BERRIEN SPRINGS — Berrien Springs High School Principal Ryan Pesce wasn’t at Thursday’s Berrien Springs Board of Education meeting and no member of the public was there to question the board about him, but Board President Paul Toliver still took time to address what he called “news reports and rumors” about Pesce at the end of the meeting.
Pesce was charged with drunken driving and carrying a weapon while intoxicated after he crashed his motorcycle in late May in Cass County. He was sentenced to eight months’ probation and fines and costs in late July for drunken driving. The weapon charge dismissed.
Superintendent Dave Eichberg would not comment on the Pesce case in late July, saying that the district does not discuss personnel matters in the media.
Toliver said the statement he read Thursday had gone out to district staff and parents earlier. The statement noted that Berrien Springs is a “premier school district” in large part because of its “exceptional” administrators, teachers and staff. “We pride ourselves on our commitment to our community and the families that we serve,” he said.
“Recently, there have been several news reports and rumors on social media that have not truthfully reflected the salient facts concerning an off-duty incident that occurred in late May involving Mr. Ryan Pesce, high school principal.”
Toliver reported that the district has been closely monitoring the situation and has been careful to assure that it has not impacted Pesce’s work or his ability to fulfill his duties.
“Matters detracting from our mission or our service are not tolerated,” he said. “Fortunately, Mr. Pesce proactively has taken corrective steps to assure that his private matters do not become a future distraction.”
Although Pesce remains in his post, Eichberg confirmed that other district administrators have swapped jobs. He said the changes were discussed earlier this summer at the board’s annual retreat in June but did not require board action to take effect.
The three administrators who have switched jobs are Angie Cramer, Chelsea Pollyea and Amy Williams.
Pollyea had been the Sylvester Elementary School Principal, Cramer the federal and state programs director and Williams the curriculum director. Williams is now the Sylvester principal, Cramer the curriculum director and Pollyea the federal and state programs director.
Pollyea has been with the district for 14 years, first as a high school math teacher and since 2015 as the Sylvester assistant principal and then the principal. Williams has been with the district for three years, the last two as curriculum director. Cramer has been with the district for one year, coming from Niles where she was the curriculum director.
Eichberg said he decided to make the changes to better fit people’s abilities and the district’s needs.