Rochester school leaders will interview the four semi-finalists for the superintendent position during two public meetings this week.
The Board of Education will meet Monday and Wednesday nights. Each candidate will be interviewed for 75 minutes: Robert Martin and Cindy Weber on Monday night and David Richards and Robert Shaner on Wednesday night.
The superintendent vacancy is the result of the resignation of Fred Clarke in September. Tresa Zumsteg has been filling in as the interim leader of the district since then.
Monday's meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. with election of board officers. The interviews will follow. Wednesday's meeting begins at 7 p.m. Both meetings are open to the public in the Harrison Room of the School Administration Building.
Here is the schedule of interviews:
- 7-8:15 p.m. Robert Martin
- 8:15-8:30 p.m. Break
- 8:30-9:45 p.m. Cindy Weber
- 7-8:15 p.m. David Richards
- 8:15-8:30 p.m. Break
- 8:30-9:45 p.m. Robert Shaner
At the end of Wednesday's meeting, board members will discuss the candidates and deliberate which candidates to invite back for second interviews the week of Jan. 21.
Here's a closer look at the candidates:
Dr. Robert Martin
- Current position: Martin has been the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the West Bloomfield School District for three years. In that role, he is overseeing the reconfiguration of elementary schools in the district of 6,300 students.
- Prior experience: Martin was the deputy for strategic reform for Pontiac Schools, a leadership consultant for Oakland Schools and a middle school principal in Southfield. He is a former high school choir director.
- Lives: In Rochester Hills.
- Education: Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan, advanced degrees from Wayne State and Oakland University.
- Leadership philosophy: "A strength that I repeatedly demonstrate is my ability to build consensus and support for major projects," he stated in his application.
- About Martin: "Robert is the quintessential transformational leader," stated Thomas Maridada, who worked with Martin in Pontiac Schools. "As an educational leader, it is evident to me that as a result of his dynamic, unrelenting pursuit of excellence, he has become a change agent in our profession."
- Current position: Weber has been superintendent of Durand Area Schools, with an enrollment of 1,600 students, for the past five years. She supervises a staff of 175 and an annual budget of $13 million. Under Weber's direction, Durand completed a $14 million bond project to renovate facilities, technology and grounds.
- Prior experience: Before that, she was assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, technology and human resources of Shoreham-Wading River Central School District in Shoreham, NY. She also worked as an assistant superintendent for Liverpool Central School District in New York, which has an enrollment of about 8,900. Before that, Weber was the director of career and technical education for Midland County Intermediate School District for 16 years.
- Lives: In Durand.
- Education: She earned her bachelor's degree in business education from Central Michigan University and advanced degrees from CMU, University of Michigan, Michigan State and Syracuse.
- Leadership philosophy: "I am a visionary and will be able to lead Rochester Schools to success beyond your expectations," she stated.
- About Weber: "She does not allow tight budgets to come before instruction and finds ways to move forward with our goals of bringing students to higher and more relevant lifetime preparation," said Michael Cooney, a retired elementary principal who wrote a letter of recommendation for Weber.
- Of note: Weber was one of four finalists for the Saginaw Township schools superintendent position earlier this year.
Dr. David Richards
- Current position: Richards has been superintendent of Fraser Public Schools for the past two years. The district has an enrollment of 5,356 students and a $51 million budget. Under his leadership, the district developed and passed a $19.9 million technology bond proposal. One achievement he highlighted was the planning and development of a 1:1 iPad initiative in the district.
- Prior experience: Richards was the principal of Fraser High School for five years, where he created and oversaw a coffee-shop-style meeting place for students to socialize and do homework after school. From 1995-2005, Richards was the director of educational technology and information systems for Rochester Schools. Before that, he was a teacher for Belding Area Schools.
- Lives: In Clinton Township.
- Education: Bachelor's degree from Central Michigan, advanced degrees from Grand Valley State University and Oakland University.
- Leadership philosophy: "My role as a leader is to identify and cultivate their skills in order for them to flourish and be successful," he stated.
- About Richards: "Dr. Richards has a mindset that all problems CAN be solved and everybody has something good to offer," state Gerry Gauthier, president of the Fraser Public Schools Board of Education, in a letter of recommendation. "His positive demeanor is contagious."
Dr. Robert Shaner
- Current position: Shaner has worked as executive director of instruction and technology for Warren Consolidated School District for the past two years. The district has an enrollment of 15,600 and a $160 million budget. In his position he is currently facilitating the installation, training and implementation of an $11 million districtwide technology upgrade. In 2010 he received a yearlong fellowship to study educational leadership in China and other countries.
- Prior experience: Shaner previously was principal of Sterling Heights High School. He has also worked as an assistant middle school principal and high school teacher. From 1997 to 2000 he was a juvenile detective for the Troy Police Department.
- Lives: In Shelby Township.
- Education: Shaner earned a bachelor's degree from University of Detroit and advanced degrees from Central Michigan, Wayne State and Oakland University.
- Leadership philosophy: "I believe that my strong sense of integrity, clarity of purpose and ability to build a team to accomplish a mission, begin to define me as a leader and educator," he stated.
- About Shaner: "I consider Dr. Shaner an expert in the development of professional learning communities," said William Keane, in a reference letter. "His work in significantly raising the achievement levels in his high school when he was principal was, in no small part, due to his ability to engage the staff in a learning project in which all felt ownership."
- Of note: This summer Shaner was one of two finalists for the Birmingham Schools Superintendent position.
For a complete bio and full candidate application packets, visit the "Superintendent Search" area on the Rochester Community Schools home page.