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Mpls. school board chooses outsider to be new superintendent

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The Minneapolis School Board has chosen Sergio Páez, former superintendent of schools in Holyoke, Massachusetts, as the next superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools, passing over the current interim schools chief Michael Goar.

The action comes after Páez, Goar and the third finalist, Charles Foust of Houston, went through a series of meetings, public forums and school visits in the past couple of weeks.

Páez will succeed Goar, who has been leading the district on an interim basis since Bernadeia Johnson resigned as superintendent in February.

Páez said in a statement he is honored and humbled by the opportunity, and said his goals go beyond raising test scores and graduation rates, to "create a sustainable, long-lasting culture of student achievement, community support and educational quality in Minneapolis."

"I am fully committed to making Minneapolis Public Schools a district that embraces the belief that all children can and deserve to learn. I know that belief, in spirit and in practice, is at the heart of great education," he added. 

Board members discussed all three finalists and how they measured up against a list of desired characteristics identified early in the search process. A group of protesters at the meeting asked the board to restart the search process, saying none of the finalists should be hired, the Star Tribune reports.

In the end, the board voted 6-3 in favor of Páez; Goar received the other three votes. Foust received no votes, and no members voted to restart the search process, according to the Star Tribune.

The next step in the process is for the district to negotiate a contract with Páez.

Board members also decided to send two members to Holyoke for a visit before finalizing his contract.

Páez is expected to begin his new duties on or around July 1.

Goar said he's disappointed he wasn't given the permanent job, but he's committed to working with Páez on a smooth transition, the Star Tribune notes.

Páez had been the superintendent of Holyoke from 2013-2015. He left that position in late June when the Holyoke schools were taken over by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, according to MassLive.

State education officials decided to make the move in April, saying the school system was chronically underperforming despite years of warnings from the state to improve. 

Páez was also a finalist for the superintendent's job in Cambridge, Massachusetts, earlier this fall, but another candidate was offered the position.

Páez, 48, was born on Colombia and grew up in Queens, New York City. He has degrees from Fitchburg State College, Harvard and Boston College. You can read more about his background on his website

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