Board set to replace Scott, who shares memories

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Criteria for the next superintendent. Established by the board.

Criteria for the next superintendent. Established by the board.

By Katie Morang
The Holt Journal

As the Holt School District prepares to say goodbye to its superintendent, Dr. Johnny Scott, it is preparing to welcome its next superintendent to Holt Public Schools.

Since the beginning of January, the school board has been in the process of finding its next superintendent. The school district has chosen the Michigan Association of School Boards to aid in the search and conducted surveys in the community to find out what the people want in their next superintendent.

The school board finalized its findings from the surveys just last week and gauged the response from the community.

“We had quite a bit of response to the community surveys in both the online responses and the public forum,” said Trustee Julie Bureau. “It was actually pretty awesome to see the wide variety of comments that people gave.”

“People certainly want more communication and to know that their voices are heard,” said Trustee Doug Needham. “One thing we are lacking severely in is just getting the community in touch with some of the administration about some of the policies that have taken place over the years. Even though we might be doing something very well, the fact that the community hasn’t always been aware of that has caused a problem.”

The board has now officially updated its job posting with all of the criteria that it agreed would be important in the next superintendent.

“In a nutshell, were looking for superman,” joked Bureau. “We definitely want someone who has classroom and prior administrative experience.”

“We have had 15 candidates submit their formal application so far,” said Board President Lori Zajac. “However, the posting will not come down until after April 22 – so we fully anticipate that we will have additional candidates submit their applications during the last week.”

The school board will meet April 28 to narrow down its selection pool. Bureau says that they plan to select no more than eight applicants to move on to the first round of interviews.

Ever since the November election, the school board has been divided. Three new members were elected in the wake of the north campus controversy. With a split board, coming to an agreement could be challenging.

“Even though the board is somewhat divided, we are looking for relatively the same type of individual. We want someone who is well spoken, we want someone who is experienced, we want someone who can bring our community back to where it should be,” said Needham. “However, when it gets down into the nitty gritty we may have some differences. I do think that we can agree on the same person through a lot of discussion. We all do have different views and perspectives, so if we truly agree on one individual, then that is definitely the individual for the job.”

With    Scott’s last day quickly approaching, the board is anticipating the adjustment.

“I think Dr. Scott has done a great job. His heart is in this district. He has stepped up to the plate and certainly made a positive impact on a lot of our students,” said Needham.  “However, I do think that it is time for change. The recent school board election has showed that people are looking for change. I think a new superintendent coming in at this point is pivotal so that we can take this to the next phase.”

Many of the board members agree that it is time for change, and so does Dr.  Scott.

“I think Holt Public Schools is in a good place. I think the district is a place where innovation is honored. It’s the right time to move to the next chapter. Whoever is next to lead the district will receive it poised and ready to accept them and that new direction,” said Scott.

The next phase for Holt Schools involves innovation and adjustment, but what is the next phase for Scott?

Scott, whose last day is June 30, hasn’t thought too much about his retirement yet.

“It hasn’t completely dawned on me that I’m leaving. Once graduation is over, that’s when I think it will really dawn on me.

Dr. Scott at his desk

Dr. Scott at his desk

Not only is school closing and ending, my career is as well,” said Scott.

He hasn’t thought too much about what activities will occupy his newfound free time, but he is sure about one thing: his grandchildren.

“I’m going to be a full time grandfather. I have three grandchildren and I’m going to devote a lot of my time to them,” said Scott.

Approaching the end of his career, Scott reflects upon his many memories and experiences. He remembers walking kids to school, riding the bus with them and racing with them around the playground.

“I have a lot of fond memories like that with the kids. I will miss being in classrooms. I believe that you have to inspect what you expect. In order to be consistent with that, I would visit classrooms and spend a good amount of time there,” said Scott.

“I know I’m going to miss being in education, but life is a cycle and I’m looking forward to entering a new phase of my life,” said Scott.

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