Board narrows down superintendent search

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published July 24, 2020

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CENTER LINE — Two candidates who applied to become the next Center Line Public School superintendent will be asked back for a second round of interviews.

At a virtual meeting held July 22, the Board of Education agreed to invite back Mary Ann Cyr and Joseph Haynes, who were the board’s collective top two choices, for a second interview set for 6 p.m. July 29. Interviews will be held virtually. A link to view the virtual meeting will be posted on the district’s website; check www.clps.org for details.

A virtual open house also is scheduled for both candidates. The link for that will be posted on the district’s website, as well. The public is encouraged to participate in the open house and interviews, and will have the opportunity to provide feedback to the school board through an online feedback form.

Cyr currently is the assistant superintendent of the Taylor School District, and Haynes is the assistant superintendent of Yale Public Schools.

In January, CLPS Superintendent Eve Kaltz announced her retirement effective June 30. However, because of the COVID-19 shutdown, the superintendent search was postponed. Kaltz plans to finish her tenure by the end of July.

The superintendent search posting closed June 24. A total of 39 applicants applied for the position, and the field was narrowed down to eight candidates.

On July 15 and 16, the school board members held interviews in a virtual, public meeting where they, one-by-one, interviewed Cyr; Haynes; Angel Abdulahad, superintendent of Madison District Public Schools; Dorothy Blackwell, superintendent of Vassar Public Schools; Richard Klee, former director of curriculum and instruction, state and federal programs, Crestwood School District; Lisa Oleski, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, CLPS; David Rabbideau, former assistant superintendent, Harper Woods Public Schools; and Melody Strang, superintendent, Genesee School District.

The Michigan Association of School Boards has provided superintendent search services to the district with assistance from Greg Sieszputowski, MASB director of leadership development and executive search services, who was present at the July 22 meeting.

During the meeting, the school board members individually voiced what they liked about each candidate, the accomplishments of the candidates and any concerns they had. They then were asked to vote for their top two candidates.

Cyr received six “yes” votes, while Haynes received four “yes” votes. Board members Gary Gasowski, Karen Pietrzyk, Darrell Vickers, Henry Newnan, Shelley Harenski and Wendy Watters all gave Cyr the nod. She received a “no” from board member Dan Snyder.

Pietrzyk, Vickers, Snyder and Gasowski all chose Haynes as their other top two candidate, while Watters, Snyder and Harenski picked Strang as their second top candidate. Newnan chose Blackwell as his second choice.

During the meeting, Watters asked if Strang could be brought back for the second round of interviews July 29. The board voted 6-1 on a motion to invite Strang back for a second interview but only if Cyr or Haynes dropped out of the running. Watters voted “no” on the motion.

“The reason why I voted no on that was to bring all three back,” Watters said. “I wanted to take a deeper look into the three top-voted candidates. I wanted to see more from each of them.”

Now that the field has been narrowed down, each board member will be responsible for calling one or two references the candidates provided, Sieszputowski said. The board members also were required to develop a list of specific questions to ask the returning two applicants.

“This has been an excellent pool,” Gasowski said. “Every candidate brought a lot to the table.”

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