The Board of Education honored the district’s March Students of the Month on Monday. They are, from left: Alejandro Aviles, Sister Lakes Elementary; Jenna Hemenway, Justus Gage Elementary; Jayda Winchester, Kincheloe Elementary; Juliana Stanger, Dowagiac Middle School; Kendra Wilson, Dowagiac Union High School; and David Woolsey, Patrick Hamilton Elementary. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)
The Board of Education honored the district’s March Students of the Month on Monday. They are, from left: Alejandro Aviles, Sister Lakes Elementary; Jenna Hemenway, Justus Gage Elementary; Jayda Winchester, Kincheloe Elementary; Juliana Stanger, Dowagiac Middle School; Kendra Wilson, Dowagiac Union High School; and David Woolsey, Patrick Hamilton Elementary. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Archived Story

Justus Gage principal steps down

Published 8:00am Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Marcy Hendress will resign from her position as principal of Justus Gage Elementary School at the end of the week, citing family concerns in her letter to the Dowagiac Union Schools Board of Education.

The board accepted Hendress’s letter of resignation during its public meeting Monday night. She will step down from her position on Friday, April 25.

Hendress was not present at the meeting. Her letter was read to the rest of the board and the public by Board President Michelle Helmuth-Charles.

“At this time, I need to put all of my energy into family situations,” the letter read. “I appreciate the opportunity you have given me to serve the students, families and staff at Dowagiac Union Schools.”

The district will handle the vacancy next week, after Hendress officially leaves her position. The board will follow the usual procedures to find and hire a replacement, Helmuth-Charles said.

“While I understand that she has a lot of family things going on, we will miss her and we wish her the best of luck as she moves forward in her life,” the board president said.

Hendress became principal of Justus Gage in the fall of 2008. Hendress originally came to Dowagiac Union Schools from Edwardsburg in the 2005, beating out 58 other applicants to succeed the retiring David Strlekar as principal of Sister Lakes Elementary.

The board also updated the public to the status of their search for a new superintendent to replace Mark Daniel, who will leave the district in July. The district had posted the job opening on the front page of their website last month, accepting applications until last Friday.

Helmuth-Charles said the board should consider narrowing the field of accepted applications by May 2, choosing the top three to come into the district for interviews.

“I would like to have interviews set by May 12, which will give us, after the top three candidates are submitted, about a week to look at schedules and see where we are at on finding interview times,” she said.

In addition, the board will have to establish a committee to contact and verify references for applicants in coming weeks, she said.

“Last time, we had committees in the community for input as well, so we’ll think about using those as we go through this process as well,” Helmuth-Charles said.

The Board of Education also approved contract renewals and hires for the upcoming school year on Monday, including promoting Kelly Millin as principal of Dowagiac Union High School and John Juroff as the district’s maintenance director.

Other hires include:

• Keith Wiersma, maintenance A

• Katrina Daiga, director of state/federal programs

• Stacy Ritchie, director of finance

Renewals were:

• Mike Campbell, Sister Lakes Elementary principal

• Brent Nate, athletic director

• Heather Nash, Patrick Hamilton Elementary principal

• Sara Park, special education director

• Cathy Stone, Kincheloe Elementary principal

• Pieter Hoekstra, alt/adult education director

• Matt Severin, Dowagiac Middle School principal

• Dawn Conner, deputy superintendent

• Nichole Hulett, home school liaison

• Jennifer Thies, director of human resources

• Randy Gross, technology director

• Kevin Kelm, transportation supervisor

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