At his new job as superintendent of the Colman-Egan School District, Brian Corlett is striking a balance.
The job is both business and education in one. For now, he’s learning who the students are. In the future he will make the district’s budget work for taxpayers.
“One doesn’t work without the other,” he said.
Corlett started in the district’s top leadership spot this summer, replacing Tracey Olson, who retired. He comes to Colman-Egan from Central Schools in Norwood Young America, Minn., a farming community outside the Twin Cities. The district had about 1,200 students compared to Colman-Egan’s 270.
The greatest change for Corlett is that all of the district’s students are in one building. “Kids are kids wherever you go,” he said.
Corlett, 58, has been an administrator for 25 years, 17 as a superintendent, including time in Bon Homme. He and his wife moved back to South Dakota, where he began his education because they wanted to be closer to family, he said.
Colman-Egan is a well-run district, he said. “I was fortunate enough to take over a district that is running well. You have to continue to improve all the time,” he said.
His job now is to connect with the community, he said.
“When you can get everybody in the school community on board, moving in the same direction to try and improve the education experience for students, it’s the most exciting,” he said.
Hometown: Attended Flandreau through eighth grade; graduated from West Sioux High School, Hawarden, Iowa
Education: BA Mount Marty College; MA, Ed. SP. and Doctoral work (ABD) University of South Dakota
Family: Wife, Jennifer; Son, Logan
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned by being a superintendent? I learn lessons every day, but if I make decisions based on what’s best for students and the district, I know I have done the right thing.
What are some of your goals for Colman-Egan during your tenure? To work with the board, students, staff, and all stakeholders in the communities to continue to improve the educational opportunities for all students in the district.
Is there an issue other than more money that could really escalate progress in education? Finding a way to reach every student and understanding the learning style that fits them best.
How does a small South Dakota school compare to a larger metro-area school district? I have worked in many different areas from the Nebraska panhandle to Bush Alaska. One constant is there are kids everywhere wanting opportunities to learn at high levels. Kids are good everywhere you go.