SARTELL (WJON News) -- Sartell-St. Stephen schools are looking for a new superintendent following the resignation of Jeff Ridlehoover. Meanwhile, Interim Superintendent Tom Lee is ready to steer the ship until a permanent leader is chosen.

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Lee says he is busy learning about the campus and meeting staff. He is looking forward to students returning this fall so he can get into the schools and see the work in action.

As the former Superintendent at Waseca Schools, Lee says he tried to be transparent and visible in the community. Despite a daily commute from the Twin Cities area, Lee says he plans to be involved at Sartell too...

When you're in a community like Sartell, I think people expect to see their superintendent. I think they expect them to engage in the community or things like (I don't know) Rotary or Chamber. I think they expect to see you at games and activities. They want to know, "Are you invested here", right? I only know how to do this job one way, and that's to make sure I'm all in. And so, that's one way of showing the community that I'm all in.

Lee says Sartell was an attractive job because of the comprehensive plan that's up for school board approval. He also wants to motivate teachers and remind them of the important work they do...

Look, it's a hard time to be a professional educator, right? Educators across the country are struggling. We don't have as many people who want to go into the profession, we have people leaving the profession for a variety of different reasons. So, I just want to help build the relationships and culture that help energize people to do the job to the best of their ability.

Lee says he brings a collaborative approach to his job and is looking forward to helping guide the school board in its search for a permanent superintendent.

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