RWPS_Martina Wagner.jpg

Martina Wagner was chosen by the Red Wing school board to become the next district superintendent. “I think Martina Wagner is a rising star in the education field,” board Chair Jim Bryant said.

The Red Wing school board Monday night picked Martina Wagner as the district’s next superintendent.

The choice was made on a unanimous voice vote.

Wagner was chosen from two other candidates – Ryan Barnick from Austin and Nate Schurman from River Falls. All three were interviewed before the board began its deliberations which took about 35 minutes before the board vote.

Barnick was a close second. Four board members – Chairman Jim Bryant, Jennifer Tift, Nicky Buck and Terese Bjornstad – expressed support for Wagner over the other two candidates. Rachel Marshall Schoenfelder, Anna Ostendorf and Pam Roe said they were split between Barnick and Wagner but could support either.

Tift made the motion to hire Wagner subject to successful contract negotiations and a criminal background check. The contract negotiations will begin Tuesday. The contract is expected to be approved by the board at its Monday, March 20, meeting. Roe seconded the motion, which was approved on the unanimous voice vote.

“I think Martina Wagner is a rising star in the education field,” Bryant said.

After the vote, Bryant left the meeting to call Wagner. He returned to say she had accepted.

“She is very excited,” he said.

Board members made clear that any of the three would be a good choice for superintendent.

“All three of them would be phenomenal,” Roe said.

“I feel proud to attract such strong candidates,” Tift said. “I want all three of them to work for us.”

The district has three senior leadership positions that will be open at the end of the school year – high school principal, finance director and now Wagner’s position as director of teaching and learning. Board members asked that Barnick and Shurman be told of those positions.

“I would be supportive of them applying for any of the positions,” Ostendorf said.

Wagner joined the Red Wing district on Aug. 2 in the No. 2 district position to interim Superintendent Frank Norton. She previously worked for the Owatonna Public Schools where she most recently focused on educational equity and multilingual programming.

She served on the team that created their online school, was an interim principal and coordinated American Indian and migrant education programming.

Her experience includes:

  • First grade teacher
  • English learner teacher
  • Director of Metro ECSU, a nonprofit educational cooperative that provides high quality education services and programs.
  • Targeted services, alternative learning, credit recovery and summer programming.

She holds a doctorate in educational leadership and administration from Capella University. She holds elementary education, English language learning, principal and superintendent licensure.

She is a nationally known consultant in educational best practices and restructuring.

Bjornstad cited Wagner’s experience as a transformational leader, who empowers others to lead, as a positive. Bryant called her visionary.

Buck, who is Native American, recalled her time as a student in Red Wing schools.

“I wish I had someone like Martina when I was here,” she said.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for taking part in our commenting section. We want this platform to be a safe and inclusive community where you can freely share ideas and opinions. Comments that are racist, hateful, sexist or attack others won’t be allowed. Just keep it clean. Do these things or you could be banned:

• Don’t name-call and attack other commenters. If you’d be in hot water for saying it in public, then don’t say it here.

• Don’t spam us.

• Don’t attack our journalists.

Let’s make this a platform that is educational, enjoyable and insightful.

Email questions to

Share your opinion


Join the conversation

Recommended for you