More than 30 community members turned out Monday night for the first of three interview sessions for the next .
David Pruneau will retire at the end of the school year; the Board of Education has chosen six applicants to consider as his replacement.
, assistant superintendent for human resources for the Grosse Pointe Public School System, was the first candidate interviewed Monday night.
Harwood has been a Rochester resident for 21 years and has a daughter in seventh grade at . His son graduated from in 2009.
“I bring to you a depth and wealth of information of how schools run ... as a member of this community I appreciate the foundation of excellence,” Harwood said. “I have passion for the field of education, I have the courage to make tough decisions.”
The second candidate interviewed Monday night was , superintendent of Lakeview Public Schools in St. Clair Shores.
Paulson told the board he would consider Rochester the “last step in his career” of which he plans to continue for another 15 years. He lives in Lake Orion, but said he would move to Rochester if offered the position so his family could be involved in the community.
The board asked each candidate 14 questions about a variety of topics. In fairness to all of the candidates, Rochester Patch is not reporting the exact questions.
On closing achievement gaps
Harwood told the board that achievement gaps, specifically in the Native American student, is the subject of his dissertation. He stressed that "differentiation is key" in closing gaps in achievement and that early childhood programs provide a foundation for success.
On the same subject, Paulson had a slightly different approach. He told the board, "There will always be achievement gaps, our work will never be done."
Paulson went on to say that many of the tools used, such as MEAP testing, are done only once a year and are not as useful a tool as he would like to see implemented.
Budgeting and funding reductions is on everybody's mind in the education arena, and both candidates outlined where they have been able to find cost savings in their districts.
Harwood is teaching a course in budgeting and accounting at Grand Valley State University and noted he was successful in implementing a budgeting formula that "ties compensation to the realities of how districts are funded."
Harwood, who noted contract negotiations happen on a daily basis, called himself a collaboration leader who works with staff, students and the community to provide growth.
Paulson said his district has maintained an 8 percent to 12 percent fund balance and that it cut buses to save money.
The remaining four candidates are to be interviewed Wednesday and Thursday. The schedule is:
- 6 p.m. Wednesday: Geraldine Moore, assistant superintendent for instruction, Rochester Community Schools
- 7:30 p.m. Wednesday: Gary Richards, superintendent, Imlay City Schools
- 6 p.m. Thursday: Frederick Clarke, superintendent Albion Public Schools
- 7:30 p.m. Thursday: Paul DeAngelis, deputy superintendent for educational services, Birmingham Public Schools
The final round of interviews are scheduled for March 22, 24 and 25, starting at 7 p.m. at .
Members of the school community who have a question they would like addressed during the interview process are invited to fill out a comment card at the meetings this week. There will also be opportunity for public comment during next week's final round of interviews.
Concerned parent and PTA Treasurer Ramona Winarski said she hired baby-sitters for each night of public meetings this week. She encourages parents to be part of the process.