Hylla terminated as Menahga Elementary Principal

Community input is sought on the district’s strategic plan, along with participation in the committee.

Menahga School
Shannon Geisen / Park Rapids Enterprise

On a 4-1 vote, the Menahga School Board did not renew a contract with Elementary Principal Margaux Hylla.

The decision was made at their May 15 meeting, with board member Julia Kicker opposed to the nonrenewal.

Hylla’s contract will end on June 30.

Community survey

Community input is sought on the district’s strategic plan. The school board is working with the Minnesota School Boards Association to write with the plan.

Residents and school staff are invited to complete a survey. It will be available on the district’s website ( ) by clicking on the “Menahga Public School External Strategic Planning Survey” link. The survey ends at 11:59 p.m. on May 30.


Copies are also at the Menahga District Office (216 Aspen Ave. SE) or by contacting Elena Niemela at 218-564-4141 or to request a copy via mail or email.

Superintendent Jay Kjos reported that listening sessions were completed. “We listened to well over 200 people from all over our community,” he said.

He asked school board members to invite six to eight people to participate in the strategic planning committee. The commitment includes attending a one-hour listening session and three two-hour committee meetings.

Kjos will identify six to eight students, six to eight staff members, plus administrators to serve on the committee.

The goal is to have cross-representation on the committee, which can range from 25 to 50-plus members.

In other business, the board did this:

  • Accepted Newling Asphalt Services’ quote of $19,695 for parking lot repairs. The company is from Frazee.
  • Approved the purchase of a floor scrubber from Hillyard Cleaning Resource of Staples for $17,940.
  • Accepted Weizenegger-Engel Insurance Company’s $102,408 bid for auto, property, cyber, workers compensation and liability insurance.
  • Approved teaching contracts with Sheri Pickar, high school special education; Parker Syverson, elementary; and  Kari Kantola, elementary, all beginning with the 2023-2024 school year and contingent upon successful background check.
  • Accepted letters of resignation from Hunter Schroeder, elementary teacher, effective June 1; Lela Peterson, paraprofessional, effective April 28; and Nola Aho, food service, effective May 31. 
  • Approved Cornell Ylitalo as a bus driver, effective April 11.
  • Hired Cody Pulju as summer rec director for the 2023 season.
  • Approved the hiring of a grades 7-12 social worker.
  • Accepted the bid from Sysco’s bid as the district’s full-service food vendor for the 2023-24 school year.
  • Learned that music teacher April Hodge will teach a one-of-a-kind musicology class for special needs students next school year. It’s part of her master’s degree work.
  • Learned that the Menahga High School graduation will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 26 at the gym.
  • Approved four FMLA requests for up to 12 weeks, beginning Aug. 29, Sept. 5 or Sept. 6.

The next regular meeting is 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 19, 2023 at the school media center.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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