COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Pat Kreger from the Michigan Association of School Boards presents on the survey results from community members on preferred skills and characteristics of their ideal superintendent candidate during Monday’s Centreville Public Schools Board of Education meeting.

Criteria selected for Centreville sup't search

Community survey results discussed

CENTREVILLE — Another step in the superintendent search process for Centreville Public Schools was completed Monday.

During a special meeting of the CPS Board of Education, the board discussed what qualifications and skills their ideal candidate should have with Pat Kreger of the Michigan Association of School Boards. The 45-minute discussion helped to fill out the posting for the position, which will happen in the near future.

The MASB was hired to lead the search, following the departure of Stephanie Lemmer for Pennfield Schools at the end of January.

The discussion was aided with results from a community survey taken by the district, as well as listening sessions that were held last week. Kreger said 25 surveys were completed, what he called an “average response,” given the situation. He also met with CPS parents, teachers and other community members in listening sessions.

For the type of qualifications the community preferred for a superintendent candidate, having a master’s degree and certificate garnered the most responses, and in a separate question, the majority of respondents wanted their ideal candidate to have building administration experience. Kreger said that’s what the district is more than likely going to see in their pool of candidates, but added that there could be additional training involved if a candidate only has building admin experience.

“As a board, keep in mind if you hire someone who’s a building administrator who goes to the superintendency, you’re going to need to invest money in them for training,” Kreger said. “They won’t know a lot, but every board, especially at schools this size, have to spend money in the first few years to train.”

For characteristics of a candidate, the survey respondents said public relations and budgeting were their top two considerations, in that order. Kreger said he was slightly surprised by that result, saying budgeting is usually his number-one consideration. In terms of leadership style, “collaborative leadership” and “servant leadership” garnered the most votes.

With skills, recognizing and valuing other people’s positions was the top consideration in the survey, with a love of kids being second and responsiveness being third. For personal characteristics, respondents preferred being honest and ethical, being transparent, and being collaborative as their top three characteristics in an ideal candidate.

Finally, for the strategy of what kind of candidate to search for, survey respondents said they’d prefer their ideal candidate to have the “same philosophy” of the previous administration, but also someone who can make changes if necessary.

“It came in pretty overwhelming,” Kreger said. “They want somebody who will take you where you’re at, and the next step. It doesn’t seem people want to see it blown up and started over.”

Using the information from the survey, the board held a discussion on how to proceed with what to put in the formal listing for the position. For the most part, they went with most of the criteria respondents had in their top three in all of the categories, save for a few things – Board President Jeff Troyer, for instance, said they don’t typically look for somebody who is a “servant leader” – and added a few more characteristics of their own, including experience in project management, being conscious of historical values in the community, and the ability to be an effective team member.

Another characteristic discussed by Troyer was having a candidate who has “roots” in the Centreville area, citing the amount of turnover there has been in the superintendent position the last few go-arounds.

“I’m tired of every three years or every two years, somebody wanting to go to the next biggest and best thing,” Troyer said. “With the searches, it’s great, and everybody will tell us that even if you get three years out of this candidate, you take the best one, but after having a lot of conversation with a lot of superintendents in this area reaching out about the interim position, there’s a lot to be said about not having that constant change.”

Kreger said he understands the issue, and later said in the surveys and listening sessions, that sentiment was shared as well.

“It sounds to me from the survey that came through pretty clear in the comments, too. They’re tired of turnover too,” Kreger said.

Kreger also updated the board on the timeline for the search. The posting for the position is expected to close on April 5, followed by candidate and question selection on April 11. The first round of interviews will be held Saturday, April 23, with a second round scheduled for the next Saturday, April 30.

The new superintendent will start July 1. Interim Superintendent Chad Brady would serve in an assisting capacity in the first month, as his interim position lasts until July 31.

In other business…

  • The board appointed Aaron Hartong to be the interim principal at Centreville Junior/Senior High School, taking over temporarily for Chad Brady while he is the interim superintendent. His appointment will be through June 30, 2022.
  • The board heard a presentation from the Centreville FFA Parliamentary Procedure team, who took second place at the FFA’s district competition Monday, Feb. 7, and is competing in the regional FFA competition Thursday.
  • The board approved the hiring of Chad Spence, who recently retired from the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department, as the district’s new jail teacher.
  • The board approved bond bills of $77,014.29 from Triangle and Associates and $4,699.99 from TowerPinkster.

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

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