Board approves contract with new TPS superintendent

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The Tecumseh School Board approved the contract for incoming Supt. Dr. Kelly Coffin at Monday night’s regular meeting. Coffin was selected from among six top candidates in a special session Wednesday, Feb. 20, by a 6-1 vote of the trustees. The approval of her contract Monday night was unanimous.

“You all had a chance to read it [the contract]” Board President Ed Tritt had said to the trustees before the vote. “Everything has been ironed out.”

Coffin was present at the meeting and Tritt thanked her for coming. “Sometime between now and July we will begin the transition,” Tritt said. He added that current Supt. Mike McAran, whose retirement becomes effective July 1, will be working with Coffin as much as possible so that the change in leadership is made smoothly.

McAran had already stated his intent to work closely with Coffin and to continue to be available for consultation, without pay, after July 1. Coffin’s annual compensation will be $125,000, which she may take in full or defer some to annuities, according to her preference. She also will receive health, dental and vision insurance. McAran will be retiring with an annual salary of $111,000.

Coffin’s contract is for three years, but the board has the option to make it an “evergreen” contract by renewing it annually. Such an arrangement allows for a better sense of security for the employee, in this case, the superintendent.

One of the provisions of the contract is residency within 20 miles of the school district. This stricture is not a hardship for Coffin as she already lives within the school district, a fact that the board looked favorably upon in their consideration of the candidates for the position.

Coffin has made arrangements with the Lenawee Intermediate School District, where she is assistant superintendent of special education, to allow her to spend time in the Tecumseh superintendent’s office through the end of the school year.

“We met over spring break and I signed April 4. There really was no sticking points in the contract,” Coffin said. “When we all sat down at the table, it took about five minutes.” The contract officially goes into effect July 1.

In other business, the board discussed the disbursement of a fund that had been set aside for the now defunct French Connection. The fund contains approximately $100,000 and has been sitting idle since the program was disbanded. The bulk of the fund was donated by the Herrick family. The French Connection was originated as an exchange between Tecumseh elementary students and students from a sister city in France.

In the ensuing discussion, the board considered making the funds available for student field trips and travel. “It’s important for the board to have oversight of this money,” Tritt said. “However we use it will be for the board to determine.”

The board will review the bylaws of the French Connection and final use of the funds will be an action item at the next meeting.

In the “Good News” portion of the meeting, trustees were introduced to three Tecumseh High School art students: Becca Nowak, Miranda Bartel, and Gabby Woodson. The three had been named winners at the Michigan Art Education Association Show, the most prestigious juried show for the year.

THS art teacher Christine Obeid thanked the board for keeping the art program in the school system. She said that the three students were a good example of the value of art in the curriculum. “I’m very proud of them and happy that they received this recognition,” Obeid said.

Nowak’s work was a black-and-white photograph, Bartel had submitted a watercolor, and Woodson’s entry was a painting of a Native American woman that will be included in the Governor’s Collection of 18 works of art that travels throughout the state for display.

THS biology teacher Carl Harsh reported to the trustees on his association with students in the advanced placement (AP) program. He said that he had taken some of the students on a field trip to Henry Ford Hospital where they had an opportunity to perform microsurgery on manikins designed to simulate the human body.

The next school board meeting will be Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m. in the meeting room at the administrative services building, 212 N. Ottawa St.




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