John Morstad has joined Orono Schools as its new Director of Business Services. In this role, Morstad will oversee the business operations of a district recognized for its fiscal integrity, accountability and transparency.
Morstad replaces Tom Stringer, who will be retiring in 2016. The pair is working together for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition.
“I immediately could feel a real sense of family, teamwork and excellence,” said Morstad about the district. “In doing research as I prepared for my interviews, I was impressed that the sentiment inside and outside the district was consistent. I routinely heard, ‘Now, that is a great district!’ I was also impressed by the longevity at Orono. The staff here clearly loves their schools.”
Morstad most recently served as the controller for Eden Prairie Public Schools. He established internal controls and ensured compliance, and also managed the creation and monitoring of the district’s $145 million budget. Prior to that, he served as the finance and human resources manager for PACT Charter School in Ramsey.
In addition, Morstad has been a business owner and consultant, as well as a district and regional manager for major retail and restaurant chains. His vast experience and accomplishments have helped him develop a penchant for detail and a demonstrated capacity to lead the business operations of a school district.
“The best lessons I learned during that time were how to listen and coach a wide variety of people and how to prioritize my time,” Morstad said. “Since moving into education, I have been privileged to work for two very different school districts. At the small charter school, I learned the ‘nuts and bolts’ of school finance. During my time in Eden Prairie, I was able to further enhance my skills in school finance and also to better understand the value of strategic planning and collaboration.”
A team comprised of district administrators and a School Board representative interviewed candidates. “Because of our reputation we attracted a number of candidates, many of whom could have easily assumed this position and been successful,” said Dr. Karen Orcutt, superintendent of schools.
“What set John apart was his experience both in ‘real world’ businesses and school finance, and the lists of impressive accomplishments he achieved in both areas,” she added. “That was enhanced by his pervasive attitude of collaboration and teamwork. We are thrilled to welcome John to our administrative team.”
Morstad earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and communications from Concordia College in Moorhead.
He and his wife, Stephanie, live in Albertville with their daughter Ella, 7½, and son Luke, 5. In his free time, Morstad is a soccer referee. He has officiated many levels of soccer, including youth, high school and college. Last fall, he even refereed both the section final games hosted at Orono.