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Superintendent search is on

Reschke steps in for Roberts on interim basis

June 16, 2010 - Dave Reschke is set to serve as interim superintendent for Clarkston schools, as the district searches for a new chief administrator.

"I'm not looking for work, but I am very committed to this district," said Reschke at the June 14 Clarkston Board of Education meeting.

Board President Steve Hyer insisted they make the decision that night, instead of tabling it for later.

"We need to keep the ship moving and keep kids first," Hyer said. "My feeling that would represent the least resistant path for the district while moving forward. "

Superintendent Al Roberts announced his retirement, May 24, effective June 30.

"Dave Reschke will be a good fit," Roberts said. "He knows the district and he knows the community."

The school board was split on the decision, but not because of Reschke's experience or dedication to the district.

"It doesn't have to do with Dave's integrity but the process," said Trustee Rosalie Lieblang.

Former board member Sheila Hughes stood up in the audience, saying Reschke was the best choice.

"If you don't see it, then you don't know him and should step down," Hughes said.

That wasn't the issue, responded Trustee Joan Patterson.

"There are some really hard feelings on how the board and the district operated this year if the board asks for information, can we have it," Patterson said.

This past February, Lieblang filed a Freedom of Information Act request for budget information.

Roberts responded, defending his performance as superintendent.

"I don't understand the negativity anything I have, you have," he said. "This district, by any measure, is one of the best in the county right now. That doesn't just happen. It happens because of the administrators and they are the best I have worked with. It doesn't come from lack of leadership."

Secretary Susan Boatman supported having a sit-down discussion and asking Reschke a few questions.

"I am not hearing any discomfort with Dave," said Trustee Elizabeth Egan. "Where the discomfort lies is we have a superintendent job description, but don't have one for interim superintendent. We want to be specific on what we want Dave to do."

"We have no clear definition of what we expect from the interim superintendent," said Patterson. "Whoever is interim superintendent, I would like to interview that person. I think anyone going in would like to know the expectations of what we would like to do for the 2-3 months. We need to have clear ideas of what we expect."

Patterson said the board will continue to tackle the budget and asked Reschke if he would he be flexible with communication and open to discussion.

"Any dialogue would be important and helpful to the board," he responded. "Conversation needs to happen."

The board voted 6-0 to appoint Reschke interim superintendent until Sept. 30. Trustee Barry Bomier was absent.

The contract is for July 1 through September 30, 2010 for $37,000. There are no vacation days allowed for; five paid leave days are included, and the same holidays approved by the Board for other central office administrators are also approved for the interim.

If the district hires a new superintendent before September 30 the district will contract Reschke for a period not to exceed October 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010 to assist with the transition period, as needed. The compensation for this time period is a per diem rate of $450.

"We have an opportunity in front of us of massive proportions," said Hyer. "If done correctly, we won't have do to it again for another 10 or plus years. It is important to put board politics aside and put kids first. We need to stand up and lead our district, our community and our employee groups."

Hyer had three recommendations for the board select a search firm between Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB), Michigan Leadership Institute, and Hazard, Young, Attca & Associates, Ltd., appoint David Reschke as interim superintendent, and communicating the plan of action.

For selecting a firm, Hyer said he was more comfortable using MASB and MLI.

"They are best qualified to me," he said. "Hazard and Young are a little too much overkill."

The district hired Hazard and Young earlier this year to conduct the search for new deputy superintendent and human resources director.

Both MASB and MLI are cheaper and can form a timeline according to the district's needs, Hyer said.

After a brief discussion, the board went with MASB.

MASB gave the district a timeline of 13 weeks to find a superintendent to fulfill the qualifications and characteristics the district wants.

The cost is $12,000 and the board established not to exceed $24,000 in case of extra costs.

Patterson made the motion the board accepts the MASB proposal for superintendent search and not to exceed $24,000.

The motion passed, 6-0.

Mickey Ginn requested more information be given in the future to the community.

"Give a brief synopsis," she said. Within it she would like to see why the board is going with the firm, more about the firm as well as why go with a firm instead of the district doing the search themselves.

The final step was to inform the staff and community on the process.

Hyer asked Reschke to put together a memo to inform the community the district is moving forward and to send a letter to parent and community leaders.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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