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| 2 min read | by Lonnie Huhman, lhuhman@thesuntimesnews.com |

The Dexter Community Schools Board of Education will be looking for a new member as it will see its current president, Michael Wendorf, leaving for a new opportunity.

At the Dec. 7 Dexter Forum, Wendorf announced that he was resigning effective January 31, as he is moving to California.  

Longtime Dexter resident Louie Ceriani was honored by school board president Michael Wendorf and the rest of the board on May 6. photo by Seth Kinker



In follow up to the Forum, The Sun Times News reached out to Wendorf to get his view of his time on the board.

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“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as a trustee of this district since June 2005,” he said.

He served as Vice President for a number of years before being elected by the Board to serve as its president in 2014, and has served as president continuously since 2014.  

Wendorf said he was originally motivated to run for school board in 2004 as he sought, “to engage with the community and schools as a recent arrival in the district with two young school age children.”  

Although unsuccessful in that original run, he said the district invited him to be a part of its finance committee and discussions involving its 2004-05 budget.  

“I was deeply impressed by both the complexity of school funding and budgeting as well as the fact that in Dexter our teachers were equal partners in budgeting the district’s resources,” he said.  “I decided this collaborative process was something worth participating in and nurturing.”

He then ran for the board again in May 2005 and was elected. He said Ev Shirk was a relatively new Superintendent in 2005, although she was well versed in the Dexter way having been the vision behind what we know today as Mill Creek Middle School.  

“Working with Superintendent Shirk was a revelation,” he recalled. “Her knowledge of the district, passion for our kids and her commitment to always building consensus was infectious.”

He said he quickly became involved in contract negotiations with DCS teachers, and felt the trust and collaboration that already existed was, in his mind, enhanced even more by the way what seemed like a potential challenging issue, an issue that he no longer specifically recalled, was resolved.   

“Sitting together in a room with all relevant stakeholders, we paused, sat back and asked ourselves ‘what is the right thing to do for our students?’” he said.  “The issue was resolved and this way of resolving issues has to this day remained a core of our district.  I believe our district and the children and families we serve have benefited from this process.”  

Looking back on the past 15 years, he said he’s grateful for the confidence and support the DCS community, its administrators, directors and staff as well as his school board colleagues have shown to him.  He said he and DCS Superintendent Chris Timmis have worked closely together since 2014 and he has great admiration for Timmis’ vision going forward as well as the team of directors and administrators he has built.  

“This confidence and support has allowed us to grow this district in both good and difficult times,” Wendorf said. “The result is a district that I am proud to have been a part of all of these years.  I shall always cherish the trusting relationships we have built and the positive and infectious energy of our children, their teachers and families.”  

 He summed it up this way, “A sincere and heartfelt thank you to all.”

Going forward the school board has some big decisions to make.

According to current DCS school board Vice President Julie Schumaker, by law, the school board must appoint a new school board member within 30 days of a vacancy. She said the board will be discussing the appointment process and timeline at a future meeting with the expectation that a new school board member will be appointed by the end of February.

The board will also need to decide on a new president.

Wendorf’s seat is among three of the seven seats that will be up for election next November.

Wendorf is expected to make the announcement again at the Dec. 16 school board meeting. The Sun Times News will follow up this story with the reactions from the other school board members and the process going forward.

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