Mounds View Public Schools picks new superintendent

Chris Lennox

With announcements of several leadership positions being vacated in the near future, Mounds View Public Schools is in the midst of change.

At the end of March Superintendent Dan Hoverman announced his intention to retire at the end of the current school year, effective June 30. 

Irondale High School Principal Eric Nelson also announced his intent to leave the district. 

Hoverman’s announcement comes after 41 years of working with the district, and at the end of his third three-year contract as superintendent.


The next superintendent

At the April 12 Mounds View Public Schools board meeting, board members appointed Chris Lennox, the current assistant superintendent, as the next superintendent of District 621.

He will begin his new role July 1, pending contract negotiations, the board said in a statement. 

Lennox has been assistant superintendent since July 2015, and his Mounds View posting wasn’t his first time working in the position — he was assistance superintendent of Bloomington Public Schools for three years and Stillwater Public Schools for four years. 

Lennox has also worked in various school districts in positions from teacher to principal, in junior high and high schools.

He was a high school principal for five years in Stillwater. He worked with South St. Paul Public Schools in varying capacities for eight years, including as dean of students, junior high principal, assistant principal and eventually principal of a high school.


Fits the criteria

In a statement, the school board said they received feedback about the characteristics the community values and desires in Mounds View Public Schools. The board developed a series of criteria required of the next superintendent. Some of the desired characteristics included the following:

• A visionary leader who is able to incorporate continuous improvement into the school and community culture.

• Experience with and an understanding of operating under a Policy Governance model.

• Ability to create a culture of respect that supports diversity and a healthy and safe learning environment for all students and staff.

• A collaborative consensus builder who delegates and involves others in shared leadership.

• Ability to create and nurture valuable school and community partnerships with all stakeholders in the community.

“Chris not only matches these characteristics, but he also has experience leading a metro school district of a similar size, with similar demographics, and one that has two high schools,” board member Jonathan Weinhagen said about Lennox in a statement. “He also has a unique understanding of the processes, procedures and culture of Mounds View Public Schools. We’re very fortunate to be in this position where we feel confident that our best choice for superintendent is already with us.”


‘An exceptional district’

According to the board, it will begin contract negotiations with Lennox, based on an agreement made official at the April 26 board meeting.

“I’m humbled and thrilled to be chosen for this opportunity,” Lennox said in a statement. “Mounds View is an exceptional district, and I’m fortunate to be here.”

Hoverman, 67, told the Bulletin that it felt like the right time for this transition. 

“I was coming to the end of my current contract and I’d been talking to the school board about a succession plan over the last few years,” Hoverman said. “With Chris and I being able to work together over this past year, we felt that it was a really good time to do this.”

Hoverman said he’s looking forward to spending some more time golfing and cycling, but that he’s also looking into continuing his work in education, to a degree. 

“I’m investigating a couple options for me,” he said. “Mostly related work but with greater flexibility, not an everyday sort of thing, but something that will allow me to continue to be involved in the schools, in some capacity.”

Navigating transitions

As for Nelson, he announced he would leave Irondale at the end of the school year. 

He told parents in a letter that he is considering several opportunities in education that will allow him to advance in both his own profession and learning, he wrote, explaining that he has for a long time considered enrolling into a doctoral program. 

Nelson was named Irondale principal in 2014. 

As of yet, the district has not announced his successor. Meanwhile, Nelson made a statement to parents regarding Lennox in support of the board’s decision to have him take on the district’s top leadership role. 

“There’s no doubt that superintendent Dan Hoverman’s retirement will present a few challenges,” Nelson said. “But I know of no person better than Chris to navigate through this transition and lead the work of the district.”


Jesse Poole can be reached at or at 651-748-7815. Follow him at @JPooleNews.

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