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School board approves new superintendent contract


The Cedar Springs Board of Education tabled the contract for their incoming superintendent Monday evening, but made changes and approved it 6-0 in a special meeting Wednesday evening, April 16.

Concerns in the contract included putting a cap on moving expenses and clarification on the contract period.

The board selected Laura VanDuyn Ed.D., of California, late last month. To replace retiring Superintendent Ron McDermed.

VanDuyn is executive director of the State SELPA, Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority, a cooperative program providing special education services for school districts within the region. The Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority is located in Concord, approximately 22 miles northeast of Oakland, CA.

According to the contract, VanDuyn’s salary will be $147,000 for the 2014-2015 year; $149,800 for 2015-2016; and $152,796 for 2016-2017. She will also have 25 days of paid vacation. The contract also specifies up to $8,000 in paid moving expenses.

VanDuyn was chosen from among five candidates interviewed by the Cedar Springs Public Schools Board as potential replacements for retiring Superintendent Ron McDermed.

The other candidates were Assistant Superintendent David Cairy, a finalist in the interview process; Gibraltar/Shumate Middle School Principal Brad Coon; Boyne Falls Public Schools Superintendent Karen Sherwood; and Hudsonville Human Resources and Assessment Director Scott Smith.  They were selected from a pool of 15 applicants.

VanDuyn has served as executive director of the Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority from 2010 to the present.  She held a variety of administrative and leadership positions at the site, district and county levels from 2001-2010, and was an administrator in Minnesota from 1999 until moving to California.

She holds a doctor of education degree in organization and leadership from the University of San Francisco, a master’s in education administration from Minnesota State University and a bachelor’s in education from the University of Nevada.

“I’d like to convey my appreciation to the many staff and community members who took the time to come to the meetings and share their thoughts,” said Board President Brook Nichols.  “This was a very difficult decision because … the candidates brought different things to the interview and both (VanDuyn and Cairy) were very qualified.  Ultimately, the majority of the board felt that Laura VanDuyn would be a great leader for our district.”

 

 

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School board hires new superintendent


red hawkBy Judy Reed

Associate Superintendent David Cairy received a standing ovation from 200 staff members, parents, and community members after his final interview Wednesday evening, but he didn’t get the votes from the Board of Education.

Instead, they voted 5-2 to hire Dr. Laura VanDuyne, a candidate from California, who has ties to the area and was looking to move back to Michigan. She has served as Executive Director of the State SELPA, Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority since 2010.

The decision angered and saddened many who were present for the interviews.

Trustees Shannon Vanderhyde and Jeff Gust were the two dissenting votes.

The board had the public fill out feedback forms after the interviews and turn them in, and the board sifted through them during recess. They then took a straw poll to see where they stood.

Vanderhyde said that she was saddened by the direction the board seemed to be moving in. She said that one of the comments on the feedback form stuck with her, that Laura would have a big learning curve. “I don’t want my three kids to have a big learning curve,” she said. “I want them to have the best of the best. With Dave, we can start tomorrow.”

Trustee Todd Hanson said he didn’t think there would be a huge learning curve, noting that staff would still be there doing a great job. “And if not, then maybe they are not as loyal as they say,” he remarked.

The remark brought a big boo from the crowd, and several people walked out.

Vanderhyde questioned why they bothered to get the feedback if they weren’t going to use it.

Trustee Joe Marckini said he must’ve gotten different feedback than Shannon, and that he was out talking to people. And if people didn’t like his decision, they could recall him.

Trustee Patricia Eary thought an outsider would bring a fresh perspective. President Brooke Nichols said she had a gut feeling about Van Duyne the first time she interviewed.

Those who voted for Van Duyne—President Brooke Nichols, Todd Hanson, Patricia Eary, Matt Shoffner, and Joe Marckini—all had good things to say about Cairy, but seemed to feel that Van Duyne had the skills to move the district forward.

Shoffner remarked that he felt the two of them working together—Van Duyne a global thinker and Cairy a detailed thinker—would make a good team.

After the official vote, the silence in the room was deafening. Trustee Shannon VanderHyde dissolved into tears.

Some members approached the board and thanked them for their work, while others left the room or talked quietly among themselves.

A committee will work on contract negotiations with Van Duyne, and then bring that back to the board for approval.

 

 

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Five chosen to vie for Superintendent spot


The Cedar Springs Public Schools Board will interview five candidates next week—including current Assistant Superintendent David Cairy—as potential replacements for retiring Superintendent Ron McDermed.

The candidates are Assistant Superintendent David Cairy; Gibraltar/Shumate Middle School Principal Brad Coon; Boyne Falls Public Schools Superintendent Karen Sherwood; Hudsonville Human Resources and Assessment Director Scott Smith; and Laura Van Duyne, the executive director of a special education consortium in Concord, California.

