Howard chosen as interim superintendent

Board votes in favor of former CHSD superintendent after second round of interviews

EVART — After a second round of interviews with two candidates, Shirley Howard was chosen by the Evart Public Schools Board of Education as the district's interim superintendent.

The board hosted the interviews on Oct. 27, interviewing Howard and former Clare Public Schools Superintendent Doniel Pummell with help from Mecosta Osceola Intermediate School District Superintendent Curtis Finch. The pair were chosen out of a panel of four finalists after a first round of interviews in October, which included Steven Westhoff and Ron Kraft.

Board members asked a series of questions, seeking additional information about each candidate's personal goals, educational strategies and opinions, strengths and actions in "what if" situations.

Following both interviews, the board deliberated under Finch's guidance. He encouraged the trustees to focus on only positive aspects of Howard and Pummell. He also thanked the board of education for the opportunity of assisting with the superintendent searches and said he plans on posting the permanent position in January or February, with interviews expected to take place in May.

Board members expressed how impressed they were with both candidates, saying they believed Howard and Pummell to be exceptional and well-qualified. However, when asked their top pick for the position, board members unanimously chose Howard and approved a vote to begin contract negotiations with her. The contract will be approved or rejected at the EPS Board of Ed's next regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9.

"I think the unanimous choice of picking Shirley shows the board is united in what it's looking for in a candidate," said board president Alan Bengry after the meeting adjourned.

Upon accepting the contract, Howard will serve as interim superintendent from Jan. 1 through June 30, and can apply to be the district’s permanent superintendent while the search for such a candidate takes place during that time period. Finch is assisting with the search, a service free to charge to the district.