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Five finalists interviewing for top job at Muskegon Public Schools


Muskegon Public Schools may soon have a new superintendent, as this week the Board of Education is interviewing five finalists for the job. Officials are splitting the interviews up over three days this week, beginning on Monday and ending on Wednesday, while the board plans to offer second round interviews to the strongest candidates before making a final decision.

The five finalists for the job all come from beyond Muskegon County Lines. The closest to being an insider would be Whitehall District Schools Superintendent Jerry McDowell, followed by Simeon Frang, he’s the director of curriculum at Orchard View Schools and a former principal of Reeths-Puffer Middle School.

Coming from across the state is Bilal Tawwab, he’s the former superintendent of Flint Community Schools and Matthew Cortez, the superintendent of Essexille-Hampton Public Schools near Saginaw Bay.

Meanwhile, Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard comes from Albany New York, where she served as the city’s superintendent. If her name sounds familiar, she was also a finalist for the Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent position earlier this year.

I asked Muskegon Board of Education President Cindy Larson, what are the chances that one of these candidates will get the job.

“100 percent,” Larson said. “I’m very confident.”

And what qualities is the board looking for in the next superintendent?

“Gosh, well it is a long list to be honest,” Larson said. “We have very high goals, and very high expectations.”

Whomever the Board chooses, the next superintendent of Muskegon Public Schools will inherit a district facing a monumental decision by residents in 2020, as voters will consider a millage bond that would raise nearly $80 million for the district over 30 years.