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Schools begin superintendent search

December 29, 2010 - By Laura Colvin

Review editor

Marion Ginopolis doesn't have any place to be July 1.

The news came as a relief to Lake Orion Community Schools' Board of Education, whose members recently took the first steps toward finding a permanent replacement for former Superintendent Ken Gutman.

Although Ginopolis' contract as the district's interim superintendent expires June 30, it can be extended.

Ginopolis told the board she's happy to stay on until an appropriate candidate is identified and hired.

School Board President Mary Jo Burchart told the board she breathed a sigh of relief when the news came.

"It takes a weight off us," Burchart said at a Dec. 8 regular meeting of the board. "When you're on a time crunch, you can't be as particular."

The board agreed to put out a formal request for proposals (RFP) before hiring a search firm, and Ginopolis' willingness to stay on will allow the board to pay more attention to the details, Burchart noted.

"We can be methodical and we can get the person we need," she said. "I don't want a body; I want someone who's going to move us forward…and if that takes two rounds it takes two rounds."

Members were working to hammer out details of an RFP - a document that, in part, outlines desired criteria - and expected to bring it back to the table at the board's next regular meeting Wednesday, Jan. 12.

By June, 70 districts in Michigan will be in the market for a new superintendent.

"I appreciate fully that other districts are looking," said Burchart. "But I do believe we are a quality district and I do believe a lot of people would appreciate coming here to work - so I don't want to go so quickly that we miss some important pieces."

Although waiting for firms to respond to an RFP will take extra time in the process, board members generally agreed it was a good idea.

"We haven't been down this road in quite some time," said Treasurer Jim Weidman. "We have an opportunity, with (Marion Ginopolis') ability to stay with us until we execute this properly, to take advantage of (an RFP). I would be all in favor of that; I think it's the only way to go."

Margaret Hazlett, the district's executive director of human resources, told the board she'd been in contact with other districts who recently went through the superintendent-hiring process, and noted those districts would be sharing information with Lake Orion.

The board also formed a superintendent search committee, consisting of President Mary Jo Burchart, Treasurer Jim Weidman, Trustee Kelly Weaver, and Trustee Bob Gritzinger offering to fill in as an alternate when and if necessary.

Burchart said the committee will do most of the "grunt work," but noted the board will be kept up to date about the group's progress.

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