The candidates were selected from a pool of 15 applicants.  First round interviews for Coon and Smith will be held at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. on March 17; Sherwood and VanDuyne at 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. on March 19; and Cairy at 6 p.m. on March 21. Second round interviews are scheduled for March 26.  The public is invited to attend the interviews, which will take place in the Hilltop board room.

Following are short bios for each candidate:

David Cairy

David Cairy

David Cairy was named Cedar Springs’ assistant superintendent in 2007 and has led a variety of educational initiatives as well as serving as the district’s chief financial officer. Before joining the central office administrative team, Cairy was principal at Cedar Trails Elementary and a teacher at the Jefferson Elementary School in South Redford. He holds a Masters in K-12 administration from Michigan State University and a Bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Grand Valley State University.

Brad Coon

Brad Coon

Brad Coon has been a principal in the Gibraltar district since 2004 and was an assistant principal at Algonac High School from 2002-04. He has also served as an alternative education consultant at Oakland Schools and a teacher in the Orchard View and Fruitport districts.  He holds an education specialist degree from Oakland University, a master’s in education from Grand Valley State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University.

Karen Sherwood

Karen Sherwood

Karen Sherwood was named principal of the Boyne City Middle School after serving as a teacher in the building for 14 years prior to her 2010 appointment as the superintendent in Boyne Falls.  She holds a master’s in education leadership from Grand Valley State University, a master’s in early childhood development from Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s from the University of Michigan at Dearborn.

Scott Smith

Scott Smith

Scott Smith was a middle school principal and assistant principal in the Hamilton district from 1995-2011 before joining the Hudsonville district in his present position.  He holds an education specialist degree from Grand Valley State University, a master’s in educational leadership and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Western Michigan University.

Laura Van Duyne has served as executive director of the State SELPA, Contra Costa Special Education Joint Powers Authority since 2010 and held a variety of administrative and leadership positions in the Antioch, CA, system from 2003-2010.  She holds a doctorate in education from the University of San Francisco, a master’s in education administration from Minnesota State University and a bachelor’s in education from the University of Nevada.

 

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Cedar Springs to start Superintendent search


Superintendent Ron McDermed

Superintendent Ron McDermed

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education began input sessions this week from various groups in the community as they start their search for a new Superintendent.

Superintendent Ron McDermed will retire in July, after serving 25 years in the district. He was hired as an elementary principal in 1989, and served in that role until 1997, and then as associate superintendent over curriculum until 2009, when he was chosen as Superintendent to replace outgoing Superintendent Andy Booth.

The Board of Education voted to use the services of the Kent Intermediate School District, and consultant Mike Washburn, former Superintendent at Forest Hills Public Schools, to run the search.

The board met with community members prior to Monday night’s board meeting, and with several other groups this week at various school buildings. They would like input from parents, staff and community members in what they value in the Superintendent’s role. If you have not yet had a chance to attend one of these sessions, they will meet on January 20 with the Cedar Springs Education Association in Conference Room B at Hilltop at 6:30 p.m., and again before the regular board meeting at 6:30 p.m. on January 27.

You can also email questions and input to the various board members. Find the board members and their email addresses at http://www.csredhawks.org/board-education/meet-our-board-members

 

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Superintendent announces retirement


Superintendent Ron McDermed

Superintendent Ron McDermed

As you may be aware, our Superintendent Ron McDermed, has announced that he is retiring at the end of this school year. We are grateful to him for his many years of service to the education community and are sad to see him go.

As we begin the process of hiring a new Superintendent, we would like to have input from staff, parents and community members to see what they value in that leadership role. Feel free to attend upcoming Board of Education meetings or e-mail any board member with your thoughts.

Thank you! 

Brook Nichols, School Board President

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Superintendent receives high marks


Superintendent Ron McDerm

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education gave Superintendent Ron McDermed a favorable evaluation Monday evening, April 18, giving him an “exceeds goals” grade in all five categories they reviewed.
The board evaluates the superintendent each year based on board goals. McDermed, who is in his second full year as superintendent, was graded on the following goals:
•    Increasing student achievement through exemplary teaching
•    Builds a shared partnership with parents and community to build shared ownership in our district
•    Oversees and ensures sound fiscal management of the district’s resources
•    Superintendent/Board relations
•    General performance
The process included a closed meeting of the Cedar Springs Board of Education for its own evaluation, and an open Superintendent advisory committee that included board members, Cedar Springs Public Schools staff, the Cedar Springs City Manager, a representative from KSSN, a community member, and a representative from the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association.
Some comments from those who participated included in the evaluation noted that McDermed is a forward looking individual, keeps the bar high, is open and transparent, has a passion for the students and community, and has a distributive leadership that lets people do their jobs.
“The Cedar Springs Board of Education is grateful to Superintendent Ron McDermed for his commitment to our district…His leadership has allowed us to expand our student achievement…We believe the students and community of the Cedar Springs Public Schools District are well-served under his leadership,” the board noted in the summary of its evaluation.
For a complete copy of the evaluation, click on link: Superintendent Ron McDermed Evaluation 2010-2011.

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