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Search narrows for Washington County Public Schools superintendent

April 14, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Finalists for the position of Washington County schools superintendent are, from left, Boyd J. Michael III, Craig Fiegel and Clayton M. Wilcox.
Finalists for the position of Washington County schools superintendent are, from left, Boyd J. Michael III, Craig Fiegel and Clayton M. Wilcox.

Washington County's deputy schools superintendent, a senior vice president at Scholastic Inc. and the superintendent of a Michigan school system are the three finalists for the county schools superintendent job, school system officials announced Thursday.

Boyd J. Michael III, of the Boonsboro area, is the county's deputy schools superintendent.

The second candidate is Craig Fiegel, who became superintendent of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, near Ann Arbor, Mich., in July 2008, according to biographical information provided by Washington County Public Schools.

The third is Clayton M. Wilcox, who has been a senior vice president for education and corporate relations at Scholastic Inc. in New York City since the spring of 2008. Prior to that, he was schools superintendent in Pinellas County, Fla.

The three candidates will be in Washington County next week to meet with various constituencies, including students, teachers, support personnel, community  and business groups.

"I like all three of them. I think we've got three solid candidates," school board President Wayne Ridenour said.

"They just stood out. They came across very solidly in interviews," Ridenour said.

They were articulate, thoughtful and seemed to have a good grasp of problems school systems are facing now and a good understanding of new laws, he said.

Ridenour said he hopes the board makes a decision by the end of next week on a new superintendent.

"In fairness to them and everyone involved, the quicker we can do it, the better for everybody," Ridenour said.

Whoever gets the job will be succeeding Elizabeth Morgan, who was named 2010 National Superintendent of the Year and oversaw the school system for 10 years until she retired Feb. 28 to take a job leading a national nonprofit organization's dropout-prevention initiative. Stan Schaub is the interim superintendent.

The next superintendent would make at least $180,000 a year, according to a brochure for job applicants.



Michael a native

Michael, a Washington County native, has worked for the school system for 32 years, including as a teacher, coach, principal of Hancock Middle-Senior High School, executive director of secondary schools and assistant superintendent for school operations, according to biographical information provided by the school system.

He and his wife's three children are graduates of Washington County schools. Michael is working toward his doctorate from the University of Maryland.

Michael's leadership helped county schools get statewide recognition as a leader in critical state academic assessments, graduation rates and student attendance, according to his biography. He also has helped put in place innovative educational initiatives and helped the school system get six new schools in less than five years.



Fiegel's experience

Fiegel is superintendent of a Michigan school system that has about 19,000 students, more than 3,000 employees, 16 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools and an alternative high school program, according to the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools' website at www.pccs.k12.mi.us and a Plymouth school system official.

Fiegel also was a finalist for the schools superintendent job in Salina, Kan., until that school system announced recently that it was going to hire another Kansas schools superintendent for the post, according to the Salina school system.

The school board in Michigan decided last September not to renew Fiegel's contract, according to a video of the school board meeting at the school system's website, although many residents spoke on his behalf at the time.

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