School board approves Dean’s contract, Niehaus presents closing remarks

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 1, 2021


GROSSE POINTES — At the June 28 Grosse Pointe Public School System Board of Education meeting, the school board voted 5-0 on a contract for new Superintendent Jon Dean. Board members Ahmed Ismail and Lisa Papas were absent.

According to the superintendent’s employment agreement, Dean’s contract period is from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2024. For the 2021-22 school year, Dean’s annual base salary will be $185,000. For the 2022-23 school year, Dean’s annual base salary will be $190,000. For the 2023-24 school year, the superintendent’s annual base salary will be $195,000.

The board also will consider increases to Dean’s annual salary following a similar process used for determining annual compensation increases for the Central Office Administration. Salary shall be prorated for the number of weeks actually worked, payable in equal installments over the course of the school year.

“Thank you very much for placing your trust in me,” Dean said. “I value the 22 years I’ve lived in this community. I value the nine years I have served directly in this community. I look forward to continuing to serve this community and helping keep and make Grosse Pointe a place everybody wants to be, so thank you to the Board of Education.”

At the meeting, the school board also voted 5-0 on the human resources report, which included naming Mason Elementary School Principal Roy Bishop to Dean’s former position of deputy superintendent for educational services beginning July 1. Dean said 24 candidates applied for the position.

“I am honored to be able to serve our district in this position of magnitude, and I am very appreciative of your support,” said Bishop, who attended the meeting. “I’m beyond excited to get to work supporting all our learners throughout the district. I am committed to supporting our district during the healing process while helping our community reach our shared goals. I will do whatever I can to create a better tomorrow for our learners.”

“I am absolutely thrilled to have Dr. Bishop as our deputy superintendent,” board Treasurer Colleen Worden said. “I want to thank the Mason teachers and staff that showed up in their support. It’s a testament to his character, his dedication and his leadership skills.”

Monday evening also marked the final school board meeting for retiring Superintendent Gary Niehaus, who first came to the district in 2015 as top administrator.

“Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be the superintendent for the last six years. It really has been an honor and a privilege,” said Niehaus, who clarified that he was resigning, not retiring, at the end of the 2020-21 school year. Niehaus will relocate to Tampa, Florida, where his wife, Paige, found a position at Hillsborough Community College. Initially, Niehaus was not interested in coming to Grosse Pointe from Illinois six years ago.

“Once I got here, I realized that this is a real gem,” he said. “It is a top-five district. I’ve hired probably 65% of the administrative team we have, so that’s a legacy I leave. I think the other legacy is we were at least from seven to 10 years behind in technology. We’re now one of the top 10, and we continue to be there. I wish Jon (Dean) nothing but the best. I look forward to hearing all the good news that’s going to happen out of this district.”

“I came on the board just as Dr. Niehaus was coming to serve for our district, and we chose him. I really want to express my deep gratitude for the job he’s done and the work over these last six years,” Board Vice President Margaret Weertz said. “So many things he accomplished, starting with the Strategic Plan. Dr. Niehaus was very instrumental in the 2018 bond issue. We are seeing all the wonderful construction and improvements in our buildings. I think that’s really appreciated. He took a lot of grief in right-sizing our district, but I think it was the right thing to do.”

According to Weertz, Niehaus also was behind the safety and security updates at the buildings throughout the district.