NEGAUNEE - The Negaunee school board has named its middle school principal interim superintendent for the next school year.
Negaunee Middle School Principal Dan Skewis will take the reins as the district's superintendent when Negaunee Public Schools Superintendent Jim Derocher retires at the end of the school year.
School board president Greg Toutant said Skewis is a natural for the position.
"He's certainly very strong in terms of his knowledge of the district and his organizational abilities," Toutant said. "And his current relationship with staff, students and parents is very strong."
Toutant said one of the most important things the board has been looking for in a candidate is a knowledge of the area, and that Skewis will provide the kind of continuity the board finds very valuable.
After one of two final candidates in the district's superintendent search removed himself from consideration in April for family reasons, the board decided to seek someone to fill the post in the interim. It hired Skewis for the position at its May meeting, with the understanding that the job could become permanent.
"We're very pleased that we can keep the position with someone from the district," Toutant said. "I think he was eager to help out the district during this time period and really be available for us."
"I think it's a good decision for ... the district, and Mr. Skewis and the board," Derocher said. "He's been part of the district as an administrator for the past eight years. He understands the district and the problems we face, and also the supports that are out there, not only for himself but for all the staff of the district."
Skewis said the superintendent post was something he's wanted to explore and that he's looking forward to following a great leader in Derocher.
"I'm definitely excited," he said. "I've been working at our middle school for the past 18 years. It's going to be hard to leave this building. I've built a lot of lifelong friendships here. But I'm excited for the challenge."
Because Skewis' contract has not yet been ratified by the board, Toutant said he was not ready to disclose his salary.
"He won't come in at where Jim was, but he'll come in commensurate with his experiences and what a first-year superintendent would make," Toutant said.
The board expects to approve Skewis' contract at its June 23 meeting.
Derocher's salary, having been Negaunee's superintendent for 16 years, is $110,200 annually.
Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.