Tryggestad named executive director of Perpich Center for Arts Education

Curt L. Tryggestad

Curt L. Tryggestad, superintendent of Eden Prairie Schools since 2012, has been named executive director of Perpich Center for Arts Education, a 32-year old state agency that includes a public residential arts high school for 11th and 12th graders, a professional development and resource group and an arts resource library serving both the high school and members of the public.

Tryggestad was one of two finalists presenting to the Perpich Board last evening. Mary Bussman, a musician, principal and licensed superintendent currently completing a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, was the second candidate. She serves as an equity consultant for Equity Alliance MN, creating and providing programming in culturally responsive curriculum, pedagogy and cultural self-awareness.

Before becoming superintendent in Eden Prairie, Tryggestad was superintendent of Little Falls Community Schools, Esko Public Schools, and high school principal at Pine City Public Schools. He began his career as an instrumental music teacher. The Minnesota Association of School Administrators named him the 2017 Minnesota Superintendent of the Year.

Tryggestad currently serves as president of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators and represents Minnesota on the American Association of School Administrators’ governing board. He has served on the Minnesota Online Learning Advisory Council, the Minnesota Technology Task Force and was a participant in the Achieve Open Educational Resources Institute.

“We were faced with a crucial and difficult decision,” said Perpich Board Chair Benjamin Vander Kooi. “We had two candidates with superb credentials, both as administrators and as arts teachers. It was challenging to be forced to make this choice and we congratulate both Curt and Mary and thank them for their commitment. The board members look forward to meeting with Curt, having him attend our board retreat at the end of summer and having him become familiar with the Perpich community. We are eager to welcome him.”

Tryggestad said he was honored to be chosen as the new executive director and looks forward to beginning his work at the agency. “I appreciate the opportunity the board has given me and I am anxious to begin the process of moving to Perpich and getting started,” Tryggestad said.

Vander Kooi says the selection of the new executive director is another critical milestone in the ongoing revitalization of Perpich.  The high school continues to take applications through Aug. 1 and the board approved a budget for the next fiscal year last evening before hearing the presentations from the executive director candidates.

“We have come a long way since January,” Vander Kooi said. “The board members have been working nonstop, and the legislature and the governor’s office are supporting our work. Next is working with the new ED to create a strategic plan that will carry us forward to even greater success.”

The board chair gave special credit to Perpich’s interim executive director, Peg Birk, president and CEO of Interim Solutions, who has led the agency and planned for the transition to a new executive director since February.

“The board and staff at Perpich Center would not be ready for this step if not for Peg Birk,” Vander Kooi said. “She was the right person at the right time, providing essential guidance for turning this agency around, advocating clearly and firmly with the board and the legislature and supporting the ongoing work of the agency’s many facets. We could not be more grateful for her presence, her wisdom and her level-headedness at every step.”

Vander Kooi said Tryggestad will begin at Perpich in late August. “We are eager to get started and we know Curt is, too,” Vander Kooi said.