New superintendent to begin on July 1LEROY — Matthew Lukshaitis is set to become the superintendent of Pine River Area Schools beginning on July 1. Born in Mount Pleasant, he has been following a career in education since the mid-1990s, being in both administrative and coaching positions throughout Michigan and in Arizona. He met his wife, who is a native of Reed City, at Traveler's Bar and Grill in LeRoy, and they have five children and four grandchildren. Soon, they will be moving to a home in the Tustin area. "I'm very excited," Lukshaitis said about being chosen as Pine River's new superintendent. "My wife and I are looking forward to moving back to the area where we met and I'm looking forward to getting involved in the district and the community." Lukshaitis, who is currently employed as high school principal and curriculum director with Mason Consolidated Schools in Erie, was the top candidate after a series of interviews which took place in February and a site visit to the district in March. "The superintendent position is a great opportunity to make a positive impact on the district and to interact with staff, students and the community," he added. "Pine River gives a real sense of community, it has an aura of friendliness and its sense of school pride is refreshing." A three-year contract was signed between Lukshaitis and the district on March 25 at a board of education work session after a unanimous vote of approval by board members. His contract will run from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2017, or longer if the board chooses to extend it at a later date. He will receive a salary of $98,000 and an annual annuity of $4,000. Board President Jim Peterson said the next step with Lukshaitis is long-term planning regarding the former Luther and Tustin Elementary School buildings, transportation and the possibility of leasing buses, and student achievement. His experiences within school districts of varying sizes and backgrounds will assist him in his Pine River administrative position, he added. Apart from discussing tough district issues, Lukshaitis will take the time to form relationships, interact with community leaders, listen to others and learn as much as possible about PRAS. "I also think I'm a creative thinker and I think outside the box," Lukshaitis said. "There's no limit of things to do if you're around people who are interested in furthering district goals."