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Published: Tuesday, 3/12/2013

BEDFORD SCHOOLS

Board of Education hires new top administrator

Superintendent from Genesee Co. chosen

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Mark Kleinhans Mark Kleinhans
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TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Public Schools Board of Education on Monday hired an education official from Genesee County, Michigan, as the district’s new superintendent.

In a 7-0 vote, the school board hired Mark Kleinhans, the superintendent of Montrose Community Schools, as the Bedford district’s top administrator. The offer is contingent on the successful negotiation of a compensation package. Board President Michael Smith said he expected Mr. Kleinhans’ salary to be between $120,000 and $125,000.

Mr. Kleinhans has been superintendent in the Montrose district since 2002, and will replace Ted Magrum, who retired in September. Jon White, who had a long career with the Bedford schools, came out of retirement to serve as interim superintendent for the current academic year.

In taking the helm at Bedford, Mr. Kleinhans will be moving to a substantially larger district. The Montrose schools have an enrollment of about 1,600, while Bedford’s is roughly 4,700. In giving the nod to Mr. Kleinhans, the board culminated an almost three-month process that saw five candidates from Michigan districts brought in for public interviews.

The board winnowed the field to two finalists: Mr. Kleinhans and Craig Haugen, superintendent of the Jefferson Schools in Monroe County. As part of the pre-hiring process, board members spent a day at each candidate’s district recently.

Mr. Kleinhans could not be reached for comment Monday evening, but in an earlier call with Mr. Smith on speaker phone after the vote in which he was formally offered the position, he told board members, “I am very honored and very excited.”

Before Monday’s vote at a special meeting in the high school, board members had a 25-minute discussion about the two candidates, emphasizing that both Mr. Kleinhans and Mr. Haugen were highly qualified to lead the district.

“We have two strong candidates for this position, and I think both have many of the same characteristics,” board member Tim Brakel said.

His board colleague, Shawna Smith, said both candidates were excellent superintendents and “I don’t think we can make a poor choice here.”

Mr. Brakel said he was impressed by the school improvement specialist certification Mr. Kleinhans had earned from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The online graduate program focuses on the school improvement process, according to its Web site.

Mr. Brakel said his visit to the Montrose district left him with the impression that Mr. Kleinhans was “very good at bringing various factions together.”

Board member Wayne Meehean described Mr. Kleinhans as “an outsider with fresh ideas.”

Joe Gore recalled his days as a Marine and the phrase “tip of the spear,” explaining “I can see Mr. Kleinhans as the tip of our spear. He can rally the troops. I think Mr. Kleinhans has the energy, the experience, and can take us to the next level.”

Mr. Smith pronounced himself “very impressed” with both candidates, and said he liked the fact that Mr. Haugen was a Bedford resident and “had relationships throughout the community. ... I think that’s something Mr. Kleinhans can overcome.”

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.



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