COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Centreville Superintendent Stephanie Lemmer discusses her resignation from the school district and her new job as superintendent of Pennfield Schools in Battle Creek during a special meeting of the Centreville Public Schools Board of Education Thursday. Lemmer, who has been with the district since 2017, was announced Monday as Pennfield’s new superintendent, and will begin on Jan. 31.

Centreville Superintendent to take position at Pennfield

CENTREVILLE — A second community in St. Joseph County will be searching for a new school superintendent in 2022.

At a special meeting of the Centreville Public Schools Board of Education Thursday, the board accepted the resignation of Superintendent Stephanie Lemmer so she can become the new superintendent of Pennfield Schools in the Battle Creek area. Lemmer is expected to begin in her new position Jan. 31.

Lemmer, who has been at Centreville since 2017, was the lone finalist selected by Pennfield’s school board on Monday out of a pool of four candidates that were interviewed on Saturday, Dec. 11. The district received 14 applicants overall for the position. A second round interview was held on Wednesday, with district officials giving her a tour of the district prior to the interview.

She replaces former superintendent Kevin Simmons, who according to the Battle Creek Enquirer resigned from his post prior to the first day of the school year amid “an increasingly strained relationship with the school board,” due in part to directives set by the board in August that were “unrelated to the district's strategic plan or the goals that the board set for him in February.”

During Thursday’s special meeting, Lemmer read from her resignation letter, thanking the board for “an amazing experience” in Centreville, and highlighted the accomplishments the district had in the last four and a half years, including completing two of three phases of the district’s bond project, implementing multi-tiered systems of support districtwide, increasing enrollment by 13 percent, obtaining affordable healthcare for employees, and developing student learning outcomes for all grade levels and subject areas.

“Without a positive Board and Superintendent relationship, none of these successes would have been possible,” Lemmer said. “In addition to missing all of you, I will be heartbroken for some time over not being able to work with some of the most amazing educators I have ever encountered. Our staff is truly top notch, and are the key ingredient to what makes Centreville Public Schools such an amazing place.”

Lemmer added she looks forward to working with the district to “ensure a smooth transition” for an interim superintendent upon her departure.

Prior to taking the superintendent job in Centreville, Lemmer was the director of Kalamazoo County Head Start from 2013 to 2017 and a principal at Comstock Public Schools from 2011 to 2013.

Once Lemmer starts in Pennfield, she will oversee a $30 million, zero-mill increase bond project the district’s voters passed in November that would include upgrades to classrooms, building systems and athletic facilities. Other candidates interviewed by Pennfield included Academic Coach and Administrative Consultant Deborah Bennett, Clintondale Schools Director of Teaching and Learning Rachel Kowalski, and Charlotte upper elementary principal Mark McGarry.

Lemmer is the second superintendent to resign in St. Joseph County and move onto a new job this school year, following the departure of Ron Moag from Three Rivers Community Schools in October.

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

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