Davis returns, Zajac reverses
Changes were a frequent topic at the Tecumseh Public Schools (TPS) board meeting Monday night. The first order of business was to accept the Lenawee Intermediate School District (LISD) recommendation to appoint former board member Lynne Davis to the open seat on the board and swear her in as a trustee, and the last board action was to rescind the resignation of Athletic Director Jon Zajac after a lengthy closed session.
Davis thanked the LISD for their assistance in seating a full board and for the warm welcome from the other board members, and shared her philosophy on board service. “It’s a tough job often requiring you to make decisions that your neighbor, your friend, or your family may not appreciate,” she said, stating that members should use their experiences and wisdom to make decisions. “But when you sit in your board chair, you are no longer just you, and you need to leave your personal emotion and opinion over a situation at the door.” She said board members have to look at each situation with the children’s best interests in mind.
The board voted to appoint Davis as the new vice president, and reinstated Becky Brooks to the position of secretary with all but Trustee Tim Simpson voting yes.
Simpson spoke after a closed board session regarding Zajac. “We were approached by Mr. Zajac that he wanted to rescind his resignation, but our policies do not give the superintendent the ability to do that, so that falls back on the board,” Simpson said. Simpson made a motion to rescind the resignation of Zajac and the board voted to do so.
Superintendent Rick Hilderley thanked Jacob Anastasoff for his service to the district. Anastasoff is leaving his roles as seventh grade principal at Compass Learning Center, eighth grade principal at West STEAM Center, and district curriculum coordinator for a new position with Taylor School District as assistant superintendent of secondary curriculum and operations. Because of his departure, Trisha Howard, who was to be the principal of third and fourth grade students at the Herrick Park building next year, will lead as middle school principal; Lisa Shirk, Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) coordinator, will move to Herrick Park as principal. Shirk will continue MTSS work with the help of other administrators.
There will be no change of assignments at the high school or the early learning centers. There is an internal posting for an assistant principal at the middle school and interviews will take place next week.
In addition, Hilderley’s executive assistant, Teri Hoeft, announced her retirement, stating that she has worked for 14 superintendents and attended nearly 1,500 board meetings. “The time has come,” she said. “I graduated here, I worked my whole career here in the central office. I’m very thankful.” Hilderley lauded Hoeft as an icon in the district who will be missed.
The district reorganization for next year will see students in kindergarten, first and second grades at North and South Early Learning Centers, grades three and four at Herrick Park Intermediate Learning Center and Patterson Intermediate Learning Center, and students in grades five through eight at the middle school (now Compass Learning Center). Hilderley said that he and Facilities and Maintenance Director Tom Hawkins have been touring buildings and looking for furniture for the libraries at Patterson and Herrick Park buildings, such as shelving and desks, which were redistributed during the last reorganization. They also discussed the system Hawkins will put in place for how and when staff will move.
A discussion item regarding school vans was added to the agenda. Brooks spoke about the purchase of two vans for the district, which was approved last year but no action was taken. “The issue that was passed by the board at that time was for the purchase of twelve-passenger vans, but in order to get somebody licensed to drive the van, it could not have a capacity over eleven,” Hilderley said, stating that 10-passenger vans would not solve the problem because it might leave out some members on teams that were small enough to use one. Brooks said that several local school districts have 10-passenger vans. It was decided to check into the previous approval regarding whether it was for a dollar amount or a specific type of van, and change the specifics accordingly to allow for van purchases.
The Tecumseh Administrators Association contract was removed from the agenda’s action items as recommended by Hilderley, who said some questions have arisen and more discussion with the association is needed.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will no longer require mandatory quarantine for close contacts. “They will recommend it, but they will leave it to each individual local health department to decide if they want to create an order related to close contact quarantine,” Hilderley said. The county superintendents met Monday regarding quarantines and agreed that it was important for all school districts to approach the issue with consistency, and drafted a document to be shared with county families regarding the changes. “Close contact quarantines will only be in place for issues that the health department deems necessary,” said Hilderley. Those issues may involve quarantine for siblings or children of family members who test positive for COVID-19, but not for close contact students in that child’s classroom or team.
The next meeting of the school board will be Monday, May 24 at 7 p.m.