Search for permanent superintendent delayed

Published 8:36 am Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Board hiring LMC trustee as ‘full-time interim’



It will likely be more than a year before Niles Community Schools hires a full time replacement to fill its superintendent position.

Interim Supt. Kevin Ivers said a “matter of timing” led the board to decide to delay the search for a permanent replacement for Richard Weigel, who resigned last month, until November or December of this year.

The board originally set a goal of hiring a

replacement by the end of June.

“We kind of missed the deadline as far as trying to recruit somebody at this time of the year,” Ivers said. “In order to do the search the correct way, you need to have some time to gather focus groups and get community input. To do that in a rushed haphazard manner, it really makes people uneasy.

“You want to give people time to think about what they want in their next leader rather than be reactionary.”

In the meantime, the board is in the process of hiring a “full-time interim superintendent” to replace Ivers, who is currently splitting his duties between Niles and the Berrien Regional Education Services Agency, where he is also superintendent.

“I can’t devote the time that is necessary to move the district forward,” Ivers said.

On Monday, the board voted unanimously to enter into contract talks with Michael Lindley to become the full-time interim superintendent. Lindley, of New Buffalo, is on the board of trustees at Lake Michigan College. He has more than 20 years experience as a central office administrator, including most recently serving as superintendent of New Buffalo Area Schools for 18 years.

“He (Lindley) approached me to do this when he found out I was here,” Ivers said. “I think it’s a win win for everybody.”

Lindley could be hired as soon as the board’s April 7 meeting.

If Lindley is hired he would not be considered for the permanent superintendent position because of the interim tag, Ivers said.

Lindley would serve as interim superintendent until a permanent superintendent is found. Ivers said Lindley would likely serve in that role for the remainder of the school year and probably all of next school year.

The board explained its reasoning for delaying the process in a press release distributed to the media after Monday’s regular meeting.

“During our conversations with the Michigan Leadership Institute, it became clear that the most qualified educational leaders seeking new positions for the 2014-15 school year were already committed to other schools,” Kathy Zeider, board president, said in the prepared statement. “For that reason, we believe it is in the best interest of our school community to delay the search until later this fall.”