DOWAGIAC — The Dowagiac Board of Education has chosen Jonathon Whan as the district’s new superintendent. Whan, now the superintendent of the Grant, Mich. school district, was one of three finalists interviewed Monday night.
Whan succeeds Paul Hartsig, who is leaving to become the superintendent in Bath, Mich. Hartsig has been superintendent since 2014 and spent most of his career in Dowagiac, except for a few years as the Bridgman High School principal.
School board President Larry Schmidt said Tuesday that board members selected Whan for a number of reasons. “He comes with very good credentials,” Schmidt said. “He’s very impressive and board members felt very comfortable with him.”
He said the board will now start negotiating a contract with Whan. The goal is for Whan to start his new duties in Dowagiac on July 1. The school board used the services of the Michigan Association of School Boards to conduct a search.
Other finalists interviewed by the board Monday were Dowagiac High School Principal Kelly Millin and St. Joseph High School Principal Greg Blomgren. The board interviewed six candidates last week, including Benton Harbor Curriculum Director Patricia Robinson and Fennville High School Principal Kelly Eckhardt.
Whan has been the Grant superintendent since 2012. The 1,900 student district is located in Newaygo County east of Muskegon and north of Grand Rapids. His previous experience includes being an assistant superintendent in Bedford, a principal at Godwin Heights in Wyoming and an assistant principal in Bay City.
According to published reports, Whan and the Grant school board agreed in early 2018 that he would leave the district at the end of the 2018-19 year. He has applied for a number of jobs over the last several months, including the Watervliet superintendent position.