Farwell superintendent field narrowed to two finalists

November 10, 2017

By Pat Maurer

Six candidates vying for the position as Superintendent of Farwell Area Schools were scheduled for interviews on Tuesday and Wednesday, Interim Superintendent Tom House told Board of Education members, going over the interview schedule with the board.

The six interviewed included Bruce Tapio, Superintendent/Principal of North Central Area Schools in Powers; Loren Vannest, Superintendent of Hale Area Schools; David O’Bryant, Superintendent/Principal at Rogers City Area Schools; Mark Bretton, Elementary Principal in Dearborn Heights District #7; Gerald McCarty, Vice President for Student Affairs at Baker College in Flint; and Darby Weaver, K-12 Principal at Vestaburg Community Schools.

Of those six, according to a Thursday morning update from Superintendent House, O’Bryant and Weaver were selected as the top two finalists and are scheduled for second interviews on Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Special forums are scheduled both days to meet the candidates: at 10 a.m. for administrators and Directors; at 11 a.m. for parents and community members; at 1:30 p.m. for union leaders; at 2:30 for support staff; at 3:30 for K-12 instructional staff and at 4:30 for parents and community members.

A Luncheon will be held at noon for the candidate and community leaders each day as well.

Those attending the forums should stop at the high school office for directions.

After the 7 p.m. interviews, which are open to the public, House said, visits to the finalist’s districts may be scheduled.

In another matter at Monday’s meeting, the board reluctantly made the decision to “suspend” the Jack Pine Conference varsity wrestling program this year.
High School Principal Dr. Dee Yarger said there were only a very few, 3 or 4 students, were really interested in the sport and that they had been unable to find a new wrestling coach. A motion “to suspend the varsity wrestling program for 2017-18 due to lack of participation and coaching” was approved unanimously by the BOE.

Until a new Superintendent begins at the district, hopefully in January, the board also decided not to hire an assistant to the new Athletic Director/Assistant Principal Thomas Suggitt.

Suggitt was named Farwell’s new Assistant High School Principal and Athletic Director at the September 18 meeting of the Farwell Board of Education with the possibility that an assistant AD would be hired.

At Monday’s meeting the Personnel Negotiation Committee said they had tabled a decision on hiring an assistant AD due to budget constraints. John Gross said, “I feel it is best to table the position for a later date,” He added, “A secretary for the new superintendent takes priority.”

Holly Thrush said she didn’t agree with the decision. “You are asking our new AD/AP to work 12 to 15 hour days or even longer while he is still learning the job,” she said.

Board President Shari Buccilli said, “It’s not an easy decision. We all see the need, but there are other needs too.”House said in his report, “I know we are going to be extremely busy in the next couple of weeks with finding a new superintendent, but after that we will have to schedule a meeting for the Facility Audit by Wolgast, if we are going to prepare a bond issue (continuing the tax on the present bond issue) for 2020.”

He also told the board about the possibility of a wind farm project by APEX. He said several schools are interested in the project. “It could be a windfall for Farwell,” he said.

Action at the meeting included accepting the resignation of Darlene Gray and approval of Haley Thornton as a playground/crossing guard.

Two closed sessions were scheduled at the end of the meeting. One for student discipline and the second for negotiations.

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