Duluth Schools Supt. Gronseth Reacts To FOX 21’s Report On DWI History of Asst. Supt.

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth Public Schools Superintendent Bill Gronseth released a statement Friday one day after a FOX 21 report about Asst. Superintendent Jeffrey Horton’s past criminal record of three DWI cases, which was never shared with the school board — except to the previous Board Chair David Kirby — before they signed off on the new hire in June of 2018.  This statement comes after Gronseth declined comment for the original story.

“The information Mr. Horton shared during the hiring process was shared with the School Board Chair at the time to determine how to move forward.

The School Board has since revisited the policies and procedures of background checks and the hiring process as part of an ongoing process of updating district policies. There were discussions during the April and May Human Resources Committee meetings which are available on YouTube.

Not all of the information shared in the recent FOX news story was accurate. Mr. Horton is not currently serving jail time nor has he since being hired in Duluth.

As Dr. Kinkel from the Board of School Administrators shared, sometimes people that have had struggles in their own lives are able to help others through struggles as well.

While I do not condone this type of behavior, it does not preclude people from being successful,” Gronseth said in the statement to FOX 21.

FOX 21 confirmed Friday that Horton’s 2017 DWI sentence did include 30 days of jail each year through his probation of 2022, but that a judge waived that part of the sentence in February of 2019.

Horton released the following statement late Friday:

“Chemical abuse and addiction is a significant problem in our society that impacts all of us.  Many of us have loved ones, friends, co-workers, or children impacted by chemical use.   Through my own struggles and journey, I hope I can serve others to prevent and work through these issues.  I can’t think of a greater profession for me to support our students, families, and community.  I hope this story starts a greater dialogue in our community to address these challenges.”

Click here for Thursday’s full report, along with reaction from some school board members and perspective from the executive director of the Minnesota Board of School Administrators.

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