Special meeting to be held for superintendent search

LINCOLN — With the announcement that Alcona Community Schools Superintendent Shawn Thornton will retire in March, the ACS Board of Education will hold a special meeting Monday to discuss her replacement.

Thornton made the announcement that she would retire during a Monday school board meeting. A possible front runner as her replacement, recommended by Thornton, is Alcona High School Principal and Athletic Director Dan O’Conner.

Board Chairman Dr. Dan Chamberlain said Thornton’s replacement, the replacement process, and O’Conner’s merits, would be discussed at the Monday meeting, to be held at 5:30 p.m. at the high school.

Thornton’s last day on the job will be March 1. During her announcement she recommended the board hire from within the school district.

“I don’t get a vote but it would be my recommendation for this board to highly consider O’Conner as a replacement for me,” she said.

Thornton said O’Conner is very informed about the school’s processes and state education, and is a hard worker for the school who has dedicated his career to bettering the environment for teachers and students.

“I feel very confident that we have people internally who have the capacity to continue to take us in a great direction and make things even better,” Thornton said.

Thornton told the board it was with mixed emotions that she decided to retire.

“I have a lot invested in this community and this school district and I have thoroughly enjoyed my job in working with all of our wonderful faculty and staff here and also the boards of education over the years,” she said.

She said in her retirement she looks forward to spending more time with family with her free time.

“Being able to see some of those things (is) difficult to do when you’re limited to a week of spring break and some time at Christmas,” she said.

Thornton highlighted the staff during her announcement.

“I am so proud of the staff and what we have accomplished over the years,” she said. “I think they’ve done phenomenal things over the years in becoming progressive. I feel confident that there is a momentum in place that will move the district forward. I feel we’re in a very good place, and it has been my honor and privilege to serve in this capacity for the kids in our district and community.”

Chamberlain said he would miss Thornton as superintendent.

“In the time that I have been here you have made difficult decisions and I think that you have put us in a direction that has really set the district on a nice course,” he said.

Vice President Gary Sims said Thornton did a great job over the years as superintendent.

“If you look at our bronze awards in the gym it shows your strong leadership,” he said. “As a board member it was always appreciated. Thank you for your time and effort.”

Jason Ogden can be reached via email at jogden@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Jason on Twitter @jo_alpenanews.