Superintendent search nearing an end as two finalists are vying for the position
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The cream rose to the top in the search for the next superintendent who will lead the Crawford AuSable School District as two finalists for the position came to the forefront.
Members of a superintendent search team, Crawford AuSable School Board members, and school staff were on hand for a second round of interviews with finalists for the school chief’s position held on Friday, May 15.
Justin Gluesing, the associate superintendent for human resources and labor for Alpena Public Schools, and Raphael Rittenhouse, the superintendent for Iron Mountain Public Schools, were selected as final candidates for the position.
Other applicants who are no longer being considered for the job include Natalie Davis, the director for the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center, and Johnathan Whan, the superintendent for Grant Public Schools.
The search team and school board members held meetings with the candidates. They then toured all schools in the community guided by teachers, and had interviews for the position.
After long deliberations, the search team determined it was too close to call between offering the job to Gluesing and Rittenhouse.
The superintendent search team includes: Bret Krabill, a sixth grade mathematics and language arts teacher at the Grayling Middle School; Olivia Van De Ven, a Grayling High School student; Gina Brunskill, the Grayling Elementary School principal; Stacy Huber, the Crawford AuSable School Board treasurer, who has two children enrolled in the Grayling Elementary School’s Extended Learning Year program; and Dave Malm, a trustee on the Crawford AuSable Board of Education, who is the chairman of the search team.
Input was solicited from teachers and school administrators before the deliberations took place.
Sally Voorhees, a Grayling High School special education teacher, was impressed with Gluesing’s background in recruiting new teachers.
“We all know that getting good people to come here, and keeping them here and to integrate into the community is huge,” she said.
Jeff Branch, the assistant principal at the Grayling High School, highlighted Rittenhouse’s skills as a community leader.
“He just came across as a clear and very calm, confident leader,” Branch said.
Krabill recognized Gluesing for getting new teachers acclimated into their roles, while also acknowledging Rittenhouse with his wealth of knowledge.
“His stockpile of knowledge is just impressive with literally any education issue and he seems to have some background with it,” Krabill said.
Crawford AuSable School District Superintendent Joe Powers retired from his position with the school after 13 years on the job on March 31 of last year. He was later brought back on a part-time basis to serve the school district through a month-to-month contract.
Powers took a job working as an educational consultant for Wolgast Construction, which has several locations throughout the state.
Powers is serving as a coordinator for the superintendent search.
Powers said the experience of serving as a superintendent should be considered as far as which candidate is offered a contract to be the next superintendent for the school district.
“I think the most glaring aspect of it is one had done it and one has not,” Powers said.
Since it was a toss-up between the two finalists, selecting the next superintendent will be turned over to the school board, which has the ultimate authority to offer a contract to the next superintendent and to negotiate terms of the contract.
Malm said the board has the ability to determine if any additional input is needed regarding the superintendent search.
“The board has been involved with this the whole way, so it’s not like that we have to start from square one with the information,” Malm said. “I don’t think there is anything wrong with that if they are that close.”
The school board will meet at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 1, in the conference room at the Grayling High School to determine which finalist will be offered the job.
The board will then give its tentative approval of the contract at its next regular monthly meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, April 8.