Ben Mainka, the new superintendent of the Novi Community School District, poses with his family at the Novi Community Schools Educational Services Building after the school board approved his contract July 14. Pictured from left are Mainka; his daughters Arianna, Alyssa and Abigail; his son Alex; and his wife Jennifer.

Ben Mainka, the new superintendent of the Novi Community School District, poses with his family at the Novi Community Schools Educational Services Building after the school board approved his contract July 14. Pictured from left are Mainka; his daughters Arianna, Alyssa and Abigail; his son Alex; and his wife Jennifer.

Photo by Charity Meier


Mainka takes over as new Novi superintendent

By: Charity Meier | Novi Note | Published July 27, 2022

NOVI — The Novi Community School District Board of Education approved a contract with Ben Mainka to serve as district superintendent during the board’s regular meeting July 14.

The three-year contract for $215,000 per year, plus benefits, took effect July 15 and will run through June 30, 2025.

“I just love his energy,” said board Trustee Mary Ann Roney. “He is just like a ball of energy, and I think he truly will try to unify everybody.”

Mainka came to Novi from Swartz Creek Community Schools, where he had been the superintendent since 2017. Mainka holds a master’s of public administration, educational administration, from the University of Michigan’s Rackham School of Graduate Studies. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in education, secondary education, from Spring Arbor University, where he majored in biology, with minors in kinesiology and general science.

He also holds an administrator certificate in elementary and secondary school administration and central office, as well as a teaching certificate for science, biology and physical education for grades six to 12. He is anticipating completing his doctorate degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 2024.

“Certainly, Novi is a really special place. It’s a place where the community is extremely supportive of education. It’s a place where the community wants to see their schools be the top-rated place to be. So, as I think about my career as a superintendent, I want to be in the mix and be in one of the best places to raise a family and go to school, and I see that as Novi Community School District,” Mainka told the Novi Note during a July 25 interview.

He said that he sees his position as superintendent as an opportunity and a challenge to do some things that are “really quite spectacular and really exciting.” He described himself as an “innovative educator” and said that Novi is the district he wanted to come to because of the “amazing staff” and supportive community. Mainka said he also saw himself as a good fit for the district.

“I feel like having the experience that I have had really prepared me to step in and help support the district that was losing a lot of experience in central office,” said Mainka. “With all those things combined, I feel like it was the right fit. I felt like I was a good match for the district. I understand the district well. I have been a part of the greater Novi community, I live on the east side of Brighton, and we spend a lot of time eating at restaurants and being in the Novi community, and being very familiar with a lot of the professional staff that work here, it was kind of a no-brainer for me to say that this would be a great place to really finish my career. Novi is a place that you can easily give that type of commitment to, and that’s very rare in education right now. So (I’m) excited to be in a place where I can provide some stability, too, for a long time and vice versa.”

He said that as a former science teacher, he is excited to be involved with new STEAM and STEM additions at the high school, as well as the robotics and engineering investments that are coming to the new ROAR Center. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math, while ROAR stands for responsive organizational and academic return. STEM is the same as STEAM, except for the art component.

Mainka said a lot of the district’s graduates are going into fields related to robotics and engineering. He said he sees some “amazing” opportunities to double down on that. He said that he also wants to explore other post-secondary options for students who don’t want to go to college. He said some options could be to link students with apprenticeship programs or trade programs and other opportunities.

“I love the idea of focusing on wellness and mental health in the community,” said Mainka. “Making sure that kids have the opportunity to be kids. Making sure that kids have opportunities to have balance and that mental health supports are in place.”

Mainka said he is especially looking forward to the start of the school year and for students and staff to return to the district. He said that he needs to be able to listen and understand the foundations of where everyone is at in order to make some recommendations.  He said he will be spending a lot of time over the next six months building relationships, getting to know every person the district employs, getting to know students, and building some of those relationships at community events. He said that after he does those things, he will be able to chart the district’s direction.

“I have a vision for where I think I want to go, but that has to also match the direction that the elected board wants to go, and also the community and the staff and the students want to go,” he said.