Centreville school board begins planning for superintendent search

CENTREVILLE — Centreville Public Schools’ Board of Education is planning to find an interim superintendent within the next few weeks, with a plan put in place to find a permanent one before the next school year begins.

The board discussed the upcoming vacancy at the superintendent post during a special meeting Monday. The discussion came as current superintendent Stephanie Lemmer recently accepted the superintendent position at Pennfield Schools in Battle Creek, and will be leaving the district at the end of the month.

Board President Jeff Troyer said he has a few names that could be considered candidates for the interim role, adding he would discuss it with district officials before reaching out to interview them.

“We have some names, and if Stephanie has other names she wants to provide, and what we’ll do is distribute that to everybody so we can have an open discussion,” Troyer said. “Then on Monday, we can get some direction on which ones the board has a consensus on that we want to speak with, then we’ll reach out to those. If they’re interested, we can invite them to do a short, open interview.”

Troyer said a likely interview date would be on Jan. 17, which he said would give the board two weeks to review internal candidates. Board Vice President Jackie Bowen agreed with finding an interim first.

“In my personal opinion, we should try to find an interim for the remainder of the school year because we want somebody to be dedicated to whatever school district they’re in and stay there and come in at that time,” Bowen said.

As for the permanent position, members of the board agreed that now may not be the best time to look at filling the slot.

“This time of year is a timing issue when it comes to getting the most applicants to apply, and I’d like to hit that spot,” Trustee TJ Reed said. “If that means finding an interim until we can find that, I think we’re better suited for the best in the long term for the district. It seems like it’s a little bit before that time.”

Lemmer said Centreville’s position when she was hired was posted at the end of January, with her hiring being official in March. Reed said near the end of a school year would be the best time for them to conduct a permanent search, with Troyer adding that July 1 would be an ideal date for a new superintendent to begin.

Bowen agreed with Troyer.

“I don’t think there’s any issue with posting as soon as possible with the intention of a July 1 start date,” Bowen said. “With any organization, it has this kind of a ripple effect in other organizations. I think the more we can give a heads-up to other districts too, it helps create that sense of collaboration.”

Troyer said two separate organizations have reached out to help with the superintendent search, and said he’d do research on the organizations before moving forward. The board agreed that a search firm would help them out.

In other business…

  • The board passed policy to comply with the OSHA Temporary Emergency Standard (TES) regarding COVID-19 vaccination and mask wearing for employees. Violations of the TES would have resulted in a $70,000 fine for the district per day and $7,000 per employee if it goes into effect, which is what made some board members agree to comply with the measure; Troyer said he’d “rather use $70,000 on our kids” rather than on a fine. Reed was the lone dissenter in the vote, saying the standard would create a “secondary class” of employees in the district.
  • The board approved new close contact guidelines for COVID-19 cases, reducing the amount of quarantine days from 10 days to five days. Board secretary Margaret Miller was the lone dissenter in the vote, due to her preference for requiring mask wearing if someone has been in close contact with a positive case for five days if they’re asymptomatic, instead of just recommending mask wearing.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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