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One finalist drops out, one added, to be next Michigan school superintendent

Update: Michigan’s next superintendent led gains in Kalamazoo, fought GOP policies
Update: With schools flailing, Michigan seeks new leader from in-state. Again.
Related: Comparing Michigan school superintendent finalists by test scores

One of three finalists to be Michigan’s next state superintendent has dropped out, after she accepted a position as superintendent of Boston Public Schools.

Brenda Cassellius, who supervised the public school system in Minnesota, the Midwest’s top education state, was named Boston’s new superintendent Wednesday night. Cassellius accepted the job, according to media reports.

Randy Liepa, superintendent of Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency, an intermediate school district that provides services to school districts in Wayne County, has been added as a third finalist.

Finalists will be interviewed Tuesday by the board, and the board is expected to vote to appoint a new superintendent later the same day.

The three finalists now are:

Randy Liepa. He became Wayne RESA superintendent in 2015. Before that, Liepa was superintendent of Livonia Public Schools, one of the largest districts in the state. Liepa took part in the School Finance Research Collaborative, in which community, business and education leaders made a pitch for increased school funding, and funding that varies with student needs.

Jeanice Swift. She is superintendent at Ann Arbor Public Schools. Swift, a 30-year veteran teacher and administrator, was named 2018 Superintendent of the Year by the Michigan Association of School Administrators. She was an assistant superintendent in Colorado Springs before coming to Ann Arbor in 2013. According to biographical information on the Ann Arbor Public Schools website, the district’s enrollment has increased and funding has stabilized under her leadership. She was a finalist last year for a post as superintendent of Seattle Public Schools.

Michael Rice. He is superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools. Rice was 2016 Superintendent of the Year in Michigan. Since 2007 he has been superintendent of Kalamazoo. Under his watch, the district developed full-day pre-K for the city’s 4-year-olds, quintupled the number of kindergarten students and tripled the number of Advanced Placement classes taken by high school students. Rice and the district have been heavily involved in the growth of the Kalamazoo Promise, which pays college tuition for Kalamazoo students.

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