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Grand Rapids school board narrows its second search for a new superintendent

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A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.

Grand Rapids Public Schools board of education is narrowing the search for its next superintendent.

The board voted Monday evening to interview five superintendent candidates.

Here’s a list of the candidates who will be interviewed:

Dr. Erick D. Pruitt, Deputy Chief of High Schools for Chicago Public Schools in Chicago, IL, since 2019. Dr. Pruitt has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Illinois Teacher Certificate from Purdue University; a Master of Education in Education Administration and Supervision, and Illinois Administrator Certificate from Loyola University Chicago; and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Illinois Superintendent Endorsement from National-Louis University.
Dr. Leadriane Roby, Assistant Superintendent of Richfield Public Schools in Richfield, MN, since 2014. Dr. Roby received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota, a Master of Arts in Education Administration from Saint Mary’s of Minnesota, a K-12 Educational Licensure from Saint Mary’s of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in K-12 Educational Leadership, Research, and Technology from Western Michigan University.
Dr. Darrin Slade, Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership for Kansas City Public Schools in Kansas City, MO, since 2018. Dr. Slade received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Towson University, a master’s in teaching from Johns Hopkins University, an Advanced Professional Certificate in Admin Leadership from Johns Hopkins University, an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from University of Maryland College Park.
Dr. Yvonne Stokes, Assistant Superintendent for School Town of Munster in Munster, IN, since 2017. Dr. Stokes has a Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from Purdue University, a Master of Science in Special Education from the University of Saint Francis, a Director of Exceptional Needs Licensure from Purdue University Calumet, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Purdue University.
Dr. Harold Brian Yearwood, Assistant Superintendent for Academics & Accountability for Manor Independent School District in Manor, TX, since 2015. Dr. Yearwood received a Bachelor of Science in Geology, a Master of Education in Administration, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Texas Tech University.

The school board reopened the application process in November.

John Helmholdt, Executive Director of Communications & External Affairs and Spokesman for Grand Rapids Public Schools, says the district reopened the superintendent search after being disappointed with the first applicant pool.

“As they went through the process and as they got through the finalists, for various reasons they just didn’t quite fit what the board was looking for,” Helmholdt said.

Helmholdt didn't specify why the board was unsatisfied with the applicant pool. 

Former superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal retired last spring, saying she wants to spend more time with her family. 

Helmholdt says the school board is willing to go through the search process until they find a superintendent it is happy with.

The board will begin interviewing candidates on February 8th.

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