Brandywine eyes second of two top job prospects

Published 10:00 am Thursday, April 1, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Brandywine superintendent candidate Kim Kramer stressed the importance of teamwork and collaboration within the Brandywine district at his final interview on Wednesday.
Before the 5:30 p.m. interview, Kramer got the chance to meet with members of the staff and community during an hour-long public reception at Brandywine Elementary School.
He was surprised by the number of staff that turned out for the reception and the amount of pride they displayed for the Brandywine school district.
Kramer is currently the assistant superintendent for Plainwell Schools, where he has been for the past 14 years.
The interview began with a short presentation by Kramer centering on his philosophy of leadership.
He said a good superintendent must be an educational leader, a political leader and a managerial leader.
Kramer spoke on the importance of developing a clear district vision and having collaboration from staff, students and the community.
When asked about how he plans to motivate as a superintendent, he said "the greatest motivation tool I have … is to roll up my sleeves and dig in."
Kramer explained how he helped the Plainwell district to clean up after a storm by putting on a pair of jeans and leading by example.
He said the three most important issues facing Brandywine today are budget concerns, stabilization across the district and continued facility improvements.
Kramer said the facility improvement bond is a great start, but thinks some additional improvements can be made through creative thinking. If he is selected to be Brandywine's superintendent, Kramer said he would stay five to 10 years with the possibility of staying longer if everything goes well.
Kramer went on to explain that he is a good match for Brandywine. "I think that I bring a wide range of experiences that can help the district," he said.
When considering budget cuts, Kramer said he will strive to keep academic success at a high level by keeping all academic programs as a high priority. He said raising student achievement is his "champion cause."
He also said he will work closely with the staff to gain input in the areas where they feel budget cuts could be made.
In his first interview, Kramer told the board his position in Plainwell was going to be eliminated because of the budget crunch. On Wednesday, he was asked to further explain his status in Plainwell. Kramer said each department was asked where they could cut back to save money, as director of operations for the district he found that his department was spending too much in administrative costs. Doubling as an assistant superintendent, Kramer was being paid twice as much as an average director of operations and reported this fact to the board. The board chose not to eliminate his position last year, but do to a continued budget shortfall they decided to eliminate his position as director of operations after this year.
Kramer made it clear that the district wanted to keep him around and that this was strictly a budget issue.
In closing, he mapped out some of the goals that he had in store for the Brandywine school district.
Among those goals were using collaboration and teamwork, raising student achievement, developing collegial and shared leadership and promoting "Bobcat" pride.
The board plans to visit the two final candidates' school districts on April 13 with an alternate date set on April 21. The other finalist is Eaton Rapids superintendent David Gray.