Eden Prairie School Board taps Dr. Josh Swanson to lead district

The Eden Prairie School Board announced a tentative agreement with Dr. Joshua Swanson effective Aug. 21 to be the school district’s new superintendent.

Swanson currently serves as the district’s assistant superintendent. His new contract is for three years.

Dr. Curt Tryggestad, the district’s superintendent since 2015, offered his early resignation from his 2015-18 contract to the board at its June 24 meeting.

Tryggestad will be formally retiring as a superintendent on Aug. 18, 2017 and has accepted the position of executive director for the Perpich Center for the Arts.
Swanson has been considered for some time by the school board and Tryggestad as a possible successor to the superintendent in July 2018. In March this year, the board asked its negotiations committee to begin evaluating all options for succession.

The negotiations committee conducted a broad evaluation of external options that included conversations with industry search experts, the Minnesota School Board Association, the district’s legal counsel and four school districts (St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Edina and Eastern Carver County) who have hired new superintendents in the past six months.

The board formally discussed the findings of the negotiations committee at a May 8 workshop and after analyzing all candidates, the board identified Swanson as its top candidate. A public workshop was held May 19, in which the board formally interviewed Swanson.

After that workshop, the board voted at its May 22 meeting to authorize the negotiations committee to enter into negotiations with him for a July 1, 2018, succession contract. With Tryggestad’s unexpected early resignation in June, the board has moved up that timeline to Aug. 21 of this year.

Swanson has been an instrumental part of district leadership since joining the district as an executive director of technology in October 2012. His expertise and leadership in that role was instrumental in the development and rollout of the i-Learn initiative.

As assistant superintendent, he assumed the role of key academic advisor to the superintendent. Over the past three years, he has worked with site leadership and staff to implement the district’s strategic plan, update and align curriculum, initiate personalized learning, bring forward the administration’s Designing Pathways recommendation and provide leadership support to the sites.

The board expressed confidence that Swanson’s knowledge of the school district will allow all of this important work to continue seamlessly while also bringing new energy, vision and
leadership to the position.

Swanson brings corporate and public education experience to the position of superintendent. He started his career at Merrill Corporation. He then moved to public education in the Buffalo and Wayzata school districts first as a teacher and later in administrative positions including principal, special education, technology and assistant superintendent. He holds a doctorate from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and a superintendent license.

Swanson’s contract is slated for school board action at the July 24 regular business meeting. The board is committed to supporting Swanson as he begins his new role.