Longtime Brandywine educator ‘going home’

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A longtime Brandywine teacher said she is leaving the district to take a job in school administration and to be closer to family.

Second-grade teacher Jan Oltman has accepted a job as principal of Clare Primary School, a kindergarten through fourth grade building that is part of Clare Public Schools in Clare, Michigan, which is located about 200 miles northeast of Niles.

Jan Oltman

Jan Oltman

Oltman has taught either kindergarten, first or second grade at Brandywine for 25 years.

She starts her new job Monday.

“It is emotional. I will miss my colleagues, my kids and the families I’ve gotten to know, but for me this is going home,” she said. “I am not from Clare but I am from an hour from there so for me it is going home to be closer to family and friends.”

Oltman also said she has wanted to be a principal for the past few years.

“It is something I’ve been hoping for and it finally worked out,” she said. “I’m really excited.”

The Brandywine school board accepted her resignation at Monday’s regular meeting.

“I am very happy for her, but sad for us,” said Supt. John Jarpe. “We wish [her] well. This is a bittersweet moment for us because we will miss her.”

The district is in the process of seeking a replacement for Oltman.

Also at Monday’s school board meeting:

• An auditor gave the district an “unmodified opinion” (the best opinion possible) on the district’s most recent audit.

• Jarpe reported that the state legislature is considering using a portion of funding reserved for all of the state’s public grade schools to help get Detroit Public Schools out of debt.

• Jarpe said the district is planning to resell bonds approved by voters in 2006 and 2007 in order to take advantage of low interest rates. He said the savings would be passed on to taxpayers.

• Jarpe reported that Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign a bill that would change how teachers and administrators are evaluated. Student growth would account for 25 percent of a staff member’s evaluation for three years under the proposed system. Currently, student growth accounts for 40 percent.