Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 10.10.2013

October 10, 2013

This Week: Alan Anderson, Ocean Acidification (Caskey)

Birthdays: Rotarians around the world.

Next Week: Steve Underdahl, new Northfield Hospital & Clinics President and CEO (Reese)

Last Week:

Minnesota’s longstanding reputation for excellence in education is fading.  Dan Sellers, executive director of MinnCAN, Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now, says we are slipping. His statistics show us trailing many states, in some instances even notorious southern states such as Mississippi, in reading for fourth grade African Americans, in math for our eighth grade Latinos and high school graduation rates for African Americans. And, we are no longer competitive globally, he asserted.

“Minnesota as a state simply isn’t where we used to be,” he said.

MinnCan, an independent nonprofit dedicated to education reform and advocacy, wants to change that. Its prescription for success revolves around accountability, flexibility (local control) and educational options. Its vision includes: 1) quality early education, 2) effective teachers, 3) effective school leadership, 4) quality charter schools, and 5) high standards for all students.

Dan was in Northfield as part of a 16-school, 13-community listening tour to learn how successful schools do it. He said naming the problem is critical. It sets the stage to develop strategies for change. He also said it is important that school leadership and teachers share the same vision. Northfield has that key alignment, he said.

A politicized environment makes change in education difficult, Dan said. MinnCAN, however, is a bipartisan effort to make positive change through results-oriented advocacy campaigns. For more information, go to:


Chris Richardson is now in his 10th year as Northfield’s Superintendent of Schools. He was born and raised in Iowa and has spent 44 years in education, 34 of them in the role of superintendent. He and his wife, Joyce, have two daughters. Jennifer lives in Kansas City and Patrice lives in New York.

Guests: Our exchange students Yoshino Tokigawa from Japan, Gunho Park from South Korea, Rodolfo Ramirez from Chile, and Lucas Coelho from Brasil (Prichard); Kate Huebner and Nate Heilman (O’Neill), Yogi returns with Gitta and Elizabeth (Wakely).

Scholarship Enhancement: Brad Frago with an assist from his wife, Michelle Lasswell.


— Kurt Larson is looking for business sponsors to support the upcoming Turkey Trot. If your business is interested or you know of a good prospect, let him know.

— If you have an interest in serving on a club committee, talk to either the committee chairs — listed on Page 3 of the Cogwheel — or President Prichard.

Coming Up:

Oct. 24 — Jon Snodgrass, classification (Rich)

Oct. 31 — Theresa Tillson, classification (Nemo)

Nov. 7 — Northfield YMCA (Kaczmarek)

Nov. 14 – District Governor Gary Campbell (Bierman)

Nov. 21 – Rep. David Bly and Sen. Kevin Dahl, Legislative Update (Nemo)

Nov. 28 – Turkey Trot