Finalist chosen in superintendent search

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published April 3, 2017

 Mary Beth Fitzpatrick

Mary Beth Fitzpatrick

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ROYAL OAK — Following a two-month search, Berkley School District Assistant Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick was chosen as the finalist to be the next Royal Oak Schools superintendent.

Fitzpatrick was chosen as the sole candidate following extensive reference checks and a second round of interviews held March 29, which included a tour of the district, a presentation and a question-and-answer session before the Board of Education. The second round of interviews also included Royal Oak High School Principal Mike Giromini and Walled Lake Schools Deputy Superintendent Christopher Delgado.

Following the interviews, the Board of Education unanimously authorized the staff negotiations committee to negotiate an agreement with Fitzpatrick for the purpose of becoming Royal Oak Schools superintendent, subject to board member approval.

If approved, Fitzpatrick would take over July 1 following the departure of Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin, who announced his retirement in January to become senior associate pastor at Birmingham First United Methodist Church, effective July 1.

Lewis-Lakin issued a statement showing his support for the board’s decision.

“I look forward to working with her as she transitions into her new role,” he stated. “Our school board engaged in a very thorough and deliberate process to select Ms. Fitzpatrick as our new superintendent. I am very confident in what the future holds for our students, our schools and our community.”

Fitzpatrick currently oversees curriculum, technology, assessment and grants for the Berkley School District. She has been an assistant superintendent for more than 10 years, and she has been in the district for 31 years, including working as an elementary school principal, a high school assistant principal, an instructional support and staff development specialist, and a special education teacher.

She earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Detroit.

Becoming a superintendent was Fitzpatrick’s goal.

“It is something that I always thought about, and when it’s a good fit and it’s a district like Royal Oak that has the opening, I didn’t hesitate to apply,” she said in a past interview .

Berkley School District Superintendent Dennis McDavid said that after 31 years, the announcement is bittersweet for the district.

“She has been instrumental in nearly every initiative in the last decade, and she has been a remarkable public servant,” he wrote in an email sent to Berkley School District parents. “We are very proud of her and wish her nothing but success — except when Royal Oak plays Berkley in anything.”

McDavid said the district will plan to honor and celebrate her in the near future.

Fitzpatrick was the only superintendent candidate who received unanimous recommendation by the Royal Oak Schools Board of Education to return for the second round of interviews.

Thomas White, Michigan Association of School Boards executive search consultant, who headed the search for Royal Oak, said the Board of Education reviewed 31 applications for the position.

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