New Merrill superintendent looks ahead to future, back on district he's leavingSubmitted: 02/13/2013

Lane Kimble
Managing Editor/Anchor

PHILLIPS - A Northwoods school leader will make a big leap this summer to a larger community.

Phillips Superintendent Wally Leipart accepted the open Merrill Area Public Schools superintendent job.

He expects to sign a contract with Merrill by February 25th. He'll replace interim superintendent Don Stevens.

Leipart is excited for the move, but knows Phillips helped him develop into the leader he is.

"They gave me the opportunity to take on a leadership role at a district level, and I'm very grateful for that opportunity and theres a lot of great people that I'm going to miss here, and I wish them the very best," Leipart said.

Leipart joins a Merrill School District with funding problems similar to Phillips.

This year, the Price County district is asking voters for an additional $650,000 a year.

Merrill voters rejected a multi-million dollar referendum in 2009. Leipart knows he'll need a plan from day one.

"Make sure people understand the value of investment that they are making in education and just being open with them and answering questions," Leipart said. "Develop relationships built within the community and the students and staff and just bring everybody together and talk about what's good for education and what's good for the community of Merrill."

Leipart's last day with Phillips will be June 30th.

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