Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 24, 2013

Ex-hoops star aims to boost TCAPS' success

BY MICHAEL WALTON mwalton@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Area Public Schools newest executive will focus on one broad task when he starts his next role in July.

Sander Scott will oversee schools’ daily instructional operations and will supervise principals, social workers, and the district’s athletic and LEAP directors as TCAPS’ chief of schools.

For Scott that means putting systems of accountability — also called “accountability metrics” — in place to measure how administrators and teachers in each building are working to achieve the district’s long-term strategic goals, like 100 percent graduation and literacy rates for TCAPS students.

“Parents and the community, we are here to serve them,” Scott said. “These accountability metrics are not just for us to mess around with.They are for the community to be able to value our improvement.”

Scott, 42, currently works as Westwoods Elementary School principal. The sixth-generation Northport native’s background includes experience in nearly every aspect of the public education system.

He attended Northport Public School and was a multi-sport athlete who scored 39 points as an All-State guard in Northport’s 1988 state championship win; he graduated with a teaching certificate and a double-major in English and psychology from Central Michigan University, where he continued his basketball career; he taught and coached at Leland Public School; and he’s worked as a middle school and elementary school principal.

Scott said that background and his past service on school improvement teams honed his ability to work as a member of a team, something he and school principals will need to do as they develop accountability metrics at each building.

“We are not going to get work done without working as a high-functioning team,” Scott said.

Scott also brings with him a background — albeit brief — in the private sector.

Until recently Scott’s family owned a gas station and a Northport-based home heating business. The family sold the gas station in 2010 and the heating business in 2012. Scott in essence became “the CEO and CFO of those businesses” in teh years leading up to the sales, all while working as a school principal.

“I maybe come to this role with more of a financial and business understanding than what is common for a principal,” Scott said, adding, “Also a customer service perspective.”

TCAPS Superintendent Stephen Cousins offered Scott the newly created chief of schools position as part of a substantive district administration shake-up announced this month. The changes are an effort to improve academic instruction at TCAPS and offer more diverse ways to learn, and Cousins spoke highly of the role Scott will play in the district’s new look.

“He’ll be a great coach, a great mentor and a great advisor to the principals,” Cousins said.

Scott will make about $106,000 in salary and $156,000 in total compensation annually in his new role.