TRAVERSE CITY — Kalkaska Public Schools is one step away from hiring a new superintendent. All that's left to do is to negotiate a contract that both the school board and the top candidate are comfortable signing on the dotted line.
The board voted 6 to 1 in a March 27 meeting to begin contract negotiations with Karen Sherwood, who has been superintendent at Boyne Falls Public School since 2010. Sherwood was one of 26 applicants.
She stood out for her confidence, knowledge and experience, said Aaron Popa, school board vice president.
"I think she truly wants to come to Kalkaska," he said.
The district sought a new administrator since current Superintendent Lee Sandy announced in the fall he would retire at the end of the school year. The school board is working with the Michigan Association of School Boards in the hiring process, though board members have not yet determined how much they will pay the association.
School board members narrowed the applicant pool to the top six candidates on March 6 and conducted the first round of interviews March 13-17. Sherwood and Robert Gendron, current superintendent at Charlevoix Public Schools, emerged as the top two candidates and underwent a second round of interviews.
All interviews were open to the public, and teachers, parents and community members were encouraged to attend and submit their questions.
"We had pretty much a full house every night," Popa said.
Gendron withdrew his application after the second round of interviews, and the board held a special meeting to make sure they were confident in their decision to move forward with Sherwood.
Trustee Robert Dunn cast the lone dissenting vote. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Popa said the board hopes to have the terms of Sherwood's contract finalized by month's end.
"That gives her time to finish things up in Boyne Falls and us time to have her maybe work with Lee Sandy for a bit to ease the transition and build her knowledge of the district," Popa said.