Continuing our commitment to community engagement

These are exciting times for our school district! We are moving forward with a new course and programming guide that will result in over 100 additional opportunities for our students being added. These include expanded course options, additional support for students, new and improved programming, as well as new technology initiatives. Our career and college readiness academies include:

  • AEM Academy (Agriculture, Engineering, Manufacturing)
  • BACE Academy (Business, Arts, Communication, Entrepreneurship)
  • HSHS Academy (Health Services, Human Services)

When I started as superintendent, we held a listening tour and heard from community members about priorities for our district including improving our finances and expanding student opportunities. We kept those promises and are continuing that work. During the strategic planning process, We heard about the needs in our district and the areas that needed more focus, and we built those directly into our plan and have seen several goals achieved already. 

Now we are in a strong position to continue to expand student opportunities and are seeking community involvement as part of our “Your Strategic Plan in Action Tour” which has resulted in exciting new things on the way. We also continue to hear that our facilities need attention, and we will explore options with our community. There are benefits to looking into addressing these issues now according to our financial advisors and auditors. Interest rates are at historic lows and the Ag2School Tax Credit is increasing to 70% for agricultural property, which would cover around 50% of any facility project in our district. 

We have listened to our community and kept our promises, and we are seeing results of our work. We will continue to listen as I hold an extensive community engagement process where I will be in the community hearing about what direction our district needs to go in next. I encourage you to reach out to me and get involved with this process to help continue to strengthen our district and better serve our students. You can provide your feedback by emailing

Another exciting news item about our district is that we have received news that our credit rating has seen a big improvement according to S&P Global thanks to the decisions that we made and the work that we took on. Our previous credit rating came with a negative outlook, which means that S&P Global thought there was a high possibility that our rating would be downgraded. We have now seen an upgrade, which means our district will now have lower borrowing costs. This is a great achievement and I am very proud to be able to share that we took the charge from our community to improve our finances very seriously and that we are seeing results of that work.

All in all, it’s an exciting time to be a Thunderbird!

This press release was originally published on

Published by Jeff Horton Duluth

As a citizen and as an educator in Duluth, Minnesota, Jeff Horton loves empowering other people to help themselves in their own lives. He’s always been a believer of the “give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for life” kind of mentality, and works passionately to help people develop the skills and the confidence they need to succeed in their own ways. For Jeff, the act of helping others is more than just performative; he’s not looking to make a difference in the lives of those around him to make himself feel better or feel like he’s accomplished something. Rather, Jeff wants to create an environment where everyone feels empowered and equipped to build their own paths.

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