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WDAZ exclusive exit interview with retiring Grand Forks schools superintendent

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GRAND FORKS (WDAZ)—A new chapter for Grand Forks Public Schools will begin soon, as superintendent Larry Nybladh is stepping down at the end of this school year.

"It just seems like the right time for me and my family. And I think it's the right time for the school district also," said Nybladh.

After serving 30 year as a superintendent and the last 10 as superintendent of Grand Forks Public School, Dr. Larry Nybladh is calling it a career.

"My wife would like me to spend more time with her and with the family and I am very interested in doing that. So that will be priority number 1 because I think they have been deprived of Larry over the course of my career and I want to give them more of myself,” said Nybladh.

Nybladh submitted his letter of resignation to the school board on Monday night. And will help in the search and orientation of the next superintendent.

“It’s more of a support role. Not so much coaching or mentoring or modelling because that person probably is ready to serve the position or they wouldn’t be retained. But it’s really just to help them come to get to know the community, the school district, and some of the opportunities ahead in the future,” said Nybladh.

Nybladh took over in Grand Forks in 2008, and in 2014 won recognition as the North Dakota Superintendent of the year. But in recent months, he came under fire and was criticized for the way the school district handled allegations of bullying within the district and student suicide.

“I understand that there are different points of view and some people are closer to these issues than others and I respect that greatly. And I do think that our staff including our counselors and our teachers and principals and administrators and the school board, take these issues very seriously and we have some very robust practices and policies and plans in place. And sometimes people are not aware of these things,” said Nybladh.

The UND graduate will resign at the end of this school year, leaving behind a sticky situation of teacher contracts.

“I think education funding is definitely going to be one of the main challenges. I think with the freeze of the state legislature, with the local mill levy being capped, and then with increasing inflationary demands, I think there will be definitely a challenge for this district like all others across the state and frankly the country to figure out how do we prioritize resources in a way that can do most good for kids,” said Nybladh.

Nybladh signed a 3-year contract extension in 2015 and will step down following the last day of this school year -- June 30th, 2018.