District superintendent search down to two
The Stevens Point Area Public School District Board approved two finalists for the position after interviewing seven candidates last week who were chosen by the Superintendent Search Committee.
“Following an extensive Superintendent Search process, the School Board is very pleased to announce our two finalist candidates,” Board President Meg Erler said in a statement. “They are both experienced superintendents who possess unique skills, knowledge and expertise that would benefit our School District moving forward.”
The Superintendent Search Committee members were instrumental in this process, Erler said, and “will continue to be an integral part of this selection process.”
Craig Gerlach, who currently serves as superintendent of Jefferson School District, and Larry Ouimette, who currently serves as superintendent for Lac du Flambeau School District, are the final two candidates.
As in previous superintendent search processes resulting in finalists, the community will have a chance to meet the candidates during “Meet and Greet” sessions.
Ouimette will be available from 6 to 7 p.m. and Gerlach will be available from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 29 at Bliss Educational Services Center, 1900 Polk St., Stevens Point. While one candidate is involved in the meet and greet session, the other will hold his final interview.
The School Board could vote on the new superintendent as soon as April 4; the board agreed to a special board meeting on that date should members determine a vote could be made at that time. Otherwise the board plans to select the superintendent at its regular board meeting on Monday, April 11.
“We look forward to presenting these two finalists to the community and conducting final interviews before making our selection,” Erler said. “The feedback from the community will be incredibly helpful as we make this decision for the future of our district.”
As superintendent of Jefferson School District, where he has been at the helm since 2013, Gerlach oversees just under 2,000 students in five schools (three elementary, one middle high and one high school), and works with an operating budget of about $26 million, according to district published information.
As superintendent of Lac du Flambeau, where he has been since 2005, Ouimette oversees just under 500 students with a general fund budget a little over $6 million.
Prior to his current position, Gerlach was superintendent of the Monona Grove School District (more than 3,200 students) for five years, the Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau School District for six years (about 1,300 students), and the Port Edwards School District for three years (about 400 students). Gerlach was also a middle school and high school principal, and holds an Educational Specialist degree from Edgewood College in Educational Leadership.
Prior to his current position, Ouimette was principal at Horace Mann Middle School in Wausau for seven years (about 700 students), and a middle school and secondary teacher for 11 years. He holds a doctorate from Edgewood College in Educational Leadership.
By comparison, Stevens Point Area School District operates a $101 million budget with more than 7,200 students.
The finalists remain after four months of searching for a new superintendent for the second time in less than two years.
Former Superintendent Attila Weninger resigned amid discord in May 2014, but agreed to carry out his contract, which ended in July last year. Following Weninger’s resignation, the board hired Ray and Associates to find a new superintendent. It took almost five months, but the firm produced about 30 candidates, which were pared to two, one of whom was a candidate from within the district, and the other was familiar with the district and its operations.
Following several public forums, surveys and other community input, the board voted in March 2015 not to hire either of the finalists.
Lee Bush became interim superintendent and has served in that capacity since last summer; he will continue in that role until June 30 at which time the new superintendent would begin duties.