In a late December meeting, a Farmington school board subcommittee came to some conclusions about the process for replacing Superintendent Dr. George Heitsch.
The Superintendent Subcommittee gathered on December 27 at Craft Breww City at 12 Mile and Orchard Lake Roads in Farmington Hills. Committee chair and school board president Terri Weems said she saw a need for the meeting, given Heitsch’s July 1 departure.
“I decided long ago that we needed a meeting between December and January,” Weems said. “My view was, if we waited until (the next board meeting on) January 15, we would be a month off from getting some real stuff done… It just seemed too long a period for me.”
Why Craft Breww City? Weems said the location was central and, with everyone on vacation, she thought the group could get a bite to eat and socialize after the meeting. Subcommittee member Jessica Cummings also attended, along with school board Secretary Angie Smith.
The third committee member, Terry Johnson, bowed out on the day of the meeting, Weems said, so she invited other trustees. In the interest of transparency, she also posted the meeting agenda on the district’s website.
The agenda included discussion about a formal complaint filed against Heitsch shortly after the board’s December 5 meeting. Weems said when she read the complaint, she saw no clear violation of district policy, but in the interest of fairness and due process, an outside consultant will review it.
Weems said she’s been frustrated over the media emphasis on the complaint. A WXYZ-TV report cited it as the reason for the meeting.
“The purpose of the meeting was to talk about George’s replacement and a succession plan,” she said.
Committee members agreed on hiring a search firm and will make a recommendation, with a draft request for proposals, at the January 15 board meeting. There will also be more discussion about the role Heitsch will play over the next six months and through the new leader’s transition.
“We’ll have to give some thought to what that looks like,” Weems said.