Narrowing the search

Don Campbell / HP staff Watervliet High School

WATERVLIET — The Watervliet school board has narrowed down its search for a new superintendent to six candidates. 

The board reviewed 17 applications for the position at a special meeting Monday night.

The final candidates are Sean Wightman, middle school principal in Dowagiac; Kelly Eckhardt, high school principal in Fennville; Greg Blomgren, high school principal in St. Joseph; Ric Seager, high school principal in Schoolscraft; Raymond Lechner, superintendent in Willmette, Ill.; and Jonathan Whan, superintendent in Grant. 

The school board will hold interviews on March 4, 5 and 6 in the high school media center. The interviews are open to the public and the public is encouraged to attend.

On March 4, the board will interview Wightman at 6:30 p.m. and Eckhardt at 8 p.m. On March 5, the board will interview Blomgren at 6:30 p.m. and Seager at 8 p.m. On March 6, the board will interview Lechner at 6:30 p.m. and Whan at 8 p.m.

“We were pleased with the number of applicants who demonstrated interest in Watervliet,” Board President Bill Spaulding said. “The board understands the importance of this decision and the impact the new superintendent will have on our children, schools and community. We look forward to finding out more about the candidates’ leadership abilities and what each candidate has to offer our community. The board has appreciated the input from the public and encourages people to attend the interviews.”

The position was vacated at the beginning of the year by Kevin Schooley. John Jarpe is serving as interim superintendent through the end of June. 

A second round of interviews is expected to be held on March 12 and 13.

Spaulding said it is the board’s hope to have a new superintendent in place by July 1.

The superintendent search is being facilitated by Dave Killips, regional president of the Michigan Leadership Institute. 

Contact:, 932-0357, Twitter: @HPANewman