New superintendent meets with CAARE
A question and answer session with incoming Tecumseh Supt. Dr. Kelly Coffin was on the Thursday, April 18, agenda of the Committee for the Advisement and Advancement of Responsible Education (CAARE). The session was an informal and casual give and take.Community members, who are all invited on a drop-in basis to the open meetings held at 5 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month in the administrative services building, 212 N. Ottawa St., asked questions of the superintendent-in-waiting, and she in turn was ready with questions about what the CAARE members would like to see accomplished in Tecumseh Public Schools.Coffin had participated in the discussions of the meeting agenda items before the Q&A session, as Supt. Mike McAran, who is also often in attendance does, but when the designated agenda item for her introduction was reached, CAARE chairman Jim Rice acknowledged that she needed no introduction as she was familiar to most of those present from her long association with the district in the past.The first question for Coffin from the CAARE members was about her on-going adaptation to her new position.“I’ve been doing a lot of juggling between my current job and my new job,” Coffin said, “but I’ve done this type of transition before, so I’m used to it.” Coffin was referring to her move from teaching in the Tecumseh Public School District to acclimating herself to her current position as assistant superintendent of special education at Lenawee Intermediate School District.Coffin has been meeting and will continue to meet with Supt. McAran to familiarize herself with her new duties during the next two months before McAran retires June 30.CAARE member Scott Adair asked Coffin about her current priorities. “Right now, one of my top priorities is becoming familiar with the board,” she said. “I’m meeting with them individually along with staff members. I want to bring everybody on board to start on the same page and I don’t want to leave that for the first official day. Another priority is to find out why we have 500 kids in this community who are not attending our schools. I want to change that and bring them in. We need to celebrate the good things that are happening in Tecumseh schools and get the word out.”Coffin commended the efforts of the CAARE group. When it was her turn to ask questions, she asked every member present what had motivated them to take an active interest in the meetings and what they felt was best way to have an impact on the education of students through the group.Many of those present mentioned that they have or had children who attend Tecumseh schools and were interested in maintaining high standards for the education of the community’s children. The members also remarked that both school and city administrators were often in attendance at the CAARE meetings, and they appreciated the opportunity to speak directly and informally with those officials on the interaction between the schools and the city. One of the joint concerns between the schools and the city that was addressed recently was the perceived need for a crosswalk at the southern entrance to Tecumseh High School. City Manager Kevin Welch addressed the group on that issue and forwarded the request for action to the Michigan Department of Transportation. CAARE Chairman Rice reported to the members at Thursday’s meeting that MDOT had unequivocally responded to Welch that no action would be taken on the request.The committee had also been tweaking the CAARE mission statement and agreed on a final draft that reads: The Committee for the Advisement and Advancement of Responsible Education team establishes and nurtures a close relationship between the community, parents, students, and staff of the Tecumseh Public School District for the purpose of discussing and presenting ideas to the Board of Education.Members discussed ways to increase attendance and participation in the monthly meetings. It was suggested that everyone bring a friend to the next meeting, which will be Thursday, May 16, at 5 p.m. The meetings are closely timed to keep agenda items moving for scheduled adjournment at 6 p.m.