Deaf Students and Community Will Have Input In The Hiring of MSD Principal

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs 517-241-4395
Agency: Education

June 14, 2019

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Education has assured students attending the Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint, their parents, and the deaf and hard of hearing community, that their input will be considered in the selection of the school’s permanent principal.

Some students attending their last day of the school year at the Michigan School for the Deaf (MSD) yesterday, assembled outside the school with others in the deaf community, to express their concerns in the hiring of the school’s principal.

In April, the school’s principal left to take a position at another school district for family reasons. MSD’s Campus Manager has been filling that role through the end of this school year. The Michigan Department of Education has been in the process of hiring a temporary principal until a fulltime principal is selected. The students have expressed a desire to have a principal who is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).

“Right now, we have interviewed for a temporary principal,” said Deputy State Superintendent Scott Koenigsknecht. “Filling this role temporarily will provide us with the time to launch an official process for seeking a permanent principal. That process for seeking a permanent principal will include capturing the thoughts of the parents, the students and the broader deaf community.”

All employees of the Michigan School for the Deaf are state employees and the hiring process goes through the state civil service process. Having candidates who are fluent in ASL definitely is preferred, and the civil service posting will be sent nationwide. There is a school policy that if a person is not proficient in ASL, they must have an interpreter with them.

When the previous principal left in April, there were unfounded rumors circulating that MSD would be closing, which the Michigan Department of Education confirmed were not accurate. 

“As always, the mission of the Michigan School for the Deaf is to provide academics and social excellence, rich in ASL and English literacy for all students from infancy to graduation, to be the leader in educating Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in Michigan, and to provide services to their families and the community,” Koenigsknecht said.