LOCS Superintendent Kirby potentially departing

Board of Education begins search for replacement

By Joseph Goral
Staff Writer
LAKE ORION — Lake Orion Community Schools Superintendent Ben Kirby will potentially depart the district after being selected to enter into negotiations to become the next superintendent of Forest Hills Public School District in Grand Rapids.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Ben for his unwavering dedication and remarkable contributions to Lake Orion Community Schools over the past four years,” school board President Danielle Bresett said. “Going forward, we need to move quickly to secure the best leader, ensuring that our district will continue to thrive and excel.”

Ben Kirby

The Forest Hills Board of Education meets on April 15 when it is expected to officially approve a contract with Kirby.
Kirby was hired by a unanimous vote of the Lake Orion school board in June 2020 to replace former superintendent Marion Ginopolis who spent 10 years in the district beginning as interim superintendent in 2010. In his first year, Kirby oversaw around 7,000 district students during the COVID-19 pandemic while working weekly with epidemiologists, local health professionals, health department officials and others to navigate challenges presented by the virus.
While Kirby would continue working in Lake Orion through June, the school board held special meetings on March 20 and April 3 to begin the search process for a potential replacement. Superintendents are responsible to the board for carrying out district policy, administering district and school operation, supervising district personnel and advising the board on all educational matters for the welfare and interests of students.
In the special meeting on April 3, the board voted unanimously to pass a Request for Proposal (RFP) that would secure bids to select a superintendent search firm.
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Adam Weldon said the RFP was sent to attorneys for review, but had no major changes other than date and grammar updates.
The search firm will work with the board throughout the search. It will provide a range of services including providing the board with a search plan and a recruitment selection and communications timeline, creating an outline of recommendations for the search, preparing a position description, identifying qualified candidates and conducting background screenings, according to district documents.
Input will be facilitated from staff, students, parents, the community and stakeholders throughout the search. The firm will also engage with staff, students and stakeholders to find desired qualities of the next superintendent.
As of April 3, the board will present the RFP for approval and issue the following day. The RFP will then be e-mailed to search firms and similar organizations once it is approved. It will also be published on the school district’s website, lakeorionschools.org, according to a tentative timeline.
After requests for clarifications and their responses are issued by April 22, and April 24 respectively, receipts of proposals from search firms will be due at noon on April 25.
“Then the next special meeting regarding this topic is April 29,” Bresett said at the April 3 meeting. “And that’s when we will review the RFP’s publicly and make our selections as far as which (search firms) would like to present.”
The firms selected as finalists will give presentations before the board during another special meeting on May 6. The search firm ultimately selected will be “subject to successful negotiation thereafter of final contract and execution by Search Firm and School District,” according to the RFP.
“Lake Orion is not just a district; it’s a community of excellence and achievement,” Bresett said. “In our pursuit of a new superintendent, we are determined to find a leader who embodies our values and will nurture the extraordinary work happening within our schools.”
LOCS is made up of 12 schools – six elementary schools, three middle schools, one high school, one alternative high school and an early-childhood center. For updates and more information about the search, visit LakeOrionSchools.org/SuperintendentSearch.

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