RCAS board sets goals, expectations for new superintendent

ROGERS CITY — Goals of new Rogers City Area Schools Superintendent Nicholas Hein were discussed after he was hired during a special board meeting Tuesday.

Hein was hired after he was interviewed by the school board. After the unanimous vote to hire him, the board discussed what his goals would be as superintendent.

The goals were broken down into five categories: board communication, financial, academic, networking, and elementary and secondary relationship.

“I believe the board needs to partner with the superintendent even more now than in the past, as we have had some struggles with our relationship with the community,” board Vice President Frank Andrews said.

Former interim Superintendent Jeffrey Liedel suggested clear guidelines for the board to set for Hein.

Board President Ivy Cook said communication is going to be important for everything to run and work.

In terms of communication, the board will require Hein to provide two reports every month. Once at the board meeting and another at the executive committee meeting. On the financial side Liedel said the board will look for a 2017-18 budget amendment by March. Then there will be another budget amendment needed in June and budget proposal in April of 2018-19 and to have the protocols and standard operating procedure. Academically it will want to discuss test scores next May and plan of action for academic improvement.

Liedel said the board thought the idea of networking is important and includes the importance of building relationships with other superintendents.

“Most everything has happened before. There are solutions out there,” Liedel said.

The fifth component is the secondary and elementary relationship. Liedel said he believed strongly in developing the transition from fifth to sixth grade.

Along with hiring Hein, the board also approved the resignation of Food Service Supervisor Tony Friday and teacher Ben Witter.

During public comment at the meeting many people voiced their concerns over Friday’s resignation.

A few people spoke up to discuss the behavior board member Devin Pommerenke has exhibited to Friday. Another member of the public said they believed Friday planned to resign before Pommerenke discussed anything with him.

Teacher Mandy Polaski expressed her thoughts of board overreach.

“After much thought I believe this board member has the best intentions in mind. I have to believe that because otherwise it would be an intentional act and that would worry me,” she said. “If we have a board member intentionally going into classrooms, questioning teachers based on rumors, or what I call hallway complaints, then that is worrisome. If we have a board member who is taking it upon himself to solve issues, rather than follow protocol and trust the process and administrators, than we have an issue. If we have a board member who feels free to confront an employee privately, regarding complaints without representation present, then what is to stop that person from coming into my classroom and micromanaging how I teach? That would be an issue.”

Liedel said it’s important any individual board member has no authority to go into a classroom and go into the cooks’ area, anything like that.

“They’re just a parent outside of this meeting room, they’re just a parent. They have no authority beyond this board,” he said.

Other board members agreed.

As a result of what was expressed at the meeting Andrews suggested the board needs to better understand the standard operating procedures and the chain of command.

Jordan Spence can be reached via email at jspence@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.