Of the half-dozen finalists chosen by the Alexandria School Board to be the district's next superintendent, two already hold the superintendent title at other Minnesota school districts.
The field to replace Superintendent Julie Critz, who is retiring in June after five years in that job, also includes one assistant superintendent, one principal and two administrators.
The school board will conduct one-hour interviews with the finalists on Feb. 26 and Feb. 28, and is expected to choose two or three of the candidates to participate in a second round of interviews on March 6, before making an offer to their top choice.
Following are brief background sketches of the six finalists, in alphabetical order:
Since December 2014, Hudspith has been the director of human resources and organizational development at Mankato Area Public Schools, where he spent the previous 18 months as an elementary school principal. He was also an elementary principal and director of facilities and transportation in Albert Lea.
Hudspith earned a B.S. in elementary education and teaching from the University of Minnesota Duluth, a master's from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and an educational specialist degree in K-12 administration from the University of St. Thomas.
The superintendent at Belle Plaine Public Schools since August 2015 spent the seven years before that at Stillwater, as high school principal and as executive director of curriculum, instruction, assessment and secondary education. Laager also was an assistant principal at Champlin Park High School, and a teacher at Spring Lake Park.
He received a B.S. degree in elementary education from St. Cloud State University, and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction and a doctorate at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Neubeck is the principal at Mahtomedi Middle School, a job he started in July 2010. Prior to that, he was a middle school principal in Shakopee and an assistant principal at a middle school in Maplewood.
Neubeck was awarded a B.S. in English - Teaching at Mankato State University, and a doctorate in educational leadership at St. Mary’s University.
Prior to coming to Alexandria to become the district’s assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, Sansted spent 16 years with the Edina Public School, the last half of which were as an elementary principal. He also was a teacher and a middle school principal at Edina, and started his education career in 1995 as a social studies teacher at Parkers Prairie.
Sansted earned a B.A. in history at Augsburg College, and at the University of St. Thomas he obtained a master's in curriculum and instruction, and an educational specialist degree in K-12 administration.
Swenson has been superintendent at Holdingford since 2015. Prior to that he spent 10 years at Wyndmere, North Dakota; the first five as principal and athletic director, and then five years as superintendent. He was also the head girls volleyball coach for nine years.
His teaching degree in business education was from Concordia College, Moorhead.
Swenson earned his doctorate and master's degree from the University of North Dakota.
Since 2013, Wehrkamp has been the executive director of Community Education at Robbinsdale Area Schools. Prior to that, she spent almost nine years as supervisor of the Adult Basic Education program for the St. Paul Schools.
Wehrkamp earned a B.A. in business administration and management at Augustana College, and a master's degree in adult education at the University of Minnesota.