FRASER — Fraser Public Schools Superintendent David Richards is staying put.
Richards, in his third year as FPS top administrator, was one of two finalists under consideration for the role of Rochester Community Schools superintendent last week.
But one day before the RCS Board of Education made its final selection, Richards withdrew his name from the running.
He believes Rochester has a “talented staff and dedicated school board,” but after undergoing the superintendent search process, “I just did not feel I was the right fit.” So, he withdrew from the running.
“It was the most difficult professional decision I ever made,” Richards said. “It was really a personal decision for me.”
After an hour of deliberation during a special meeting Jan. 24, the Rochester Community Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to offer the superintendent position to Robert Shaner, the current executive director of Instruction and Technology for the Warren Consolidated School District.
While school board President Beth Talbert admitted the board was “disappointed” that there weren’t two finalists to interview, she said the board absolutely respects Richard’s decision.
“It’s much better to make that decision beforehand than to have someone who joins our district and later discovers it might not be a good fit,” she said.
In the end, Richards felt Fraser Public Schools was where he should remain.
“It really became evident to me how fortunate I am to be in Fraser and for the opportunity to serve this community,” Richards said. “It’s more in alignment of what I want to accomplish as a superintendent. You won’t see my name in another search.”
Richards said he was “up front” with the Fraser school board and staff about his initial interest in the RCS superintendent position.
“I did not keep it a secret,” he said. The superintendent realizes there could be some uncomfortable feelings over the situation, but said, “The staff has been very kind in welcoming me back.”
Richards has ties to RCS. He served as the district’s director of technology from 1995-2005.
Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond contributed to this report. Call Staff Writer Maria Allard at (586) 498-1045.
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