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Four more years for Dr. Rock

July 06, 2011 - Dr. Rod Rock got four more years as Clarkston's superintendent in his new contract, approved June 27.

Clarkston Board of Education voted 4-3 to approve the contract, which runs from July 1, 2011-June 30, 2015.

His contract approved last year was for three years, ending in 2013 Board Vice President Susan Boatman questioned the extension.

"I am curious why we are making it longer until we find out more about his plans for the district," Boatman asked.

"I was surprised to see we extended it," added Secretary Joan Patterson. "When we gave him a three year contract, it would give him the opportunity to show us he is growing into his job. Let's hold it and look at it for next year."

Rock hesistated before he leaned to the microphone.

"We have a strong direction we are headed in and we are doing what the board set forth," he said. "I feel positive and good about our future."

Trustee Cheryl McGinnis supported the extension.

"I think it is important for our administrators, teaching staff and parents to see the process going on," McGinnis said. "It is honorable for this board to continue to our number one employee by solidifying the contract that is present."

Treasurer Rosalie Lieblang said it wasn't that they didn't support Rock, but wanted to work on setting goals and revaluate next year.

"I feel Dr. Rock is doing a great job and has a great impact on teaching staff," added Boatman. "I do not think in any way this is a vote of confidence it is a practical move to get another year of experience before talk about extending the contract."

Lieblang addressed a concern she has heard from parents and the community about Rock not currently living in the district.

"If you were to get this four year contract what are your thoughts about moving to the district," asked Rosalie, looking at Rock.

"It is not in my family's plans right now to change from our current situation," Rock answered.

Boatman made a motion to amend the contract term to 2010-2013. Patterson supported the motion.

Board President Steve Hyer strongly disagreed.

"I think the notion to retain existing term is preposterous," Hyer said. "The superintendent has been with us and has had a positive impact on our district. Not extending would be nothing short of telling him to find another job elsewhere. I am extremely proud of the job Dr. Rock has been doing and I don't want to do another superintendent search."

The contract extension sends a message to staff, students, and community, he said.

"Dr. Rock is here, we are behind him and you should listen to what he has to say because he is going to lead us along into the future," Hyer said.

"I agree with Mrs. Boatman," Lieblang added to the discussion. "We are looking to protect the district as well as get more experience."

"In 1999 I became a principal after being a gym teacher," said Rock. "There were notes under the door when I opened the from teachers needing to talk to me. I am a superintendent of Clarkston Community Schools. It doesn't matter if I have 100 years or 15 minutes of experience, I have no excuses to make a mistake. I am not keeping anything back."

Patterson added she didn't think he was making excuses.

"With any new job there are different expectations," she said. "It's an evolution of as a group coming up with what the job is, how we are going to accomplish it, getting all the pieces together and becoming Clarkston."

Hyer disagreed and said it sounded like the message being sent was lack of experience.

The amendment was turned down, 4-3 with Boatman, Patterson and Lieblang supporting it.

"I am disappointed the board extended Rock's contract," said parent, Dawn Schaller. "Dr. Rock does not answer to anyone, does not answer to the public. I believe Dr. Rock is not committed to Clarkston because he has not moved his family to Clarkston."

The contract includes an annual salary of $140,000, automobile allowance of $600 per month for auto expenses and mileage, tax shelter annuity of $10,000 per year, health insurance and $5,000 upon relocation within the boundaries of the district.

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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