Marshall Schools extends supt. offer to Williams

MARSHALL — They had a full slate of applicants for schools superintendent. But Marshall School Board members felt they had more of a sure thing in interim superintendent Jeremy Williams.

After talking about the superintendent search process at Monday’s school board meeting, board members voted not to interview new candidates, and instead to offer Williams a permanent superintendent position.

“The board is pretty happy with your work so far,” Board Chairman Jeff Chapman said, as he informed Williams of the decision. The board would start the process of negotiating a contract with Williams, he said.

“I appreciate your support, and I will work very hard on behalf of the district,” Williams said.

Williams had previously served as director of teaching and learning at MPS, and over the years he has also served as assistant principal of MATEC and Marshall High School, and as principal of West Side Elementary. Williams accepted an interim superintendent contract in May, after former MPS superintendent Scott Monson said he would be stepping down to take a different job.

The school board’s agenda on Monday night included a discussion of the superintendent search, and an action item to call for a special school board meeting next week to interview candidates. Chapman said MPS had received a total of 11 applicants. The board’s executive committee recommended choosing three candidates to be interviewed. Board members couldn’t make applicants’ names public until they were chosen as finalist candidates, so for the purposes of discussion each candidate had been assigned a letter of the alphabet, Chapman said.

However, board member Bill Swope moved the discussion in a different direction right away.

“I recommend we offer the position to Jeremy Williams,” Swope said. He and other board members had worked with Williams for years, and Williams was respected among school staff. “Jeremy is a proven person in our school district.”

“I have some concerns about that,” and not because she didn’t like Williams as a candidate, said board member Sara Runchey. Runchey said she felt the board had a responsibility to follow through on vetting applicants for the superintendent position. “We did get some quality applicants that we need to look at.”

It wouldn’t do any harm if the board interviewed superintendent applicants and still decided it wanted to hire Williams in the end, Runchey said.

Other board members said they agreed with Swope.

“I struggled finding three candidates to interview,” said board member Matt Coleman. Some applicants had little experience, or came from school districts smaller than Marshall, he said.

Board member Aaron Ziemer said for him it came down to Williams’ connection with the school district. It was clear some applicants just wanted to be superintendent of a school district, Ziemer said.

“One candidate in this pool wants to be superintendent of the Marshall school district,” he said of Williams.

The board voted 5-1 in favor of suspending the superintendent search and offering the position to Williams. Runchey cast the dissenting vote.


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