Howard to become permanent EPS superintendent


EVART — Shirley Howard has been serving as the Evart Public Schools interim superintendent since January, but come July, she will move into the position for good.

A motion to hire her as the permanent superintendent was approved with a 7-0 vote by the Evart Public Schools Board of Education at a meeting on April 11.

"I'm very thankful and I feel like the board has a lot of confidence in me," Howard said. "Having a different set of eyes sometimes makes a difference."

The board hired Howard for the interim position in October in preparation for former superintendent Howard Hyde's departure at the end of December. Board members planned to seek a candidate for the permanent position last month with the help of the Mecosta Osceola Intermediate School District. Howard, who at the time of being hired as interim was unsure if she desired the long-term position, also would need to be interviewed again if she decided to apply. However, she said that opinion quickly changed.

"Within a month I though this was a great fit for me," Howard added. "I'm comfortable with the small town feel and after I got here and met the staff, I thought 'I feel great here.' I like to work, have something to do and feel like I have a purpose and I'm confident we can move forward."

At the meeting, Howard was interviewed by members of the board with the help of MOISD Superintendent Curt Finch to ensure there was no doubt they wanted her to take the permanent position.

Alan Bengry, EPS board president, believes the board was ready to take action because they feel very comfortable with Howard at the helm.

"I think she's done a great job, has identified issues that need addressing and already has a plan in place to get ideas rolling," said Bengry. "She's never acted like she was in a temporary position. It's been a compatible relationship and she's done good work already."

Howard's contract is set from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2019.

Also at the meeting, board members approved a motion to award multiple bids for the district's summer bond projects. They include concrete from Bella Concrete Construction, LLC, for $60,100; masonry from McMath Masonry, Inc., for $21,700; general trades from Griffith Builders, Inc, for $146,700; roofing from Versatile Roofing Systems, Inc., for $458,800; glass and glazing from Reed City Glass for $148,300; plumbing and HVAC systems from Lewis Brot., Inc., for $28,300; electrical work from Remus Electric, Inc., for $106,800; site work from Crawford Contracting, Inc., for $223,500; asphalt paving from Reith-Riley Construction Co., for $329,300; and playground equipment from Play Environments for $95,587.

Additionally, high school junior class advisor Jessica Kolenda discussed prom with the board. This year's event will take place on Saturday, April 30, at The Castle in Canadian Lakes, and students will not be allowed to transport themselves to or from the dance. Students can arrive and leave by school bus, or have a driver drop them off and pick them up. A signed permission slip noting how students will be transported must be signed when tickets are purchased.

In other business, the board:

  • approved a motion to invest the district's bond funds at Chemical Bank in Evart;
  • recognized teacher Deb Vincent as the Michigan Education Achievement Authority 2015-16 Outstanding Person in Education; and
  • approved a motion allowing four middle school students to travel to Boston to compete in the national Business Professionals of America competition.