By Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Education has always held a special place in Nick Steinmetz’s heart. His whole family was involved in education one way or another – so the importance of education was instilled at a young age, along with a passion.
In middle school Steinmetz had a few teachers that were passionate about what they did, setting in motion a path to where Steinmetz is today.
That “where” is now serving as Superintendent of Manchester Schools – after Steinmetz was offered the job on May 24 by the Manchester Board of Education over seven other candidates.
Steinmetz graduated in 2007 from Ferris State University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.
After graduation he taught summer school at the Advanced Technology Academy in Dearborn for a couple weeks before being offered a full-time position teaching third and fourth grade.
In 2008, Steinmetz began working towards his master’s degree in K-12 Education Administration at Michigan State University, while doing so, a classmate who taught in the Berkley school district told him they had an opening available.
A Principal in the district contacted him soon after and he was eventually offered a job teaching third and fourth grade.
From teaching in the classroom as his start, Steinmetz was able to see the administrative side of things as it relates to classrooms, and what could be done to help a broader base of kids. Steinmetz said that piqued his interest in going back to get his master’s degree.
Once he finished his master’s degree in 2010 he applied for a job posting in Ironwood for a principal. He was called for an interview, hopped in the car, drove north to the bridge, took a left and drove for five hours. He was offered the job and served as Principal at two elementary schools in the Ironwood School District over the next two years.
Steinmetz spent the last three years in the upper peninsula as the Assistant Superintendent/Director of General Education for the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District.
Steinmetz and his wife, Sara, were picky about choosing their location this time around. They wanted a small-town community close to a bigger metropolitan area.
In fact, Sara was the one that found the job posting for the Superintendent position in Manchester.
“I was just getting out of a meeting and she sent me a text saying she saw something for Manchester,” said Steinmetz. “She’s originally from Fowlerville, so it’s close, and I have family, my dad lives in Plymouth. We wanted our kids to be around their grandparents, so we agreed to check it out, and it was the right size with where I want to live.”
“This was kind of the perfect fit that slide into my lap,” continued Steinmetz.
Manchester schools have had many changes this year, welcoming a new superintendent, high school principal, and athletic director along with various other administrative changes and building adjustments.
After finishing his responsibilities up north, Steinmetz was able to make it down early for Manchester’s graduation and has since hit the ground running.
“We’ve made some progress towards tackling things (in the district),” said Steinmetz, speaking to the Sun Times on Jun. 21. “The last board meeting we approved lowering pay to play from $100 to $65, a push in the right direction. We’re going to try and eliminate it all together, but that’s a start. It’s been nice, a fresh start for everybody to take a fresh approach to everything.”
One of the things Steinmetz said he will have a focus on is communication.
“As a district we have to get better at communicating not only with students and teachers but also our community,” said Steinmetz. “We’re going to re-work how we communicate with our stakeholders and redo our district website, so our information is actually getting out there promptly. I think the biggest thing with me is relationships. Building that with the staff and students but also the community. This is a partnership with all of us, I want their voices to be heard. I’m a very approachable person.”
This will mean work on the website, teachers pages, the use of social media in the district, and call systems.
Steinmetz told The Sun Times that this summer they will continue to focus on moving third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms to the new Riverside Intermediate School, with the central office moving there later in the summer as well.
“Right now is a good time in Manchester,” said Steinmetz of the opportunity to be a part of the change in the area. “A lot is going on and all in the right direction. To lead that moving forward is a pretty exciting opportunity.”