Dowagiac moves forward with superintendent search

Published 7:50 am Wednesday, April 17, 2019

DOWAGIAC — Following last week’s announcement of Superintendent Paul Hartsig’s resignation, the Dowagiac Board of Education is moving forward with a search for his replacement.

Board members have decided to pursue a search for an external superintendent candidate to replace Hartsig. The search, led by the Michigan Association of School Boards, will cost the district roughly $6,000.

Hartsig announced his resignation, effective June 30, at a special board meeting April 8. At that meeting, the board heard a presentation from Michigan Association of School Boards about an external candidate search, but members were undecided at that time if they wanted to move forward with a search immediately or to interview internal candidates first.

During Monday’s regularly scheduled board meeting, Board President Larry Schmidt said that the board decided to move forward with a more extensive search as it will give the district a wider pool of candidates to choose from.

“That allows you to have more fish to fry,” he said.

During Monday’s meeting, board members heard a presentation from Jay Bennett, assistant director of executive search services for MASB, about a search for an external candidate. In his presentation, Bennett discussed the specifics of the search and the posting for the superintendent. He recommended that the board set the salary range for the posting at $115,000 to $125,000. He also suggested that the search for the new superintendent be completed by the end of June, despite previous fears that the process could take up to 13 weeks.

Following the presentation, Schmidt said the board is eager to begin the search for a new superintendent. He added that he already has an idea of the qualities for a successful new superintendent, chief among them the ability to guide the district as is completes improvements under the bond passed in 2015 by district voters. Projects to be completed include remaining improvements to all elementary schools and Chris Taylor Alumni Field, among others.

“[The new superintendent] needs to be a good steward of the funds because we, at this point, are in good shape district-wide, and we want to keep that going,” Schmidt said. “We also need someone who can monitor not only the existing activities that are in place now but also along the line as we complete projects that are relative to the remaining bond money. That is a huge one.”