Brandywine board can’t decide between two finalists for superintendent’s job

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- After a third interview with superintendent candidate David Gray, the Brandywine Public Schools Board of Education decided it could not come to a unanimous decision on either of the two finalists and will entertain the possibility of bringing in a third candidate.
Curran indicated that he had previously talked to officials at the Michigan Leadership Institute, the firm assisting Brandywine in the superintendent search, regarding another option if the board could not reach a unanimous decision with the two finalists, Gray, superintendent of Eaton Rapids Schools and Kim Kramer, assistant superintendent of Plainwell Community Schools.
He said the firm was looking for a third potential candidate and hopes to have a resume packet available to board members before Monday night's regular board meeting.
The main issue of concern with the two final candidates was their two different management styles. Gray is thought by some to have a "laid -back" style, while Kramer's style is looked at as more hands-on and aggressive.
The special meeting began with an interview of Gray. He was asked about his "laid-back" personality and how it would translate to the position of Brandywine's superintendent.
He listed some previous accomplishments and duties to illustrate his drive when it comes to being a leader.
After the interview, board vice president Dennis Cooper, who questioned Gray about his vision for the future, was still not comfortable with Gray's ability to be a visionary and leader for the district.
Board trustee Rick Zache agreed by saying "being a visionary means having a destination, I don't see that destination (with Gray)."
Board treasurer Philip Bozung and trustee Cynthia Benson indicated their support of Gray as Brandywine's next superintendent.
Benson explained that she thought Gray had the knowledge, experience and the heart to lead the Brandywine district effectively into the future.
Bozung looked at Gray's management style as a "velvet hammer."
Brandywine staff and community members also spoke up regarding their concerns of dragging the process on too long and possibility of alienating the two finalists.
After nearly an hour of discussion, the board decided to "sleep on it" and entertain the possibility of having the Michigan Leadership Institute bring in a potential third candidate before their next meeting on Monday night. Curran said this does not mean that board will discard either of the two finalists.

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