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Brandon superintendent search narrows to four

Public interviews for candidates Feb. 18 & 21

February 12, 2014 - Brandon Twp.- The board of education has selected four candidates to interview for the position of district superintendent.

After reviewing 40 candidate applications, roughly twice the average number, the board unanimously voted to interview Dr. Catherine Cost, assistant superintendent for instructional support in Farmington Public Schools; James Cracraft, a middle school principal for Northville Public Schools; Dr. Matthew Outlaw, principal of South High School in Grosse Pointe; and Blake Prewitt, director of curriculum for Armada Area Schools.

"These are all good people," said Mike Wilmot, president of Michigan Leadership Institute, who has conducted the superintendent search for the district. "The board spent a lot of time looking at the credentials of candidates and debating the merits of each. All of the selected candidates have strong backgrounds in curriculum and instruction."

Curriculum was cited as an area of concern by the board. Current Superintendent Lorrie McMahon, who is stepping down at the end of the school year, was also previously the district's curriculum director.

The board began the superintendent search process late last year and developed a profile for what they were looking for in candidates. Those who matched closely with the profile were selected.

"They were interested in people who had taken definitive steps to prepare themselves for the top role in the district and looked for people that had the background and skills that would enable them to communicate with stakeholders across the Brandon District," said Wilmot.

The public is invited to attend the 90-minute candidate interviews. The board will interview Blake Prewitt at 6 p.m., Tues., Feb. 18, followed by James Cracraft at 8 p.m. Dr. Matthew Outlaw will be interviewed at 6 p.m., Fri., Feb. 21, followed at 8 p.m. by Dr. Catherine Cost. All interviews will be conducted at central office, 1025 S. Ortonville Road.

Each candidate will spend time talking with Brandon High School students before their board interviews, learning what students are looking for. The students will be able to give feedback about the candidates to the board in writing.

During the interviews, the board will ask questions that Wilmot said touch on all areas of superintendent responsibilities. There will be no public comment, but audience members can submit questions, which will be screened to make sure they are in compliance with the law and to avoid redundancy. The board will ask the candidates these questions directly.

The board will then narrow the field to two final candidates. The selected individuals will return on Feb. 24-25, with each candidate spending a day in the district, meeting with stakeholders and at the end of each day, the board will conduct another hourlong interview.

"The board has done due diligence, they continue to work hard," said Wilmot.

"This is a very important decision and they are dedicated to devoting the time and effort to make sure it is done right."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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