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Richard Weigel, Ypsilant Public Schools assistant superintedent and finalist for the Niles Community Schools superintendent position, speaks to teachers and administrators at the Niles High School library Wednesday afternoon. Weigel had a second interview Wednesday evening and was selected for a site visit. Representatives from the school board and district will go to Ypsilanti to evaluate Weigel next Thursday. (Daily Star Photo/AARON MUELLER)
Richard Weigel, Ypsilant Public Schools assistant superintedent and finalist for the Niles Community Schools superintendent position, speaks to teachers and administrators at the Niles High School library Wednesday afternoon. Weigel had a second interview Wednesday evening and was selected for a site visit. Representatives from the school board and district will go to Ypsilanti to evaluate Weigel next Thursday. (Daily Star Photo/AARON MUELLER)

Archived Story

Weigel frontrunner for new school chief

Published 10:56am Thursday, February 18, 2010

By AARON MUELLER

Niles Daily Star

After conducting second interviews with the final superintendent candidates Tina Templin and Richard Weigel on Monday and Wednesday, the Niles Board of Education has decided to make a site visit to Ypsilanti Public Schools Thursday where they will evaluate Weigel, the assistant superintendent of the district.

Board Treasurer Michael Waldron, Vice President Michael Dreher and two representatives from the schools will spend several hours visiting and observing the candidate.

The board will then meet Thursday evening at the administration building to discuss the site visit. If the representatives from the site visit and the teachers’ union make a recommendation for Weigel, he will be selected as the winning candidate, board president Dana Daniels said.

If a recommendation is not made, a site visit may be made to DeWitt Public Schools where Templin is superintendent.

The Thursday night board meeting is open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m.

In Weigel’s second interview Wednesday night, he presented many suggestions on how to improve what he thinks is already a very strong school district.

“First of all we have some work to do on the budget. That is first and foremost,” he said. “It’s a $2.2 million deficit if we don’t make any changes. That’s not acceptable.”

Weigel said it will be necessary to make structural changes to balance the budget, not just selling off assets. He said he and a team would look at the budget line by line and determine the least effective programs to cut.

“Every program needs to be evaluated,” he said.

Other than balancing budget, Weigel’s biggest goal for the district would be to pass a bond to improve buildings and technology.

“Every place I’ve ever worked we’ve passed a bond,” he said. “And I’m not going to break that trend. We need a bond issue to revamp these buildings.”

Other recommendations Weigel presented were seeking out more grants, making partnerships with colleges and increasing learning standards to focus on higher order thinking.

Weigel also pointed out that 530 students living in Niles are not attending Niles Community Schools.

“Why are they leaving? We need to figure that out,” he said. “We have to be promoting our schools and programs…and constantly working to attract kids.”

Weigel described himself as a servant leader and a good delegator with many contacts at the state and local levels.

To close his interview, Weigel issued a challenge to the district.

“Community begins with a shared vision,” he said. “We need more vision. Do we want to be a place where people come from all over Michigan and say I want to be like them?”

POSSIBLE SIDEBAR

Richard Weigel, where he’s been

1989 – Music teacher (long-term sub) at Toldeo Public Schools
1989-1996 – Music teacher and department chair for K-12 music programs at Adrian Public Schools
1996-1997 – Assistant principal at Pinckney High School (Mich.)
1997-2000 – Co-principal at Pinckney High School
2000-2005 – Director of curriculum, instruction and technology at Mason Consolidated Schools
2005-2007 – Executive director of educational services at Ypsilanti Public Schools
2007-present – Assistant superintendent at Ypsilanti Public Schools

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