Niles board interviews Templin a second timePublished 10:39am Tuesday, February 16, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
The Niles Board of Education ramped up the difficulty of the questions in its second interview with DeWitt superintendent Tina Templin, one of two finalists for the Niles Community Schools superintendent position.
In her responses to the questions from the board Monday, Templin repeatedly pushed the importance of serving the students.
“We have responsibilities to raise a healthy, well-adjusted, educated human being,” she said. “We have a duty to care about children and develop a relationship with them.”
It’s something that she believes applies to all staff, including the superintendent. Templin described a situation when she took the time to personally tutor a struggling student with behavior issues. Although the child still ended up getting expelled from school, she was happy she made the effort.
“I’m sure it made an impression on him and his family, and I know it was the right thing to do,” she said.
Templin was repeatedly quizzed about how she would handle budget cuts, including the $2 million that needs to be sliced from next year’s budget.
Like in the first interview, Templin said the cuts need to stay away from the classroom.
“We need to communicate that kids are the priority,” she said. “Keep cuts as far way from effective programs as we can, keep cuts away from the classroom. We should never cut a program that disenfranchises an entire group of kids.”
Templin highlighted ways her school district has cut $1.6 million in the past three years without hurting student learning, including using open source software, going green, changing bus routes and grant writing. She also pointed out that her district is in the top 20 percent in the state in teacher salaries and the bottom 20 percent in administrative costs, evidence she said of her prioritizing the students.
Templin, a Niles Senior High School graduate, again played on her love for her hometown community. She called it a “fate situation” and said if selected as the new superintendent, she hopes it would be the last stop of her career.
Before the interview, Templin was given tours of all the schools and she was impressed with the focus of the students and the teaching approaches of the educators.
When asked about ways the district can improve, she said the schools would benefit from more cross communication between buildings, a bond proposal to improve aging facilities and marketing the successes of the school in the community.
On Wednesday, Richard Weigel, assistant superintendent of Ypsilanti Public Schools and the other finalist, will tour the schools, meet with teachers and the community and have his second interview at 7 p.m. at the administration building.
The board hopes to have selected the new superintendent by the week of March 1 with a proposed start date of July 1.