St. Joseph field narrowed down

The St. Joseph Public Schools Administration building is pictured March 15, 2018.

ST. JOSEPH — St. Joseph schools have seen 20 applicants file for the open superintendent position.

School board members have since narrowed their choices down to four candidates who will be interviewed in a pair of special meetings next week.

The four applicants include Dr. Thomas Bruce, director of Curriculum and Instruction of Arcadia Unified School District in California; Richard Carsten, the former superintendent of Ida Public Schools; Mary Finnigan, superintendent/principal of Dryden Community Schools; and Thomas Livezey, superintendent of Oakridge Public Schools.

“We were pleased with the applicant pool and interest demonstrated in St. Joseph Public Schools, especially with the timing of our search,” Board President Barry Conybeare said in a news release. “We believe there are quality candidates who may fully meet our needs and expectations.”

Among the applicants were current and former superintendents, central office administrators and principals.

The majority of applicants were from Michigan. However, the position also attracted interest from educators in California, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

The four interviews are scheduled to take place on July 16 and July 17, with two each day. The interviews are open to the public and the public is encouraged to attend.

All interviews will take place at the Administrative Office Conference Room, in the North Lincoln Administration Building at 3275 Lincoln Ave. in St. Joseph.

The interview schedule is:

• Carsten, 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

• Finnigan, 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

• Bruce, 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

• Livezey, 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

“We look forward to finding out more about the candidates’ leadership abilities and what each candidate has to offer our students, staff and community,” Conybeare said. “… It is our hope to have a new superintendent in place by the beginning of the school year.”

The district began its search after Ann Cardon, superintendent for the past seven years, agreed to become superintendent of the Traverse City Area Public Schools District. She is expected to begin working at TCAPS on Aug. 1.

In June, the board 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.

District officials have previously said they hope to have a new superintendent start by Sept. 1.

Contact:, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski