Brandywine picks finalist

Published 1:58 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- After hearing from two more candidates on Tuesday, the Brandywine Public Schools Board of Education has narrowed the field of four candidates down to one finalist, Gary Rider.
The rest of the board members agreed.
The Kenowa Hills High School principal, who was interviewed on Monday night, will now have to undergo a site visit to his school on Tuesday and a possible second interview before the board makes its final decision.
The board made the decision that Rider is the best fit for the Brandywine superintendent position after interviewing two new candidates, Mort Meier, an elementary school principal for Big Rapids Public Schools, and David Bess, superintendent of South Newton Schools in Newton, Ind.
The first interview was with Meier, who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Michigan State University. He is now looking to become a superintendent so that he can have a larger role in the big picture.
He has a people first philosophy when looking at budget cuts and thinks the students' best interests always have to be kept in mind.
Meier is a strong believer in student achievement and creating schools where students want to be.
The second interview was with Bess, who has earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Indiana State University and his doctorate from Indiana University. He has spent time as a principal, an assistant superintendent and now as a superintendent.
Though he is not current with all of Michigan's laws and requirements, Bess does not think it will be a problem to become familiar with them in a short amount of time.
And while there is not the school of choice option in Indiana, he understands the importance of the issue in Michigan.
He described his leadership skills as being flexible, innovative and informed with extremely high standards.
Bess said his experience, passion for learning and student achievement, commitment to community involvement and willingness to spend time in the district make him a qualified candidate for the position.