Important decision awaits APS board

Presuming a contract can be hammered out between Alpena School Superintendent John VanWagoner and Traverse City Area School officials, local education folks soon will be looking for VanWagoner’s replacement.

The selection of VanWagoner this week as Traverse City’s new superintendent is certainly a good move for him, but one that leaves Alpena in a more precarious position than usual given how the whole educational system has been turned “upside down and inside out” by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Not only are local APS board members having to wrestle with the possibility of huge losses in student reimbursements from the state, they also are trying to figure out even how to run school operations in a safe manner next fall. Should they have to shut down physical facilities like they had to this year because of the Coronavirus, they also need to have preparations in place to immediately convert students and teachers to an online educational school.

And, in the case of APS, there is that matter of the bonding issue that voters recently approved. That issue alone is complicated and needs someone who can invest the time and knowledge to oversee and manage it every step of the way.

Truthfully, the timing couldn’t be worse for Alpena.

VanWagoner has been gracious in offering his help to APS in the transition period.

We wish him well.

While there will be a sense of urgency by APS officials to find a replacement quickly, we would offer instead the wisdom of proceeding slowly, ask lots of questions, present different problem solving scenarios of the candidates and do a lot of research into each’s background.

It will be critical for the APS board to find a strong leader for the challenge that lies ahead in the district.



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