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Schools delay sup't vote another week

September 08, 2010 - Time is running out for Clarkston's search for a new superintendent.

Meeting to discuss the two finalists, Sept. 2, Clarkston Board of Education decided to postpone selection so they can visit candidates' school districts.

"We haven't disregarded either candidate," said board President Steve Hyer. "Going with a site visit we can go out and maybe look at some of the traits we find important and zero in. Let's create some data this board eats up data."

The board spent two hours discussing Dr. Rod Rock, director of instructional services at Saginaw Intermediate School District and Dr. Gary Richards, superintendent at Imlay City Community Schools.

"I don't think we can make a poor choice," said Hyer. "We have two candidates fairly different in style and approach."

He added Rock is intriguing and he can use resources to take the district to the next level; Richards is a better point person and gets involved in the community.

"I could support either of the candidates," said Trustee Cheryl McGinnis. "I am so intrigued at the possibilities of DrRock. We don't like being second to anybody. I don't think we can get there without Dr. Rock."

Rock would do more for students in the middle, said Trustee Elizabeth Egan.

"I am leaning to Rock because he is so much more specific and I find him quietly inspirational," Egan said. "I saw teachers touch their hearts when he spoke."

Considering who can better deal with recent changes in the district is difficult because their skill sets are different, said Treasurer Rosalie Lieblang.

"Dr. Rock is a learner and Dr. Richards has hands-on experience," Lieblang said. "With such a young staff it is better to go with someone who has experience. I am on the fence but if I had to make a choice tonight Richards."

"I think it is great for the superintendent to be engaged all the way to the classroom level," added Hyer, on how each could help the students. "I put a lot of weight on feedback from admininstrators. Everyone's job is to focus on the kids."

Audience members added their thoughts on the search, which has a Sept. 13 deadline.

"Dr. Rock is a thinker and strong in curriculum," said Sheila Hughes, said former Clarkston School Board member. "But the district cannot run on curriculum and grants. We need someone with leader experience to help Shawn Ryan, deputy superintendent, and the district."

Richards would have more longevity, Hughes added..

"We are a stepping stone to Dr. Rock," she said. "I can't imagine you would have to put the district through this in another five years.

"There are things you have to feel," Hughes continued. "Being part of the community, visible in the community - not just sitting in the office. Also, who will utilize the talent we have in the district?"

Brooke Davis, president of Clarkston Education Association, said teachers will support whoever the board chooses, 100 percent.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Sept. 13. They will discuss contract details and offer the position to Rock or Richards.

Richard Dunham of Michigan Association of School Boards, leading the superintendent search, recommended the board come to a unanimous decision.

"The decision is the decision of the board and has to be supported by the entire board," said Dunham.

"This is also the finest two candidates I have seen a board have to vote on. A board does have to struggle between two great candidates."

The meeting will be at the school administration office, 6289 Clarkston Road. The regular scheduled meeting begins at 7 p.m.

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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