After about six hours of interviewing five candidates for superintendent of schools last week, the Van Buren Public Schools Board of Education set another interview session for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 31, at the Belleville High School Commons.
The three final candidates for the position are:
- Joshua Talison, Ed.D., superintendent at the Beecher Community Schools near Flint since 2010. Previously he was a middle school principal in Southfield for five years, middle school principal in Oak Park for one year, and assistant principal in Rochester for four years. He has also been an adjunct professor for University of Michigan Flint.
- Peter Kudlak, assistant superintendent at Milan Area Schools since 2012. Previously, he was director of elementary education and elementary principal for Plymouth-Canton Community Schools for five years, elementary principal in Flat Rock for five years, and a teacher in the Ypsilanti Public Schools for five years.
- Terry George, high school turnaround principal at Hamtramck since 2014. Previously he was director of pupil services in Hamtramck for five years and was middle school principal and assistant principal in Southfield. He also was a principal in private schools and was a teacher in Detroit and New York.
Two other candidates were eliminated: Mark Keinhans, superintendent at the Bedford Public Schools, and Melody Strang, Director of Instructional Technology and Curriculum, Fenton Public Schools.
On May 31, the three remaining candidates will be interviewed by the board in a public session at 6 p.m., 7:10 p.m., and 8:20 p.m. and possibly a final decision will be made.
Dr. Rodney Green of the Michigan Association of School Boards who is facilitating the superintendent search for the school board said he will ask each candidate to come up with an eight-minute presentation on what each would do in his first 100 days on the job.
Then, questions the board members have suggested will be asked by Dr. Green. Also, the public will write questions on paper and toward the end of the interview, Dr. Green will screen these and ask about seven or eight more questions.
Each candidate will be invited to ask the board a question or two, as well.
Meanwhile, Dr. Green said he would do more in-depth reference checking and report his findings to the board before the interview day.
“What if nobody comes to the top?” Trustee Sherry Frazier asked Dr. Green at last week’s meeting.
Dr. Green said he could begin all over, if that was the case.
He said it takes four votes to approve a candidate for the position. Then a contract will be negotiated and it would be approved at the next board meeting.
The board had agreed to offer from $130,000 to $145,000 in base salary. Former Superintendent Michael Van Tassel, who was fired in February, made $139,000.
The board hopes to have a new superintendent on staff by the time the new school year starts on July 1.