By Seth Kinker,

Monday, March 19 the Manchester Board of Education took the next step in finding the next Superintendent of Manchester Community Schools. During a special board meeting they selected eight candidates to be a part of the first round of interviews taking place Apr. 9 and 10 at the Manchester School Board Meeting Room.

The Board selected the eight candidates from around 30 applicants received by the search firm ran by Tony Hollow and Linda Brian. Of that number, 25 qualified as being acceptable applicants, meeting all the criteria established by the Board.

From there, the eight were selected after the Board reviewed every applicant based on a rubric system, with the eight applicants being the highest scorers on the rubric. The rubric included their experience, their references and criteria set by the district for its next Superintendent.


While Hollow said the Board had the option to choose anywhere from 5-10 applicants to interview, he said the Board really wanted to meet these eight candidates.

The eight candidates are Dr. Corey Helgesen (Superintendent/K12 Principal, Litchfield Schools), Nicholas Steinmetz (Assistant Superintendent, Gogebic-Ontonagon ISD), Dr. Michael Prelesnik (Elementary Principal, Mason Public Schools), Dr. Mandy Stewart (High School Principal, Petoskey Public Schools), Kevin Upton (Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Lincoln Consolidated Schools), Dr. Jeff Thoenes (High School Principal, Williamston Community Schools), James Baker (Assistant Superintendent, Lakeview Schools), and Scott Riley (Superintendent/K12 Principal, Camden-Frontier Schools).

The interviews, which will be open to the public, will be around 45 minutes with a majority of the time dedicated to a Q and A portion for the board to get to know the applicant better.

Hollow stressed that the Board has worked to keep the process transparent by inviting community input before putting out the search, and now inviting students and community members to be part of the interview process.

After the Apr. 9 and 10 interviews, second round interviews will take place the following week.

Apr. 30 there will be a special board meeting to authorize Board President Chris Fegan the right to offer the contract to their chosen finalist.

Hollow says the timeline, which is available on the District homepage, remains on schedule and the only item up in the air would be a decision on site visitations.

“We’re going to go to their place, if the board decides to do that,” said Hollow, “Because it’s going right down to the finish line. The site visitation means representatives from the board and maybe community members and the search team, will be making site visits to the places of employment of the finalists. Interviews will be scheduled throughout the day with staff, students, and board members they work with.


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