GRAND RAPIDS — Parents and members of the community will have the chance to interact with the final three candidates vying to become superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools.
On Monday, Feb. 17, the school board will hold focus groups on from 11:15 a.m. to 1:35 p.m. at GRPS University, located at 1400 Fuller Ave. NE, in Room 107.
This will be an opportunity to learn more about each of the candidates and their backgrounds, as well as get the opportunity to ask them questions.
Those parents and community members interested in participating need to RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the GRPS Communications office at 616-819-2149. Lunch will be provided and there will be interpreters on-site to assist with language needs.
Throughout the search, the board has tried to get the advice of experts, said Kristian Grant, president of the board. She said they consider parents, teachers, and other members of the community experts.
“We want their real feedback and their real opinion throughout this process,” she said.
Following each candidate’s turn with the focus group, participants will be able to fill out online surveys to give the board their opinions about the candidates.
“We are really hoping that people will use those and share,” Grant said. The board takes the comments into consideration when making their decisions about the candidates, she said.
After the focus groups at 5:30 p.m., the candidates will be interviewed by the board. Those interviews will take about 75 minutes per candidate and will be live-streamed. The interviews will be at the Lyman Parks Administration Building, 1331 Franklin St. SE.
The board received 39 completed applications for the job. This is the district’s second search to replace the retired Teresa Weatherall Neal. Ron Gorman, Asistant Superintendent of Pre-K-12 Institutional Support, has served as interim since July 1.
The three finalists were selected after the first round of interviews with five candidates.
The candidates are scheduled to meet with the focus group in the following order:
- 11:15 a.m. – 11:55 a.m — Darrin Slade: He has been the assistant superintendent of school leadership for Kansas City Public Schools since 2018. Before that, Slade spent a large part of his career in the District of Columbia Public School system. He has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Towson University, a master’s in teaching from Johns Hopkins University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from University of Maryland College Park.
- 12:05 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. — Leadriane Roby: She is currently assistant superintendent of Richfield Public Schools in Richfield, MN. She’s been in that position since 2014. Prior to that she was the principal for Covert Public Schools in Michigan for about a decade. She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Arts in Education Administration from Saint Mary’s of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in K-12 Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology from Western Michigan University.
- 12:55 p.m. – 1:35 p.m. — Erick D. Pruitt: Pruitt has been the Deputy Chief of High Schools for Chicago Public Schools since August of 2019. He has also been a principal for Luke O’Toole Elementary School in Chicago, Ill. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, a Master of Education in Education Administration and Supervision, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Illinois Superintendent Endorsement from National-Louis University.The board voted in April to restart the search, passing on two finalists, to find someone with more experience and qualifications identified in the superintendent profile.
On Monday, Feb. 24, the school board is scheduled to meet to determine the next superintendent.
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