(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 7, 2017)
Ferndale, MI – Ferndale Schools Superintendent Blake Prewitt is one of five finalists for the position of Lakeview School District in the Battle Creek area.
A story in the Battle Creek Enquirer revealed his application there, prompting parents in Ferndale Schools to question what the impact would be to the district. The news comes shortly after the resignation of Amy Butters from the School Board and the announcement of the retirement of Ferndale High School Principal Roger Smith.
School Board President Jen LaTosch hopes to reassure the parents, teachers and students. “The Board of Education hears and understands the concerns about the apparent ambiguity at the highest levels of the school district. We understand that in times of uncertainty, people have a natural tendency to fill in the gaps with speculation,” she said.
“This speculation within the community may be due to the coalescence of three, totally unrelated events; Ferndale High School Principal Roger Smith’s retirement, Amy Butters’ resignation from the Board of Education and the job interview of Blake Prewitt for the position of Superintendent of Lakeview Schools. We understand that when you couple this series of events that it can appear that there is more to the story, however we can assure you that these events are unrelated.”
She said there are no more anticipated retirements or departures. “It is also important to note that while it is not unusual for superintendents to seek out new opportunities under similar time frames that we are experiencing here, the board does not expect any additional departures from within its ranks and has recently received reassurances from several top administrators of their commitment to the Ferndale Schools community,” she said.
There are succession plans in place should Prewitt take employment elsewhere. “Upon receiving notice of Mr. Prewitt’s interview, Vice President Jackie Hart began to update information on superintendent search firms,” Latosch said. “The Governance Committee and full Board will begin working on that information in the event of the superintendent’s resignation. We want to assure everyone that we will have solid leadership continuity and that our top priority will continue to be the best interests of our students in Ferndale Schools.”
Prewitt became Superintendent of Ferndale in 2014 as part of wave of new leadership both on the Board and the Administration following the scandalous departure of Gary Meier and administrators who were siphoning district resources to start their own charter school consulting company.
In the past two and a half years, Ferndale Schools got new administrators, won a settlement against the former Superintendent, and underwent a restructuring that combined the elementary school aged students, consolidated buildings and brought revenue to the district through the sale of properties.
When asked why he was applying elsewhere, Prewitt said “My children will be out of the house next year. Becoming empty nesters, my wife Tonya and I began considering making a move personally and professionally. In researching Lakeview Schools I found a district that would be a good fit for my skills and abilities. We feel that the position in Lakeview would be a great next step in our lives. That being said, as I pursue this new challenge, I remain committed to doing the best job I can for the students of the Ferndale community, they deserve nothing less.”
When asked how parents can be assured that if he stays his heart will be in the job, he said “As a career educator, my passion is for doing whatever I can to help students develop a thirst for learning and thrive personally and educationally. Regardless of if that is in Ferndale or somewhere else, I come to work everyday to do what is best for my students.”
Prewitt has not been hired, but has made it to the final round of interviews. According to the Battle Creek Enquirer, “Board members will interview the candidates for the first time March 11 in the Lakeview High School Forum. The second round of interviews is scheduled for March 22. The board hopes to announce the new superintendent on March 29.”
The Ferndale School Board is still accepting applications to fill the seat left by Amy Butters’ resignation. Those interested can find more information at http://www.ferndaleschools.org/district/board/join/.