ST. JOSEPH — The St. Joseph school board approved a contract for its new superintendent Thursday.

In a special meeting, the board unanimously agreed to a three-year contract with Thomas Bruce, which includes a $158,000 annual salary.

Bruce, who is in the process of relocating from California to St. Joseph, is expected to start as superintendent on Aug. 15.

“We are pleased to announce a contractual agreement with Dr. Bruce to become our next superintendent of schools,” Board President Barry Conybeare said in a news release. “The board looks forward to his leadership in our pursuit of excellence.”

Bruce has begun making contacts with staff and board members in preparation for running the district, Conybeare said.

The board last met for a three-hour interview session between two candidates on July 22, before naming Bruce superintendent.

Bruce was the director of curriculum and instruction at Arcadia Unified School District in California – a position he held since 2016.

Prior to that, he was a middle school principal for two years and an elementary school principal for six years. Bruce began his educational career in Michigan as an elementary school teacher for nine years and as an assistant principal/head teacher for four years.

Having grown up in Howell, Mich., Bruce moved to California 12 years ago with his wife and two daughters.

In June, the board approved a contract for $6,000 with the Michigan Leadership Institute to provide consulting services for the search.

The St. Joseph school district began its search after Ann Cardon, superintendent for the past seven years, agreed in late May to become superintendent of the Traverse City Area Public School District.

Contact:, 932-0358, Twitter: @TonyWittkowski