Johnson assumes role of interim superintendent for Britton Deerfield Schools


Stacy Johnson arrived at the Britton Deerfield Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 25, as the principal of the district’s middle school, and left the meeting also as the interim superintendent for Britton Deerfield Schools. She was expecting the announcement of Supt. Charles Pelham’s retirement, but was not expecting to be asked during the Pledge of Allegiance to step into the role of interim superintendent.

“It made for interesting holiday conversation,” Johnson said. “I’m really entering into the job with an open mind. We are trying to listen to what the needs of the district really are. I have a big stake and am invested in the district. My husband started this year as the athletic director and a teacher, I work here, and both my boys go here to school. I love it here. We moved our family out here to be closer to the district.”

Johnson anticipates working alongside the board of education to determine what Britton Deerfield Schools needs to provide for the success of students.

“I think really we just are moving forward,” said Johnson. “We’ve always just been about kids. The focal point is always the kids. Nothing in that regard has changed. We need to continue bridging the gaps and getting people to work together.”

The intent of the board with regard to the superintendent’s position is not known to Johnson. Regardless of whether board members look at her role as a short term or long term solution for the district, Johnson is happy to do what she can to keep things stable and on course for the students.

The four years of working with Pelham was invaluable to Johnson in her new role as interim superintendent. He helped her see the need of keeping cohesion between the families in the two villages now joined into one school district, Johnson said.

“Mr. Pelham was a very patient man. He had a lot of knowledge and was good about sharing it. He had a lot of ways to go about making best practices,” said Johnson. “I had a great relationship with Mr. Pelham. He really did serve as a mentor. He was such a sound money man, and very good at the fiscal responsibilities. Money was his strength.”

She credits Pelham with making sure all the administrators in all the buildings, from elementary to high school, worked together and supported each other. This cohesion was necessary as staff in the district have to fulfill many different responsibilities, said Johnson.

“We really were a good team. We worked well together. I think you have to do that and he kept us together as a team,” Johnson said. “There’s so much to a small place like Britton Deerfield. When you have a small school district you have all the tasks of a large district but don’t have the staff to take care of them.”

Johnson started her educational career in August 1999 with Monroe Public Schools as a teacher. While teaching in Monroe, she earned an educational leadership degree with a concentration in administration, curriculum and instruction.

Four years ago she was hired by Pelham as the middle school principal for Britton Deerfield. Johnson does aspire to the superintendent role for a school district.

“I’ve always wanted to be in leadership in schools,” said Johnson. “I enjoy it and I’m passionate about it. Mr. Pelham and I spoke about my goal. It was a surprise to me to be named as interim superintendent, but I’m happy to do it.”

There are more challenges today in education than when Johnson began her career 16 years ago. More is expected of teachers, but there is less support for educators to do their jobs, she believes.

“Today there is so much reform and legislation. It is a different world,” Johnson said.

The differences are most noticeable to her on a state and national level rather than at the district level. “The climate moving from a larger place to a smaller place didn’t change,” said Johnson. “The kiddoes didn’t change.”

Concerns have been brought up at recent Britton Deerfield school board meetings by supporters of the district of how the board is making decisions that could cause Britton Deerfield to fold. Johnson does not see closing as a possibility.

“I think we are stable. Money is always tight in schools right now. No decisions that have been made are putting the district in danger of folding,” she said. “My job is to start from today and move forward. I can’t look back. Everyone has differences of opinions. I don’t think anybody wants our district to go anywhere.”

Stepping into the superintendent role is an exciting challenge for Johnson, and is made easier knowing her mentor is available for guidance whenever she needs it.

“Mr. Pelham made it very clear he cares about the district,” said Johnson. “He’s shared with us that for any questions we have, he’s only a phone call away. He is there for us with anything we may need. We certainly wish him well in his retirement.”


Tecumseh Herald


110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286

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