CLPS board selects new superintendent

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published August 7, 2020

 Joseph Haynes

Joseph Haynes

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CENTER LINE — The decision was unanimous.

All seven members of the Center Line Public Schools Board of Education selected Joseph Haynes to lead the district.

In a ZOOM video conferencing virtual meeting July 29, the school board voted 7-0 to appoint Haynes as the district’s new superintendent. At press time, Haynes was preparing to negotiate his contract.

“I’m going to work hard,” Haynes promised, adding that he “was really happy” when he learned he had been appointed. “I’m really excited to get in there.”

Haynes currently is the Yale Public Schools assistant superintendent. The educator will step into his new role as retiring CLPS Superintendent Eve Kaltz finishes out her final days. In January, Kaltz announced her retirement effective June 30. Because of COVID-19, her retirement was delayed a bit.

“After an intensive process and an excellent field of candidates, the Center Line Board of Education is looking forward to working with Mr. Haynes and the experiences, insights, and knowledge he brings to the district,” CLPS Board President Gary Gasowski said in a statement.

Haynes already has a history with the district, as a student. He lived in Center Line, attended Miller and Peck elementary schools, and went to a parochial middle school. In ninth grade, his family moved to Warren but remained in the Center Line district, where he attended Center Line High School, graduating in 1986. He made the most of his high school years, playing football and basketball, running track, participating in Student Council, and serving as a class officer. He even earned a football scholarship.

Something that really attracted the new superintendent to CLPS was the high school’s educational academies: the Academy of Industry, Technology and Innovation, and the Academy of Health and Human Services. The academies, which offer courses in various fields, provide an opportunity for students to learn in the context of related career fields. The program is designed to prepare students for colleges and careers after high school, and Haynes said he feels the district works hard to offer career and technical education options.

Haynes has a bachelor’s degree in education from Albion College, a master’s degree with a focus on special education from Marygrove College and a specialist degree in educational administration from Wayne State University.

At the beginning of his career, Haynes taught special education classes in the Port Huron Area School District for five years. He was also a middle school principal and special education director with the Algonac Community School District for six years. Haynes continued his career in the Yale district, serving as a junior high principal for 10 years. In 2012, he became Yale’s assistant superintendent.

Haynes interviewed for the CLPS superintendent position with the school board one-on-one July 22 via ZOOM with seven other candidates. At that meeting, the board narrowed the candidate list down to him and Mary Ann Cyr, an assistant superintendent in the Taylor School District. The two were invited back for interviews July 29, where Haynes was chosen as superintendent.

“They asked some really poignant questions,” Haynes said of the CLPS Board. The Michigan Association of School Boards assisted with the superintendent search.

Prior to the final interview, the CLPS board members called various references to learn more about Haynes. CLPS Board Trustee Wendy Watters contacted a paraprofessional Haynes worked with who described him as “genuine and caring.”

“She spoke very highly of him,” Watters reported. “He always stayed positive. He was loved by staff, parents and the kids.”

CLPS Board Vice President Karen Pietrzyk spoke to St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency Superintendent Kevin Miller about Haynes.

“He and Joe worked together 15 to 20 years,” Pietrzyk said. “He said Joe was very well rounded (and) was a people person. He was very well respected at the RESA level, as well as in the district. He was really good with the curriculum and always out in the community.”  

One question on everyone’s mind is whether or not students will return to the classroom this fall amid COVID-19. Haynes was the architect of Yale’s COVID-19 plan. He said the teachers had to quickly put a plan in place back in March when schools suddenly shut down.

“The teachers are brick-and-mortar trained. The program was to study at home and be safe,” Haynes said. “You can’t teach like you can in the classroom.”

On July 31, Kaltz administered an email to parents about Center Line’s back-to-school plan. According to the email, a team is working through different return-to-school scenarios contingent on the MI Safe Start Plan.

“Center Line’s team has been putting their plan together. They want to offer face-to-face (instruction) if a family is comfortable about that or have online learning for kids,” Haynes said. “We just have to be prepared. We are now waiting for the governor’s directive. The curriculum can be re-designed.”

On a personal note, Haynes’ wife Julie is an elementary school teacher in Port Huron. They have two children: Vaughn, who attends Michigan State University, and Zoe, who will be a freshman at Central Michigan University this fall.

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