MAPLE CITY — Four new trustees will be sworn in to the Glen Lake Community Schools Board of Education at a special meeting Saturday.
Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District board members appointed Jason Homa, Leah Mosher and Rick Schanhals Thursday morning.
The three join Brooke Hazael-Massieux, who was appointed July 2 by the TBAISD. The meeting is set for 9 a.m. at the Glen Lake High School media center. The election of board officers will also take place at that time.
Four former GLCS members — President Lisa Niergarth, Vice President Ross Hazelton, Secretary Jennifer Omerza and trustee Patrick Middleton — all resigned effectively immediately June 26, reading letters citing a toxic culture at Glen Lake and then abruptly leaving. With a majority of the board vacant, the TBAISD was tasked with filling the seats.
Schanhals, who is also a member of the Glen Arbor Township Park Commission, has previous board of education experience, serving 12 years for North Muskegon Public Schools — four as the treasurer and four as the president. He said the four main responsibilities of the board are to hire a superintendent — which they will have to do with the pending resignation of Sander Scott — negotiate contracts, make sure there is an operating budget, and to provide facilities for students.
“The backbone of the school is the relationship the board of education has with the teachers, support staff and administration,” he said. “Going forward, the most important thing we have to do is re-establish good relationships with everyone involved in teaching our students. “
This was Schanhals’ third time applying for a seat on the GLCS board, and he believes that both the community and the district are moving in the right direction to get past the turmoil that has dogged both for more than a year.
“We have an opportunity here to really make a difference and change the whole feeling at our schools,” he said. “I want to make sure I help with that.”
Homa is a 1992 Glen Lake graduate and parent of two students at the elementary school. In his letter of interest, Homa noted that Glen Lake is “a thriving school district that has every opportunity to be ... a gem of a small school district,” but he cited the struggles of the last few years and referred to the district as “a rudderless ship.”
“I think a lot of turmoil is likely vacated,” Homa said. “There’s a lot of space now that needs to be filled in, and we need to figure out how to move on from those issues.”
Hiring the right superintendent to lead the district will be key, Homa said.
“How do we understand what direction is the healthiest for the community, and how do we match the hires with the values of the community and the people who are already in the school?” he said. “I tend to look for people who match the values of the organization and finding that right cultural fit.”
Mosher declined comment until after she is sworn in, but she said in her letter that she was distressed by “the dysfunctional state” of Glen Lake.
“It is clear to me that healthy relationships and trust among teachers, parents, the community, board members and administration needs to be repaired,” Mosher wrote.
Mosher holds a master’s degree in educational leadership and has a child that will be attending GLCS. She said she has a “vested interest in sustaining the systems and culture that provide our students with an outstanding education and ensure trust among faculty, staff and the community.”
The first meeting of the full board is Monday, July 15.