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Judge Floerke retires from bench to lead philanthropic Community Foundation

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Shaun Floerke Headshot NBC

DULUTH, MN -- Shaun Floerke, a judge in Duluth for 16 years, will become the next president and CEO of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, the Board announced Tuesday.

Floerke said he will work to connect people in need with people who give.

"I look at all the people who are willing to give and be a part of this great work, and all the people who are in a position to help and receive, and I think we need to have everybody connected," he said.

Floerke served as a judge in Minnesota’s Sixth Judicial District since 2004, including four years as chief judge.

As a judge, he founded the South St. Louis DWI Court and the Duluth Domestic Violence Restorative Circles Process. He trained courts on how to handle cases involving substance abuse disorder and family matters.

"You look up and think, 'When are we going to raise kids who don't thirst for substances and pain killers? Why are we raising kids who are in pain?'" Floerke said.

Floerke will retire from the bench on January 1, 2021. He will step into the role of President and CEO of the Community Foundation on January 11.

Floerke fills the spot left vacant by Holly Sampson, who retired in June after 30 years of leading the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

Board Member David Montgomery served as interim president and CEO of the foundation since July.

Colleague and St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin said Floerke's legacy is one of compassion and strength.

"I admire the work that he's done on our DWI court," Rubin said. "There's no question he's put his heart and soul in that, and that team with his leadership truly has made a difference in so many people's lives."

Floerke said the foundation gives him the opportunity to have an impact on the lives of people in the Northland in ways that could prevent situations he sees in his courtroom.

"Justice doesn't live in a courthouse, and I'm not leaving justice," he said. "I think every bit that this foundation does is about justice in our community."

Floerke hopes to take the lessons he learned in the courtroom and use them to serve the community.

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Kendall Jarboe

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