Central Montcalm wraps up first round of interviews

By Lori Hansen • Last Updated 10:37 am on Wednesday, July 23, 2014

STANTON — The Central Montcalm Public School Board of Education continued its quest to find a new superintendent as two more candidates were interviewed at a special meeting Tuesday evening.

Charles P. Muncatchy, the former superintendent of Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in Detroit, and Jeffrey M. Budge, who was just appointed high school principal at Beaverton Rural School, sat in the hot seat as six school board members quizzed them on strengthening and implementing quality curriculum, dispelling achievement gap myths and school improvement plans.

Each candidate presented a short biographical introduction prior to answering the board’s 18 questions.

“My heart is in the classroom, and yet I have also served as a superintendent at urban, suburban and rural schools,” said Muncatchy. “I have an arsenal of knowledge that I can apply here. I can hit the ground running. I do not consider this a job but an avocation.”

Each candidate had one hour to answer the board, then 15 minutes to present a closing statement or ask questions of the board members.

“Staff and board member’s opinions are critical in weighing in on budget decisions,” Muncatchy said. “When issues such as reductions and shortfalls arise, you go back to the staff. You have to remember that every day every employee is an ambassador for the district and you have to let them know how important they are in their positions, and that we are all in this together.”

Muncatchy also said he was a “big believer in assessments.”

“In a perfect world, we would have a personalized plan for each child to implement student success,” he said. “We should have a plan for each child and simply work the plan. Assessments help with monitoring.”

Budge has served as a teacher, assistant principal, athletic director and high school principal during his career. He had been serving as the middle school principal at Beaverton Rural School and just this week was appointed high school principal.

“Just like other smaller districts, I have done about everything, and am prepared to be a superintendent,” said Budge. “But I do know I will depend on the staff as I can’t be an expert on everything.”

Transparency is a key to making budget decisions, Budge said.

“The process is different with each board,” Budge said. “But I would need to find the right people to give me the right information so I can present it to you. You, as the board, are in charge, it is your decision.”

Quality curriculum should be implemented and there are many ways to do it, including using the Common Core.

“We can look at the Common Core to get alignment,” Budge said. “We need alignment horizontally at grade and vertically. You are missing something if the eighth grade teachers aren’t talking to the ninth grade teachers.”

Achievement gap myths can be dispelled by not making excuses for poor or minority students, Budge said.

“Every student in every school in this district should have at least one adult- whether it is the janitor, or the aide, or the superintendent- that he or she connects with, and that kid should know they have a safe place to go. It is so important for kids to know that there is a connection and someone cares.”

Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.

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