GPPSS Superintendent announces retirement

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 22, 2020

 Grosse Pointe Public School System Superintendent Gary Niehaus, pictured at a previous event, announced Sept. 14 that he will retire from the district.

Grosse Pointe Public School System Superintendent Gary Niehaus, pictured at a previous event, announced Sept. 14 that he will retire from the district.

File photo by Sean Work

GROSSE POINTES — After five years at the helm, Grosse Pointe Public School System Superintendent Gary Niehaus is retiring.

At the end of the Sept. 14 Board of Education meeting, which was held virtually, Niehaus announced his retirement. The school board appointed him superintendent in the spring of 2015.

“It’s the right time for a new Board of Education to select a new superintendent like they did me,” Niehaus said. “By announcing now, (it) gives the Board of Education an opportunity to get a search firm selected and interviews to be done for the upcoming school year.”

During his announcement, Niehaus said that his wife has been working at Wayne County Community College District.

“She has been promoted to the executive team under Dr. (Curtis L.) Ivery. She has been in executive offices long enough to know that she wants to be a community college president,” the superintendent said. “She has been active in getting final interviews recently. She has not landed a presidency yet, but the community college presidency is on its way.”

Niehaus wants to support his wife’s career.

“She has been a faithful supporter of my superintendency,” he continued. “We will see where the new position will be in the future, and we’ll plan accordingly.

“But I wanted to make sure our community, our board, our cabinet, our administrative team knew kind of where we are with my career and where I’m going to be,” Niehaus said. “I’ll give you my best effort until the end.”

During the meeting, Niehaus did not give a specific date as to when his retirement will become effective, but the intent is to stay for the 2020-21 school year.

“Dr. Niehaus notified the school board now so the board had optimal timing to conduct a superintendent search,” district Community Relations Specialist Rebecca Fannon said in a follow-up email. “He will serve through the end of the 2020-21 school year.”

Board President Margaret Weertz reacted to the superintendent’s announcement.

“I had a little bit of notice on this. I just wanted to say there will be accolades coming,” she said. “I know you still have some time here. Dr. Niehaus has really fulfilled your mission, and it was a big mission here.”

Weertz called Niehaus “a change agent.”

“You pushed to update our strategic plan, to renovate every school. You hired an almost completely new administration, new team. You brought safety into our schools. One of the first things you did was to bring in a company to analyze the safety of our schools, and you updated technology,” Weertz said. “There’s a long list … (of) all that you accomplished. I thank you very much, Gary. This is quite an announcement tonight.”