Board of Ed informally agrees to superintendent salary range

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 3, 2023

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — The Grosse Pointe Board of Education is getting started on its search for a new superintendent.

On Sept. 27, the district posted the job listing for the position. The post followed a Sept. 26 meeting of the Grosse Pointe Board of Education at Brownell Middle School in Grosse Pointe Farms during which the board heard from its search coordinator, Jay Bennett, assistant director of executive search services for the Michigan Association of School Boards.

The board informally agreed on a superintendent salary range of $275,000 to $350,000. That’s a substantial increase from what the district had been paying former superintendent Jon Dean; a slide comparing superintendent salaries in districts comparable to the Grosse Pointes listed the Grosse Pointe superintendent’s salary at $168,251.

Board member Valarie St. John thought the salary range was “pretty high” and asked if they could lower the minimum figure, given that this would mean they were offering the highest superintendent salary in the area.

Other board members disagreed.

“I think this is the most important position in the district, so I think we should increase (the top figure) and keep the base,” board member Virginia “Ginny” Jeup said.

Board member Lisa Papas was concerned that reducing the low end of the range “would drastically change” the pool of applicants.

“This is the right salary range to go (with),” board member David Brumbaugh said. “We need to be looking for the top person.”

“I think that’s a very generous salary, for sure,” Bennett said of the range the Grosse Pointes will be offering, saying that this puts the district in line with similar districts in places including Rochester and Oxford. “When supply is low and demand is high, you’re going to see those increases in salary. And that’s where we are right now.”

Bennett laid out a timeline for the search process that showed stakeholder meetings starting Oct. 5. Bennett plans to meet with different stakeholder groups — including teachers and school staff members — during a series of meetings that will take place Oct. 5, 11, 16 and 26 at various locations in the district. At press time, sessions open to parents and other members of the public were scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Morningside Board Office (at Grosse Pointe North High School), 20601 Morningside Drive in Grosse Pointe Woods; noon and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 11 in the Brownell Middle School multipurpose room, 260 Chalfonte Ave. in Grosse Pointe Farms; noon and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16 in the Brownell multipurpose room; and 6:30 p.m. Oct. 26 in Grosse Pointe South High School’s Cleminson Hall, 11 Grosse Pointe Blvd. in Grosse Pointe Farms.

As part of a public engagement process, the district will be offering an online survey to anyone in the district who wants to weigh in on what they’d like to see in a new superintendent. To complete the survey, visit A link to the survey was also slated to be posted on the district’s website, under the Superintendent Search tab on the homepage, but wasn’t on that page at press time. The public will have until Nov. 10 to complete the survey.

The board members informally agreed that they would be willing to wait for the new superintendent to start July 1, 2024, if they found the right candidate and that person was unwilling or unable to leave their current position until the end of the current school year.

Bennett said the GPPSS should get the best pool of possible candidates, as it is the first district to advertise for this position among peer districts seeking superintendents, such as Ann Arbor, Bloomfield Hills, Rochester and Oxford.

“It’s good for you to be out in front of this,” Bennett said.

According to the tentative schedule outlined by Bennett, candidates will have until Nov. 21 to apply.

“I’ve reached out to a few (people) so far,” Bennett told the board. “I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll get some good ones.”