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.