OKEMOS, Mich. — Okemos Public Schools will be seeing a big staffing change for the upcoming school year after losing five of their seven principals.
“The Okemos Public Schools has had some administrative turnover at the end of the school year, in terms of our principal leadership," said Okemos Superintendent John Hood. "We have seven buildings and we have five principals leaving us.”
Hood sent an email with a list of over 20 employees leaving the district. Along with the five principals the district is also losing eight teachers and one counselor.
“We wish them well, they have a ton of institutional knowledge, and are such a high functioning, caring, terrific team of folks that are leaving us, that we’ll miss greatly.”
The principals of Okemos High School, Christine Sermak, Hiawatha Elementary, Julie Bellinger, and Cornell Elementary, Tara Fry, are all retiring. Okemos Public Montessori at Central Principal Shannon Nedds will be moving out of the state and Bennett Woods Principal Noelle Palasty will be changing careers.
Hood said he believes COVID could have been a contributing factor to the turnover.
“I can't say that COVID helped retain employees and I think you're seeing some of those trends in other districts and other, you know, occupations as well, nationally,” Hood said.
But he doesn't believe that's the sole cause.
“I just think we happen to have a very veteran leadership team and some of those natural cycles of folks coming and going just happen to converge with five out of the seven leaving,” said Hood.
Hood said they're working to fill the positions as quickly as possible and are "looking at a very qualified candidate pool to replace those that are leaving."
Three of those positions have already been filled.
"We filled two of our elementary openings and our high school principal opening and we're still working on filling two other elementary openings, yet, hopefully later this month,” Hood said.
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