Schoolcraft board preps for superintendent hiring

By Travis Smola

The Schoolcraft Board of Education at a December meeting proposed a timetable for hiring a new superintendent and discussed results of surveys of staff and residents about the qualities they want in the new hire.

Supt. Rusty Stitt during the summer told board members he’ll resign at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

Vice President Jason Walther described a timeline of events to replace Stitt during a Zoom meeting. The entire plan is currently on the SCS website for school district residents to review.

The board is hoping to involve the community as much as possible in the search. It approved posting the job listing and will soon start contacting possible candidates. The plan calls for the search to be closed by Jan. 15 and a review of candidates to start Jan. 22. The hope is to conduct final board interviews by March 12, make an offer by March 19 with final board approval by April 9, 2021.

The plan includes district team and community interviews around February 19, although board members didn’t describe what those interviews would entail.

The board has already done some homework with the survey of district staff members, parents and students about what they’d like to see from the next superintendent. Out of 385 responses, the majority, 71 percent, were from parents.

The survey asked for the most important leadership qualities: “Strong communicator and listener” was the top choice, closely followed by “trustworthy,” “not afraid to address problems,” “team and culture builder” and “collaborative.”

“Reading through a lot of the comments, I think we’ve been able to get to a point here where I’m really excited that we have a tremendous amount of consistency in what was said in the various formats,” Walther said.

Trustee Jill Hunt approved of the proposal, especially including the involvement of staff and community members’ input in the decision-making process.

“I just want to say thank you for pulling this all together. I think it was very thoughtfully done and you’ve tried to include as many stakeholders as we could get to partake in this,” Hunt said. “I appreciate your hard work.”

Secretary Ryan Ledlow also acknowledged that this plan was unique compared to the usual way districts hire a new superintendent. He also expressed great enthusiasm with the idea.

“This is a little bit different way to go about finding a leader, but I like it, a lot,” Ledlow said.

Walther said the enthusiasm of the community and the belief in the work they are doing has showed through this process. He didn’t hear from anyone who felt the district had to change anything drastic in their search for the next superintendent. The board should find someone to work with the groundwork that’s already in place.

“We’ve got the gears in place. We’ve got to get someone who will oil them a little bit,” Walther said. “Just to make it get that much better.”

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