“Where are we with MASB? Do we have a meeting scheduled with them?
These questions were posed by Susan Schmidtendorff, president of the Three Rivers Community Schools Board of Education, during the board meeting Monday evening (June 17). Her queries came in regard to board action in April to contract with MASB – the Michigan Association of School Boards – to assist in the selection of a new superintendent to succeed Roger Rathburn who has announced his intention to retire from his current position in 2014. Since then, however, he and Mark Bielang, superintendent of the Paw Paw Public Schools, have surfaced as the two finalists for the superintendent’s job in the Portage Public Schools. In fact, ‘second interviews’ with both men are scheduled on Wednesday (June 19).
In response to Schmidtendorff’s question, Board Secretary Pete Bennett, who chairs the board’s Human Resources Subcommittee said, “No, we don’t because they were going to contact us for this fall to start the process of community involvement. I can give them a call. I was kind of waiting until we find out what’s happening with the white elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about,” a reference to the potential for an early departure by Rathburn if he is the person chosen for the position in Portage.
Schmidtendorff said, “I don’t know that we need to wait for that, or whether that plays a part in it.” She suggested having board members and others – “a core group” meeting with MASB this summer “where we all sit down and we get a feel for what their process is, what they’re going to expect from us, what we might expect of them, and how that will look on the calendar.” Schmidtendorff asked Bennett to contact MASB and he said he would do so.
One possibility that emerged from the discussion was scheduling such a session with MASB as part of the board’s organizational meeting on July 15, a meeting slated to begin at 8 a.m., rather than the usual starting time of 7 p.m. Schmidtendorff also mentioned a 5:30 p.m. gathering, prior to a regular board meeting, and talked about doing it during the summer and not waiting “for the craziness that sets in with fall.”
Bennett noted that, if Rathburn is successful in his quest for the job in Portage, the board may “find ourselves looking for an interim.” Schmidtendorff said, “That changes the dynamic, but it doesn’t change the fact that we need to start on the process.”
‘Second interviews’ schedule from Portage Public Schools – Wednesday, June 19th, Central High School Community Room
- 3:00 p.m. – Community Reception for Mark Bielang
- 3:45 p.m. – Community Reception for Roger Rathburn
- 4:30 p.m. – Interview of Mark Bielang
- 7:00 p.m. – Interview of Roger Rathburn
For additional information about the superintendent search process in Portage, click here.