Fraser Public Schools superintendent announces retirement

Principal resigns to take position in another district

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 30, 2018

 David Richards

David Richards

FRASER — Big administrative changes are coming to Fraser Public Schools, with one change having already happened.

On. Jan. 12, FPS Superintendent David Richards announced in a letter to district families that he would be retiring from his position after eight years. He’s been part of the district for 13 years, previously serving as the Fraser High School principal.

“The past 13 years I have been in Fraser have been the most rewarding and fulfilling of my career,” Richards said in his statement. “I know we say it all the time, but Fraser is truly a special place, and our schools are at the heart of our community. 

“As a principal, I was blessed to have the opportunity to connect with kids every day and to build relationships and friendships with their parents that I still enjoy today. As superintendent, it has been an honor to serve the community and position our school district as a leader in learning.”

He later indicated that his timing was indicative of a few different factors: It allows for the Fraser Board of Education to begin the search process for his successor, and it comes on the heels of a successful 2017 school bond.

“It’s been the best experience of my career, and I mean that sincerely,” he said. “Fraser is such a tight knit community and there’s so much support for the schools and so much support for giving our kids experiences, to give them a successful future. It’s been wonderful to be part of that process.”

He said the heart of the district’s focus is kids, with administration and staff encouraging what is best for their learning developments. 

“The success that we’ve had since I’ve been superintendent around personalizing learning for the kids has been my biggest success,” he said.

Richards is not the only departure. FHS Principal Michael Lonze, who started in his position July 1, 2010, officially resigned Jan. 29. He accepted a position as assistant superintendent of human resources at Walled Lake Consolidated Schools.

“I am excited about this new opportunity in my life, but it is not without a heavy heart,” Lonze said in an email statement. “I felt a part of the Fraser family immediately, and for that, I will always be grateful. Together, our staff, students and parents accomplished some ambitious goals during the past eight years.”

Richards said Lonze showed “great strength and resolve” in his role. 

“The eight years (Lonze) spent as principal have been probably one of the biggest seasons of change for the staff there,” Richards said, adding that the new position is a perfect fit for Lonze. “He has done a great job overseeing that process and being a great advocate for kids and staff in the high school.”

Rick Repicky, who was FHS principal from 1997 to 2002 and FPS superintendent from 2002 to 2010, is replacing Lonze in the interim. He was scheduled to start Jan. 29, after press time, and will remain in that role until April 20. The high school’s three assistant principals — Amy Jager, Jason Ohrt and Kyle Ray — will share responsibilities for the remainder of the year.

“Despite spending time in five other districts, I will always love the fact that Fraser has been my professional ‘home’ for 31.5 of my nearly 38 years in education,” Repicky said in an email. “Round one of my Fraser experience as a teacher, coach and administrator was a joy due to working with so many dedicated people. I look forward to round two and supporting Fraser High’s next generation in enhancing the school’s proud 100-year history.”

Richards called Repicky one of the “cornerstones” of Fraser Public Schools, and he’s excited to see how the longtime educator will view the school’s progression throughout the years — which even Richards admits is “night and day” since the early part of this century.

“Anytime someone leaves in the middle of the year, it’s challenging. … You can’t always pick when that time is,” Richards said. “We’ll adjust. We’re fortunate we have a great staff at the high school.”

Richards said his next challenge will be focused on learning and helping districts through a process of transformation. He’s not exactly sure what it entails, but he did say it allows freedom to delve into different areas of education.