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Tag Archive | "Michigan Leadership Institute"

Superintendent profile posted


By Judy Reed

After compiling the feedback from citizen surveys and working with board members to narrow down the results, Gary Rider, Regional President of the Michigan Leadership Institute, finalized the candidate profile for what Cedar Springs wants in a new Superintendent last Friday, May 4, and attached it to the job posting.

According to Rider, he received over 300 responses to the online survey, which was posted on the Cedar Springs Public Schools website. It closed on April 28.

He then sent the data to the board, and once they had digested the information, he asked each board member to give him their top 10 items for what they think is needed in the next Superintendent. 

“From those 70 responses I then try to group common themes and compose a first draft of the profile,” explained Rider. “It usually ends up consisting of between 16-20 proposed points. I then ask the Board to tell me what modifications they may want me to make, what changes in wording they may prefer, and if they think I am close to what they want in a candidate profile. I also ask them to rank order the profile points so that the final draft in some way shows the most critical needs toward the top of the list.”

The profile consists of 16 points.

  • An excellent communicator skilled at listening, speaking, and writing who will engage all stakeholders and clearly explain rationale for decisions.
  • Someone whose first priority is the needs of our students. 
  • A collaborator and team builder with the ability to empower others who will ensure the voices of staff, students and the community are heard.
  • Someone who has a track record of successful experience in the classroom, as an administrator, and as either a Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent.
  • A fair, honest, honorable, wise, accountable and humble leader who demonstrates the highest standards of integrity.
  • Someone who will clearly demonstrate their commitment to and engagement in, both the school district and community.
  • Someone who can build trust, heal relationships, and unite our students, staff and community.
  • An impartial decision maker and problem solver.
  • An advocate for both academic and extra-curricular excellence who is committed to best practice.
  • Someone fiscally responsible who will transparently and accurately communicate the financial status of the district to students, staff, the community and the board.
  • Someone with outstanding interpersonal skills who is approachable and friendly.
  • A strong leader in both the school district and community who will continue to build on the effective programs already in place.
  • Someone who can develop a shared vision and strategic plan that engages all stakeholders and can skillfully execute and follow through with plans of action.
  • Someone who is both compassionate and caring that will value all people and points of view.
  • Someone who will join the board in a pledge to commit to the appropriate roles and responsibilities of governance team practice.
  • Someone with a minimum of a Master’s Degree in an education related field who will demonstrate compliance with the requirements of state Superintendent certification within appropriate time lines. 

The application deadline is May 16, and the board will screen candidate applications in a special meeting on May 18. The time has yet to be determined.

First interviews will take place in special meetings on June 7 and 8, with second interviews June 26 and 27. The board can then either make their decision after the second interview, or conduct site visitations on July 10 and 11, with a final vote on July 12.

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Board chooses firm to lead superintendent search


By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education took their first step toward finding a new superintendent when they voted 5-0 in a special meeting Tuesday evening to have Michigan Leadership Institute (MLI) facilitate the search.

The board heard presentations by both the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) and MLI. The costs were comparable from both agencies ($6,500 plus expenses). Gary Rider, regional president of MLI, will lead the search and said his expenses (mileage, copying) would not go over $800 since he lives nearby (Comstock Park).

Rider was a former Superintendent at Thornapple Kellogg, and also worked in the West Ottawa and Kenowa Hills School Districts. He said that MLI is made up of former Superintendents who cover regional districts where they served, so they know many of the Superintendents and/or administrators out there.

Rider went through what process he would use, including an online survey for the staff and community regarding what they wanted to see in a new superintendent, as well as face-to-face meetings with focus groups. From there they would create a profile of what they were looking for. The community would also be involved in the actual interviews by giving written feedback after each one.

He reminded the board that they each represented the entire community—not just a specific segment—and that they needed to get this right. “Your process is critical. If you don’t do this right, a bomb will go off in this community,” he warned.

Rider told the board that there was a reason he wanted to lead the search here—he has a personal stake in it. Rider said he has two son-in-laws who were best friends in school and who both graduated from Cedar Springs, and their families are still here.

“If I don’t get this done right, I won’t be welcome at Thanksgiving dinner,” he remarked.

Board members liked that they met who would lead their search, as opposed to MASB, who would appoint someone. They also liked the passion he showed and felt they could trust Rider to give more guidance.

One area where some of the board didn’t seem quite as comfortable was with the timeline Rider presented. He gave them an estimated timeline of 9 weeks, with selection of a Superintendent mid-June, so as to get someone in place by July. Trustee Traci Slager questioned more than once whether moving that quickly was the best thing.

Vice President Matt Shoffner said he liked the timetable, but that the correct process is huge. “I think there would be some leeway if we wanted to extend it a couple of weeks,” he said. “At the end of the day, if we’re not comfortable with who we get, we can push it back. Or even with community feedback, we can hear and respond.”

Secretary Brook Nichols also said she thought there was some wiggle room on the timetable. “I’d rather take our time and be thorough,” she said.

During public comment time, Sue Wolfe told the board she was happy to hear the open dialogue between the members. She also cautioned the board that with so much going on—board member and administrative slots to fill—that maybe they should slow the process down.

Teacher Libby Metiva also told the board that she was proud to see the way the board interacted, with the tone being light and the comments insightful. “No one monopolized the conversation,” she said.

 In other board news, trustee Tim Bauer, who was appointed in December, resigned his position on the board. He was not attendance, but did send a letter of resignation. The board voted to accept it, 5-0. Treasurer Shannon Vanderhyde was not in attendance.

Bauer had announced late last month he would resign, after public outcry over comments on his personal Facebook page and at the March 26 board meeting condemning those who wanted former Superintendent Laura VanDuyn to resign.

In his resignation letter, he said that it has been both an honor and a challenge to be appointed a board member. “Believing that I have fulfilled in a short time period my calling from God in this position, it has been made clear that I am now to resign.” He went on to quote an article by Craig D. Lounsbrough titled “Consequences: We are the Cause.” He said it encapsulated what he wanted to say. You can view Bauer’s entire letter on our website at www.cedarspringspost.com.

The board has 30 days to fill his position. As of Wednesday, April 11, no announcement had yet been made on when they would start taking applications for it.

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