Former Rochester Principal To Be Interviewed for Interim Superintendent Role

The interview will happen during Monday's Board of Education meeting.

Tresa Zumsteg, who served as principal of West and Hart middle schools and assistant principal of Reuther Middle School in the 1980s and 1990s, will be interviewed Monday night for the interim superintendent position for Rochester Community Schools.

Zumsteg retired as deputy superintendent of the Oakland Intermediate School District in 2010. 

If the interview goes well and she agrees to a contract with Rochester schools, Zumsteg would eventually replace Fred Clarke, who indicated this summer that he was looking to leave Rochester Community Schools. 

Clarke, who took over the leadership position in Rochester in July 2011, has not resigned.

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story indicated Clarke's contract was on the Monday night agenda; it is not.)

Zumsteg's resume

The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Harrison Room of the School Administration Building on University Drive. The meeting is open to the public.

Zumsteg is scheduled to be interviewed publicly by board members. According to a memo from the board's transition committee, which was appointed in July to help find a replacement for Clarke, following the interview, the board will be asked to enter into contract negotiations with Zumsteg. "We believe this course of action will allow us to make a seamless transition of leadership at the time of Mr. Clarke’s departure," the memo states.

Zumsteg was with Oakland Schools for three years. During her tenure as deputy superintendent, she created the Learning Achievement Coalition, a collaborative effort to close achievement gaps in the county's schools, according to her resume. 

She served as superintendent, deputy superintendent and interim superintendent for the Berkley School District from 1993-2007.

According to Zumsteg's resume, she was:

  • Principal of Hart Middle School from 1989-1993 (she opened and helped design the school)
  • Principal of West Middle School from 1986-1989
  • Assistant Principal of Reuther Middle School from 1985-1986
  • A special education teacher for Rochester Community Schools from 1978-1985

"Because Tresa is an educator first, student learning is always her core focus," wrote Oakland Schools Superintendent Vicki Markavitch in a letter of recommendation. "She has infused her views from the field on how to best help struggling school districts, thereby moving our services from theory to practice — from advice to usable tools and processes."

In 2004, Zumsteg was named Michigan's Administrator of the Year. She has  bachelor, master and doctorate degrees from Michigan State University.

Transition plans

Clarke  in an email message to Rochester parents in July. 

"My experience in Rochester has convinced me that my true passion lies in working to close the achievement gap in districts that are challenged in ways that Rochester is not," Clarke wrote.

Once Clarke's intentions were made clear, the board put plans in motion to put a transition plan in place.

Clarke's announcement coincided with the revelation that he was a candidate for a superintendent position at Grant Public Schools; he was not offered that job. 

Clarke was a finalist for a superintendent position with the Bay-Arenac ISD in Bay City, according to meeting minutes from that district's Board of Education.

According to Clarke's contract with Rochester, .

Also on the agenda for Monday night's meeting:

  • A presentation on the summer learning program.
  • A report on opening day.
  • A legislative update from Clarke.
  • The hiring of nine teachers.
Colleen September 07, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Joshua Raymond September 10, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I am very disappointed there is not an opportunity for questions from the public in this process. While the public should have a chance to comment, as is the case with any agenda item, it is difficult to make informed comments with the little information available at this time.
cathy September 10, 2012 at 03:15 PM
It is great that they are moving forward to have a interim superintendant to ensure a smooth transition. My question is how long we will continue to pay Clarke's salary while he searches for another job? With all the issues we are facing we need to get someone who is committed to the district in that role as soon as we find the right person.
Richard Happening September 10, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Hopefully this hire will be an improvement to a district that sorely needs it. We don't want to end up like Chicago. Teachers on strike, kids on the streets. I can see why they are striking though. CPS teachers have done such a good job for the kids over the years. Why would they have to deal with those pesky "accountability rules". The hard-working teachers there are just focused on the kids and what is best for the little ones.


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