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State Board Selects Three Finalists for Next State Superintendent

April 24, 2019

LANSING – The State Board of Education today selected three candidates to continue the process to become Michigan’s next State Superintendent.

Following two days of public interviews and deliberation by the State Board of Education, Brenda Cassellius, Michael Rice, and Jeanice Swift are being invited back for final interviews beginning at 9:30 a.m. on May 7. The finalists were among a group of five candidates who were initially selected for interviews from the 51 people who applied.

The State Board also noted that if any of the three finalists chooses to withdraw their name before May 7, candidate Randy Liepa would be invited back for a final interview.

“This was a very difficult decision, as all five candidates were impressive in their interviews and brought unique perspectives for our considerations,” said State Board of Education President Casandra E. Ulbrich. “I think the State Board is confident that any of the finalists would be exceptional State Superintendents. Now, it is up to the final interviews on May 7 to see which of them is the best fit to move us forward as a state.”

Rice currently is Superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools; Cassellius is the immediate past Minnesota Commissioner of Education; and Swift is the Superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools. Liepa currently is the Superintendent of Wayne RESA.

The State Board of Education is granted the responsibility to appoint a State Superintendent by the Michigan Constitution. The State Superintendent is the principal executive officer of the Michigan Department of Education and is chairperson of the State Board without the right to vote and shall be responsible for implementing its policies, and has all the powers and duties provided by law.

The State Superintendent is responsible for the day-to-day management, supervision, and leadership of the Michigan Department of Education. The Superintendent is responsible for developing cooperative working relationships with other government departments; the Governor’s office; the state legislature; and constituent groups, in service of SBE policy and the Michigan’s Top 10 in 10 strategic plan for improving education.

This top education position became open last spring upon the death of State Superintendent Brian Whiston. Chief Deputy Superintendent Sheila Alles was appointed Interim State Superintendent by the State Board at that time.