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Darren Kermes hired as interim head of educational co-op
by Kristin Holtz
Jul 24, 2011 | 1647 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Darren Kermes
Darren Kermes
The Carver-Scott Educational Cooperative (CSEC) in Chaska will have a familiar face taking over as executive director.

Darren Kermes, director of special education for the cooperative, was hired as interim director to replace retiring executive di-rector Randy Zitterkopf.

Kermes, 45, of Lakeville, is also the executive director of the Minnesota River Valley Special Education Cooperative (MRVSEC) in Jordan.

“I’ve very excited to continue to work with MRVSEC and now work more closely with Carver-Scott,” Kermes said.

The CSEC board interviewed three candidates for the one-year interim position. Zitterkopf, who retired June 30, had been with the school district three years.

CSEC and MRVSEC have been discussing a merger for more than a year, according to Carver-Scott Board Chair Mary Ro-mansky. They hired John Messelt, a former Minnesota superintendent, to study the benefits of merging the two organizations.

Board members liked Kermes’ familiarity and knowledge of Carver-Scott. “With the merger, he has the knowledge of both Carver-Scott and MRVSEC,” Romansky said.

In addition to special-education services, CSEC offers alternative learning centers, career/technical education, adult basic edu-cation, care and treatment and online learning to students from the Belle Plaine, Chaska, Jordan, New Prague, Norwood Young America, Prior Lake-Savage, Shakopee, Waconia and Watertown-Mayer school districts.

MRVSEC, a special-education cooperative that serves six Scott County-area school districts, has seen its member districts’ en-rollment grow and thus contract fewer services from the special education cooperative, Romansky said.

“What those districts needed 30 years ago is very different in a lot of ways than what they need today,” Kermes said.

All MRVSEC schools — with the exception of Montgomery-Lonsdale School District which just voted to consolidate with Le Cen-ter — are already CSEC members. CSEC and MRVSEC already share offices as well as some staff.

“A part of it has to do with just being more efficient in terms of economics, but it also has a lot to do with the effectiveness of pro-grams and what we can collaboratively provide for our clientele and students,” Zitterkopf told the Jordan Independent newspaper last fall.

Kermes believes there’s great potential in terms of programming and freeing up economic resources for member school districts.

“I think if we can serve kids as well or better and do it more cost effectively, that is our underlying goal,” he said.

MRVSEC has approximately 100 employees and 150 students attending its programs, though it serves more in home districts. Carver-Scott is about twice as large since it offers additional alternative programs, Kermes said.

Kermes started as interim executive director at MRVSEC in 2006. He has been CSEC’s special education director one year.

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