David Richards and Robert Shaner have been named finalists in the search for Rochester's next superintendent.
Who are these men? They were the educational leaders thought to be the "best fit" for inspiring Rochester Community Schools staff and improving achievement for students, Board of Education members determined just before midnight Wednesday.
Richards, superintendent of Fraser Public Schools, and Shaner, director for instruction and technology for Warren Consolidated School District, will return to Rochester in two weeks to visit with principals, teachers, students and parents. And the public will get a chance to meet them during an open house Jan. 22.
Here's why they were chosen as finalists.
Ties to Rochester
Board members unanimously picked Richards as a finalist.
He has been superintendent at Fraser for the past two years. The district has an enrollment of 5,356 students and a $51 million budget. From 1995-2005, he was the director of educational technology and information systems for Rochester Schools.
Board members highlighted his familiarity with Rochester, but mentioned his humility, too. "He wasn't trying to say he knew it all," board member Chuck Coutteau said.
They also noted his "impressive education credentials," along with his vision and drive. They agreed with one of his philosophies: that "student engagement is key, and students have to own their own learning."
To read Richards' resume and application packet, visit the "Superintendent Search" area on the Rochester Community Schools home page.
Shaner has worked in his role for Warren Consolidated School District for the past two years. The district has an enrollment of 15,600 students and a budget of $160 million.
In 2010 he received a yearlong fellowship to study educational leadership abroad; board members appreciated this global experience.
They also appreciated his forthright and precise answers during his Wednesday night interview; when asked about his views of virtual learning, Shaner said he believes in "brick and mortar schools with a teacher in the classroom."
Shaner has been a principal and a teacher and was a former police detective. Several board members cited Shaner's clarity of vision: he was succinct but thoughtful, they said.
Shaner mentioned that he and his family are in Rochester "a lot" for events and activities.
To read Shaner's resume and application packet, visit the "Superintendent Search" area on the Rochester Community Schools home page.
Richards and Shaner were selected over candidates Cindy Weber, superintendent of Durand Area Schools, and Robert Martin, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for West Bloomfield School District, who both interviewed Monday night.
Board members debated at length between Shaner and Martin, whom they praised for his creativity and collaborative approach to leadership. Martin lives in Rochester Hills.
In the end, Shaner received four votes from board members and Martin received two votes, with one board member torn. The votes were cast on secret paper ballots.
Next week a team of board members, school principals and other leaders in the school community will travel to Warren and Fraser to conduct site visits. Board members will also call at least 14 references for each candidate. Richards and Shaner will return to Rochester Jan. 22 and 23 for more interviews.
Community members will have an opportunity to meet both candidates at an open house from 7-8 p.m. Jan. 22. The candidates will be interviewed publicly the evening of Jan. 23.
Board members will make a decision and vote on entering into contract negotiations with an individual on Jan. 24.
The superintendent will replace Fred Clarke, who resigned in September. Clarke's annual salary was $172,000; board members will meet in a closed session Monday to discuss a potential contract, including salary offer, for the next superintendent.