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'Temporary interim' super appointed

November 03, 2010 - Outgoing Superintendent Ken Gutman will officially hit the road Nov. 5, but the Lake Orion Community Schools' Board of Education is still searching for an interim superintendent, and aiming to hire a permanent replacement for Gutman by June 2011.

Legally, the school district must always have an acting superintendent.

Jillynn Keppler, assistant superintendent of administrative services, will take the helm as the "temporary interim superintendent" until the Board of Education selects someone to fill the position for the next eight months.

"She's the face of the bond and I think she would be the logical person," said Board President Mary Jo Burchart.

Keppler agreed to filling in for the superintendent, but was very clear about her role being short term.

"I would do what we need to do for Lake Orion," she said.

Burchart said she'd like to have candidates for the real interim superintendent in front of the board at its next regular meeting and hopes make a decision on the replacement in the next several weeks.

"I am really adamant about getting somebody in place by Thanksgiving break. The longer we wait, the more it pushes everything else back and the more it will hurt us in the long run," she said, adding that only one board meeting per month in November and December makes expedient work a necessity.

At the board's Oct. 27 meeting, Burchart indicated between five and seven candidates were interested in the interim position. She and Boardmembers Jim Weidman and Tiffany Weber-Phillips will look over resumes and bring a recommendation to the full board. Whoever ends up in the position will be paid per diem, without benefits.

But before the board and administrators turned their thoughts completely toward a new superintendent, they said a few words of farewell to Gutman.

"The things that you've implemented in the last few years have been so significant that I can't help but thank you as a parent," said a tearful Keppler.

Boardmember Janet Wolverton said, "I hope you will be able to find that much sought-after balance I know you're looking for; me, above all, says family first. You will be greatly missed."

Gutman said he's still got mixed emotions about leaving Lake Orion as he thanked everyone for their strong leadership.

"I used to believe leadership was bottom-up, but it doesn't happen without a firm foundation at the top, without a vision, policy and guidance," he said.

He added, "From my perspective, I owe a big 'thank you' to this community… It's been a true honor."

Reporter, Lake Orion Review
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