surprised by the board's claim that he withdrew.

Rick said he was asked during his interview on Friday, Feb. 1 if he was ready to accept the job on that day. He said he explained he was a candidate for another superintendent job in New Prague, but was still interested in the Wadena-Deer Creek job. Rick said he drove home that night with the idea he was still in the running.

Late that night or early the next morning -- Rick wasn't sure which -- he received a phone call notifying him the WDC School Board had chosen someone else. They went another way, he was told.

WDC School Board Chairwoman Judy Taves, and the district's attorney, Sue Torgerson, said Rick had withdrawn on the day he visited WDC, negating his candidacy for the top spot in the district.

No public meetings were held between Feb. 1 and Feb. 27, when the school board approved an already-signed contract with Dahlstrom. No meeting minutes contain any action of the board to choose Dahlstrom. When asked at the conclusion of the Feb. 27 meeting when a decision had been made to hire Dahlstrom and not Rick, Taves said "one of the candidates was no longer available." She then referred comment to the school board's attorney, Sue Torgerson.

Torgerson said in an interview the following day that the board understood that "they only had one candidate that was still interested."

When asked when the board chose Virginia Dahlstrom, Torgerson said it chose Dahlstrom at the Feb. 27 meeting.

Rick said he was interested in the Wadena-Deer Creek job. After being notified he would not get the job, Rick said he followed through on the process with the New Prague district, and didn't get that job. He remains on the job with St. Louis County Schools in Virginia, Minn., where he is superintendent.