Ishpeming school board picks new superintendent

ISHPEMING – The Ishpeming Public Schools Board of Education has chosen the district’s next superintendent.

At a special meeting Monday night, the board voted unanimously to offer the position to John Summerhill, and to move forward with negotiating his compensation and benefits.

“I’m very happy,” said Geno Maino, board president. “I had my own gut feeling of who I wanted for this, but again, I was open to either one, and this verifies everything I wanted to hear.”

The board made the decision after reviewing comments made by coworkers of Summerhill and the second candidate, Jeff Budge, to Trustee Dave Leverton, who visited both candidates’ school districts last week. Leverton spoke to both districts’ superintendents, as well as teachers, support staff, secretaries and union representatives about the candidates’ job performance and characters.

Members of the board praised Leverton for his thoroughness and attention to detail in gathering the information about both Summerhill and Budge, and talked about how both candidates seemed very qualified for the position.

Summerhill is currently the principal of Center Line High School in downstate Macomb County, though he has been on administrative leave since Jan. 1 for what he described during his interview with the Ishpeming school board as differences in educational philosophy between himself and the Center Line superintendent.

Regardless of whether he’ll take the job in Ishpeming, he plans to resign at the end of the year.

Jeff Budge is currently the principal of Beaverton Middle School in downstate Gladwin County.

Budge and Summerhill were the final two candidates of more than a dozen applicants who were invited for a second round of interviews with the school board on March 24.

After voting to offer the position to Summerhill, Robert Nadeau, board secretary, asked Sheri Davie, a consultant for the Michigan Association of School Boards hired to help the district with its search, if she knew whether both candidates were still interested in the post since their March 24 interviews.

“I’ve heard from both of them as of about five minutes ago, and they’re waiting for your call,” Davie replied.

Upon acceptance of the position, Summerhill will enter into contract negotiations with the board.

Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401.