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Dahlstrom signs two-year deal

Despite being courted -- and becoming a finalist -- for the superintendent job in larger school districts, Dr. Virginia Dahlstrom has signed a two-year contract to serve as superintendent of Wadena-Deer Creek District 2155.

Dahlstrom, who took over her present duties in July 2008, is in the final year of a three-year contract. When she did not have a written contract offer at the beginning of 2011, Dahlstrom began applying for superintendent positions in other communities. She was a finalist for jobs at Faribault and Red Wing.

The WDC school board made a written contract offer to Dahlstrom Jan. 25. The board approved a written contract package Feb. 22 which Dahlstrom signed on Feb. 25 along with school board chairman Ann Pate and board clerk Dan Toedter.

Dahlstrom, who did not disclose the terms of her new contract, was seeking a salary increase and additional benefits commiserate with similar-sized districts in the area. The WDC district started the year with 1,001 students.

"I am very happy to remain at Wadena-Deer Creek Schools, and I am proud of this education community (Bluffton, Deer Creek and Wadena)," Dahlstrom said. "Our staff and community members stepped up during hard times -- and continue to be progressive in providing WDC students a quality education. I am pleased my contract is signed and we can focus on the business of improving instruction and building a new school."

Dahlstrom led a successful levy referendum effort in November 2009 after two previous referendums were rejected by voters.

Dahlstrom has been extremely busy since June 17, 2010 when an EF-4 tornado destroyed the Wadena-Deer Creek Secondary School. The ground-breaking ceremony for the new school building is set for May 6.

Dahlstrom is noted for her personable and dedicated nature.

"Virginia is able to talk to the people," Pate said.

Pate recalled passing the district administrative offices on New Year's Eve last year and seeing Dahlstrom's car parked outside the building. A 12-13 hour day is not unusual for the WDC superintendent.

"She's just so dedicated," Pate said.