Morenci school to seek interim superintendent 2013.06.05

Written by David Green.


It’s still too early for the Morenci Board of Education to come up with a definite plan of action to replace the three administrators who will soon leave the district, but board member seem to agree on one point: an interim superintendent is needed for the immediate future while long-range plans are considered.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Osborne, who is currently shared between Morenci and Hudson, will serve Hudson alone starting in July.

At the regular meeting Monday, board members accepted the impending resignations of secondary principal Kelli Campbell and elementary principal Mary Fisher. Both administrators have found jobs with other districts. Fisher will continue work with the district through the end of July while Campbell will leave at the end of June.

Some board members met with Osborne to discuss possible administrators and Osborne is in the process of calling them to gauge their interest in the job.

Board member Laura Spencer, speaking in a committee meeting, said the ultimate goal discussed at the meetings is to find someone with strong leadership skills. Rather than rush into the hiring process, a known person could be hired to build stability in the short term while long-term goals are established.

“Several names have been suggested, but there’s not been enough time to put together a formal recommendation,” she said.

What’s needed from the board is some direction, Osborne said. Goals need to be formed to lead administrators toward what is trying to be achieved. Talking with candidates for the position might help in writing goals.

“I know there’s interest in the interim role,” said board president Scott Merillat. “It could be for six months, it could be for a year. That person might help with the selection of a long-term administrator.”

 Merillat said he wants an experienced person in the interim role to make sure the district complies with state law. Someone from outside the Morenci district has seen the operations of other districts and may bring new ideas.

A list of interim superintendents was obtained from the Michigan Association of School Boards. Osborne said he’s had calls from some individuals not on the list who are interested in serving the district.

Board member Larry Bruce said the board can’t expect to have a superintendent in the district five days a week. He was told by other interim superintendents that two or three days a week should be sufficient for a district of this size.

Merillat pointed out that one of the complaints made about Osborne is that he was not in Morenci often enough. A “culture change” is needed to accept that, Spencer said.

Spencer believes there is a good pool of candidates both for the superintendent role and the other administrative roles that will have more contact with teachers and students.

“The prime factor is to have someone with an interest in the district,” Merillat said.

If goals are made clear, said trustee Phil McCaskey, an experienced interim superintendent will know the routine and should be able to do the job.

The Lenawee ISD is willing to help the board with creating questions for the interviewing process.

Someone should be named as an interim superintendent by July 1, Osborne said, even if that person isn’t the one that will be hired for the post.

Merillat spoke at the regular meeting about the board’s desire to hire an interim superintendent and continue looking at what could be done in the next year with the other positions.

“In the long term, we have some ideas of where we want to go, but nothing set in stone,” he said.

Many ideas have been collected from staff and community members and some are different from what has been done in the past.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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