LOCS school board hires new director of special education

School board approves creation of technology director position

By Megan Kelley
Staff Writer
LAKE ORION — During its meeting on May 31, the Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education unanimously approved hiring a new director of special education and the creation of a new technology director position.

Due to the recent retirement of Julie Gutman, the previous director of special education for LOCS, the board was asked to approve hiring Natalie Kulikowski to fill the position.

Kulikowski was previously the director of special education for Ferndale Public Schools.

Earlier in the meeting, the board was able to see highlights from the special education program this year, which included hearing from several students who have started working in various places in the community.

Gutman has worked in special education for more than 25 years and has been a part of of the LOCS staff since 1998. She had been the district’s director of special education since 2007. She also played an integral part in creating the district’s first autism spectrum disorder (ASD) program.

Last month, she was awarded the Gwisdalla Award by the Special Education Administrators of Oakland County (SEAOC) for her dedication and work in the special education field.

“The Pine Tree presentation was great and I think what it ties together is Julie getting her award for special education. But how much she’s put into the program: her vision for those kids, what we saw tonight is what she’s always seen in these students and developing those community outreach opportunities,” board Treasurer Jake Singer said. “It’s wonderful. It’s amazing because Julie and I met each other when we attended Pine Tree over 40 years ago. Wonderful family, wish her the best and know that those students in that program will just continue to amaze us.”

Gutman celebrated her retirement last week at 313 Pizza Bar in downtown Lake Orion.
The board also approved the re-creation of a Director of Technology position.

“We’re calling it an additional position but it’s really the resurrection of a former position, that being director of technology. Prior to moving to Oakland Schools for technology services we had our own department with a director of technology,” said Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Rick Arnett. “As you know, we’re moving away from Oakland Schools and have partnered with All Covered (IT Services) to service our technology needs and we feel it’s very important that we have a conduit here at the district level with some oversight and some accountability for All Covered to ensure that what’s in the contract and the services that hey indicate they will be provided are truly being provided. In addition, that person will have oversight of the technology budget. We’ve sort of had a shared responsibility with Oakland Schools in that regard recently, and they would work with closely with Heidi (Mercer, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning) and the Teaching and Learning department to ensure that the instructional technology needs are being met.”

With the approval of the position, district administration is expected to hire someone to fill the role before the beginning of the 2023-24 school year.

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