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Rock on!

Clarkston School Board picks Rod Rock as superintendent

Will Rod Rock accept Clarkston’s offer? (click for larger version)
September 15, 2010 - A visit to Saginaw sealed the deal for school board members, selecting Dr. Rod Rock as Clarkston's new superintendent.

"The engagement of the students and teachers spoke volumes," said Trustee Barry Bomier, who visited Saginaw schools with Treasurer Rosalie Lieblang and Vice President Susan Boatman.

"What I was comforted about was a lot of people showed up in support of Rock," said Boatman. "No one said they had any problem communicating with him."

Clarkston Board of Education voted unanimously, Sept. 13, to hire Rock, director of instructional services at Saginaw Intermediate School District. Rock was not in attendance.

Board members also visited Imlay City Community Schools, home of the other finalist, Dr. Gary Richards.

Board members were impressed with the Cultures of Thinking program instituted by Rock at List Elementary School in Frankenmuth. They observed an exercise where students looked at various items from kitchen, toys, period items, old souvenirs and write down what they thought about it. Then, they refined the information.

The program was first adopted in Traverse City, and encourages students to think, and develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. It reminded Bomier of Clarkston's IB program.

"Rock heard about it going on, took a group up to Traverse City, then wrote the grant," said Boatman. "The kids were very enthusiastic."

Board members also observed teachers' techniques and practices in the classroom.

"I met a lot of people who were positive Rock can do the job," said Lieblang. "Rod is committed to doing what he thinks is right."

Bomier spoke to the Merrill School District superintendent who knows both candidates and said Clarkston had two great candidates.

"It boils down to two choices," the superintendent told him. "One is very traditional and will lead the district and do an excellent job. The other is non-traditional. He will take your district to places you never thought of."

"That thought binds to me," said Bomier. "The decision I want to make is what value do we bring, what is the change, what is the difference of the life of a child at Clarkston Community Schools. I continue to get excited about the opportunities."

Board members were split between the two candidates.

Secretary Joan Patterson was impressed with the input she received from parents and administrators in Imlay City for Richards.

"I saw problem-solving capability that can be transferred to a larger district," she added.

Richard Dunham, consultant with Michigan Association of School Boards, said it was important for the school board to make a unanimous decision

The district would be in good hands with either, Dunham added.

The next step is for Rock's attorney to review the contract before he formally accepts the position.

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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