SJ schools on the hunt for next superintendent

ST. JOSEPH — The St. Joseph school board’s search for a new superintendent is officially underway.

At Monday’s board meeting trustees approved a contract for $6,000 with the Michigan Leadership Institute to provide consulting services for the search.

Dave Killips, regional president of the Institute, will be working with the district to find qualified candidates for consideration.

The district mounted the search after Ann Cardon, superintendent for the past seven years, agreed to become superintendent of the Traverse City Area Schools District.

Cardon is expected to begin her new duties in Traverse City around Aug. 1 upon completion of contract negotiations.

Input on finding St. Joseph’s next superintendent will be sought from focus groups, staff and the community.

According to a news release from the district, focus groups will meet on June 10 to provide information and insight that will be used to develop a profile for candidate selection.

The profile will be added to the job posting, which was initiated on May 31.

Input can be added through the school district’s website, at, under the heading of “Superintendent Search.” All information gathered will be anonymous.

The survey is now open to the public through 4 p.m. Friday.

Board President Barry Conybeare said he encourages the public to provide input and to stay engaged during the search process.

He said the board wants to have a new superintendent by the start of the school year.

“Even though we did not anticipate conducting an executive search at this time, we are committed to locate a candidate who will continue our great traditions and provide the leadership that is critical in our pursuit of excellence in all aspects of education,” Conybeare said. “The board understands the importance of this decision and the impact the new superintendent will have on our children, schools and community.”

The planned timeline for the search includes the following dates:

• Job posting: May 31 through July 5;

• Selection of candidates for interviews: July 10;

• First round of public interviews: July 16 and 17;

• Final public interviews and selection of superintendent: July 22;

• Starting date: On or around Sept. 1.

As more details are finalized – such as times for the public interviews – they will be made available on the district website.

Cardon has been the district’s superintendent since 2012, when she succeeded Al Skibbe.

Prior to joining St. Joseph, Cardon was superintendent for Holton Public Schools in Muskegon County for three years.

Contact:, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski