New school superintendent to be named Thursday

If all goes according to plan, the Rochester board of education will select its next superintendent of schools Thursday.

The two finalists for the job are David Richards, the current superintendent of Fraser Public Schools, and Robert Shaner, executive director of instruction and technology at the Warren Consolidated School District.

The two rose to the top from the 26 people who applied for the job.  Four candidates were interviewed in the first round on the recommendation of the district’s superintendent-search consultant, School Exec Connect.

After selecting the two finalists earlier this month, board members visited their current school districts. The two were invited to an open house Tuesday night to meet the Rochester community and are scheduled for a second round of interviews with the board of education Jan. 23.

Richards, of Clinton Township, is in his third year as Fraser’s superintendent. From 1995-2005 he was Rochester’s director of education technology and information systems. He left Rochester to become principal of Fraser High School. He has also been a computer-science teacher. He earned a Ph.D. and Ed. Specialist degree at Oakland University, a master’s degree in education at Grand Valley State University and a bachelor of science at Central Michigan University.

Shaner, of Shelby Township, is in his second year as the WCS superintendent. A Marine from 1987-98, he was attached to the Central Command Area of Operation, which included Somalia and the Persian Gulf. He has also been a police officer and detective, a high-school principal, middle-school assistant principle, a history teacher and a school crisis coordinator. He earned a Ph.D. from Oakland University, an Ed. Specialist degree at Wayne State University, a master’s in education at CMU and a bachelor of arts in political science and history at the University of Detroit.

Fraser has an enrollment of 5,356 students and a budget of $51 million. Richards earns $146,000. WCS has an enrollment of 15,600 and a budget of $160 million. Shaner earns $133,000. Rochester Community Schools has an enrollment of about 14,900 and an annual budget of $156 million.

This is the second year in a row the board of education has been searching for a superintendent. Fred Clarke was hired for the 2011-12 school year, but before the year was over he was interviewing for other jobs. He resigned in September without being hired by another district. The school board hired Tresa Zumsteg as interim superintendent until a permanent replacement can be found.

Once the board makes its selection, contract negotiations will begin.

The two finalists’ application packets are posted on the district’s homepage, Video of each man’s first-round interview can also be found on the website’s video archive page.

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