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Parkside school principal chosen
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MONROE - The Monroe school board Monday may have shored up its leadership at Parkside Elementary School with less than a month until the first day of classes.

The board offered a two-year contract to Todd Paradis, a DeForest school district elementary school teacher, said Larry Brown, Monroe superintendent, after the school board meeting at the District Administrative Center.

"What struck me with Todd was he ranked one or two by everyone who interviewed him," Brown said.

It is unusual for candidates to receive high marks from different groups of people during the interview process because each person interviewing a candidate will view that person from a different perspective, he said. The groups interviewing Paradis liked his team-building and collaboration abilities, his passion and his student-based approach to education, Brown said.

Paradis was interviewed by an advisory group, comprised of Parkside staff and parents and Amy Timmerman, Northside Elementary School principal; and a group of administrative staff in separate interviews Aug. 3. Paradis and another candidate were interviewed in closed session Monday prior to the school board meeting.

Paradis, who has been at the DeForest district for five years, was among six candidates the board considered after taking in about 40 applications in late June after the district received a letter of resignation from former Parkside principal Eric Huinker, Brown said.

Huinker is no longer employed by the district, he said. The board accepted Huinker's resignation in early July. Huinker had two years left on his contract, which ran through June 30, 2012. Huinker was no longer the principal as of early June in an apparently sudden change. At the time, Brown said the change was a personnel issue. Huinker replaced long-time Parkside principal Jim Brunette.

Beth Ableman-Bernet was the acting principal at Parkside since the first week in June, and will return to her role as dean of students/lead teacher for Monroe's virtual school, Brown said.

Brown wasted little time in offering Paradis the contract leaving the school board meeting Monday early to call him while Paradis was in Monroe touring the district's facilities and the community after his interview.

He hopes to hear from Paradis today with his decision, Brown said.