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Published: 10/12/2010

Bedford Public Schools administrator comes with experience

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE - Bedford Public Schools has selected an administrator with experience in both the public and private sectors to handle the district's human resources and labor issues.

Howard Schwager was hired by the board of education last week. He was given the board's unanimous approval at the recommendation of Superintendent Ted Magrum.

Mr. Schwager, 52, who is employed at Oak Park (Michigan) Schools as director of human resources, has nine years of human resources experience at Michigan schools and more than three years of labor law expertise in the private sector. He also has been an adjunct professor at two colleges.

He will begin work for Bedford schools on Oct. 25 at an annual salary of $100,000.

"We are much looking forward to his coming on board and being part of the team," Board President Timothy Brakel said. "We are looking forward to the work he will be doing on continuing in developing our human resources office and developing relations with our unions and all of our faculty and staff."

Mr. Schwager takes over for Ken Graf, who stepped down in September to become principal of Temperance Road Elementary.

"I am looking forward to getting the district going in the right direction and settle any issues if there are any," Mr. Schwager said.

The school district received 43 applications for the job. A 12-person committee of administrators, school board members, teachers, and staff picked four finalists for interviews after reviewing the candidates' qualifications, said Jonathan Whan, assistant superintendent of instruction and students services.

"We felt we had very good discussions of the candidates," Mr. Whan said.

Mr. Schwager and the three others were asked by the committee to appear for interviews, and Mr. Schwager was the top choice, he said.

As human resources director, Mr. Brakel said Mr. Schwager will be involved in negotiations to settle contracts with the nine union or employee groups.

Mr. Schwager has a bachelor of science degree in public law and government from Eastern Michigan University in 1983, a paralegal certificate from the American Institute for Paralegal Studies in 1986, and a masters of arts in industrial relations from Wayne State University in 1997.

Prior to Oakland Park Schools, he was assistant superintendent for human resources and labor relations at Brighton Area Schools. However, the district eliminated the position after duties were taken over by the intermediate school district to consolidate resources.

Mr. Schwager held similar assistant superintendent positions involving human resources and labor issues at Taylor Public Schools from 2004 to 2008 and Ann Arbor Public Schools from 1998 to 2003.

His employment in the private sector included positions at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone P.L.C. in Detroit, Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Government Benefits Consultants in Novi, and Donald Morbach & Associates in Detroit.

He taught paralegal, civil litigation, investigation and procedure, labor and employment law, and legal research and writing at Eastern Michigan and Madonna universities from 1998 to 2003.



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