Traverse City Record-Eagle

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March 12, 2014

Kalkaska schools narrows superintendent search

TRAVERSE CITY — Kalkaska Public Schools could have a new superintendent lined up by month’s end.

The school board winnowed the field to six candidates and hopes to wrap the hiring process before students go on spring break, which begins March 31, school board vice president Aaron Popa said.

The district has been on the hunt for a new administrator since current Superintendent Lee Sandy said in the fall he would retire at the end of the school year.

Sandy began his education career in Michigan as a teacher in 1966 and was named Regional Superintendent of the Year by the Michigan Association of School Administrators in November.

He started working with Kalkaska Public Schools in 2006 as an interim superintendent and later was asked to stay on a permanent basis.

School board members met March 6 to discuss the qualifications of 26 applicants and narrowed the pool to six top candidates.

Board members will speak with the six applicants in a series of interviews beginning Thursday to further narrow the field.

All interviews are open to the public, and community participation is encouraged. The applicants will respond to written questions from the public.

“The more the better,” Popa said.

The school board is working with the Michigan Association of School Boards in the hiring process. Board members have not yet determined how much they will pay the association, Popa said.

Search consultant Joel Raddatz said all 26 applicants were strong candidates.

“What I mean by that is roughly half of them are superintendents or have superintendent experience, which is very unusual,” he said.

The number of applicants also is unusual, Raddatz said, but not a bad thing. Most applicants hail from Michigan, though two applied from out of state.

“Twenty-six is about double what most schools this size can anticipate. I think it has a lot to do with Kalkaska. It’s a financially stable district,” he said. “Coming up with this number is really a compliment to this community.”

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