The school board of Michigan’s third largest public school district voted unanimously Monday night to extend interim Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal’s contract for 18 months and suspend the superintendent search.
Neal replaces former superintendent Bernard Taylor. Taylor had agreed to resign from Grand Rapids schools at the end of this school year after he was a finalist for other jobs beginning last spring. But he departed abruptly earlier this month.
In a written statement school board president Senita Lenear said:
“We certainly knew that Ms. Weatherall Neal was the right person, at the right time when we appointed her interim superintendent. Now, based on the overwhelming response and feedback the Board has received, as well as Ms. Weatherall Neal’s leadership and approach to problem solving, it was clear that she is the right person for the long run and deserves the time necessary to achieve her strategic goals,” said Senita Lenear, President of the Grand Rapids Board of Education."
Neal is a graduate of Grand Rapids schools and has been working for the district for 35 years. At first Neal said she was not interested in the position permanently.
In the same written release Neal stated:
As I said then and I will say again today, I plan to spend even more time meeting with and learning from our stakeholders. I want students, parents, teachers, principals, support staff, volunteers, alumni, and community leaders to know they have a voice that will be heard, respected and acted upon. I particularly want input on how we can collectively work to strengthen and improve academic achievement; leadership and instructional development; customer service and school culture; internal and external relationships; student attendance and behavior; retention and recruitment of talented staff; and overall accountability. We have great students, great staff, great partners, great supporters and a well developed strategic plan to keep GRPS moving in the right direction