LOEA board members endorse Heidi Mercer as LOCS’s next superintendent in ‘highly unorthodox’ move by union

Lake Orion instructional leaders also support Mercer

By Joseph Goral
Staff Writer
LAKE ORION — On May 6, Lake Orion Education Association (LOEA) President Jeff Faber told the Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education on behalf of the union that the union’s executive board unanimously voted to endorse Heidi Mercer as the next superintendent of Lake Orion Schools – a move Faber called highly unorthodox.
Mercer has been with Lake Orion Community Schools (LOCS) since 1996, and has been assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for the last 10 years.
Faber said a membership survey found that 81% of union members agreed with their board’s decision – 12% disagreed and around 7% had no opinion.
Around 70% of the union’s membership responded to the survey, Faber said.
“I would contend, just from looking at those numbers, that’s an astonishingly low no-rate (12%) for someone who has been a supervisor for 25 years,” said Faber. “They have a lot of difficult conversations with staff, I will say that. So there’s a lot of opportunity to make bad blood.”
While Faber told the board he has heard of Mercer critics over the years, the survey’s data “has awakened the LOEA to the popularity of this administrator.”
“I mean, we felt compelled to share this with the board,” said Faber.
Each instructional leader signed a letter to also support Mercer in becoming the next superintendent, according to public comments made during the May 6 meeting by elementary-level Director of Curriculum Kerri Anderson.
“Time and again, (Heidi Mercer) has led with vulnerability and compassion, treating each person she encounters as a human being, not a job title,” said Anderson. “It is not uncommon to see Heidi writing hand-written notes of congratulations, notes of support when a loved one is lost, subbing in a classroom, moving furniture, packing and unpacking classrooms, actively listening to anyone who reaches out to her, or attending important events in staff member’s lives just to show support, all while leading one of the most instrumental and involved departments …in this district.”
Anderson said one of Mercer’s strengths is her “visionary approach to leadership” and called Mercer’s “work alone on the bond… a primary example of this.”
Mercer’s school bond work was done without sacrificing any portion of her other responsibilities, according to Anderson.
“One thing I really want to mention is that it wouldn’t be a failure of the board to go internally to say ‘Hey, we got somebody great here,’ because it would be indicative of a successful, well-functioning district…that we fostered and retain leaders here,” Faber said. “That we have people right in front of us who’ve been here their [entire] career, and we’ve seen them in action.
“It’s the belief of the LOEA that Heidi Mercer is that person,” Faber said. “I know it’s a tough road ahead for [the board,] but I bring this forward from the membership, (…) and we thank you for your consideration.”
Mercer has a master’s degree in educational administration and an education specialist degree in school administration from Oakland University, according to district’s website.
To learn more about the superintendent search, visit https://lakeorionreview.com/lake-orion-school-board-selects-masb-as-superintendent-search-firm/.

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