Muskegon Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approves Dirk Weeldreyer as interim superintendent

Muskegon Public Schools’ new superintendent, Dirk Weeldreyer. Photo courtesy of Muskegon Public Schools

The Muskegon Public Schools Board of Education members unanimously approved Dirk Weeldreyer as the district’s interim superintendent at a special work session held Tuesday.

A recent interim superintendent in Caledonia and the current executive director of the School Equity Caucus, a statewide organization representing Michigan school districts that seek adequate and equitable funding for K-12 public schools, Weeldreyer officially begins working as Muskegon’s superintendent today, June 11. Muskegon Public Schools will contract with the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District (MAISD) for Weeldreyer’s services as board members search for a permanent superintendent following former Superintendent Justin Jennings’ recent departure.

“I look forward to learning more about how I can best serve the district from the students, parents, staff, community and board members who live and learn right here in Muskegon,” Weeldreyer, who lives in Jenison, said in a prepared statement.

Muskegon education officials praised Weeldreyer.

“The MAISD recommended Mr. Weeldreyer to our board as an ideal candidate to temporarily fill our district’s lead position,” Muskegon Public Schools Board of Education President Cindy Larson said in the same prepared statement. “With his recent success as interim superintendent in Caledonia, our board agrees he is the perfect person for the job. We are pleased he was able to begin right away. I know our Big Red family will welcome him.”

Weeldreyer too served as the superintendent of Fennville Public Schools for nine years, worked as the principal of Martin Middle/High School for five years, and taught Social Studies at Jenison Public Schools for 16 years. Most recently, in 2018, Weeldreyer served for just under six months as interim superintendent at Caledonia Community Schools.

He holds an Educational Specialist degree in Leadership and Administration from Grand Valley State University, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University, a Master of Education from Nazareth College, and a Bachelor of Arts from Hope College.

“I have known Mr. Weeldreyer for several years and I’m confident in his leadership, skills, and experience,” MAISD Superintendent John Severson said in a prepared statement. “He has what it takes to lead Muskegon through this time of transition as they search for a superintendent. We are fortunate to have him.”

Securing an interim superintendent was a move recently encouraged by a group of local business leaders, who called on the Board of Education to make such a hire in order to provide board members the time to perform an intensive search for a permanent schools leader. Previously, board members had said they hoped to hire a permanent superintendent by July.

“We congratulate you on your decision to move quickly with this,” the business leaders wrote in a letter read by Northern Machine Tool Co. co-owner Steve Olsen read at the Board of Education’s May 21 meeting. “However, it is almost the end of May, and  it may be optimistic to think that you will be able to find the quality of leader that you want quite so quickly. Bringing in an interim leader would assure the continuity that you will need in the event that the search takes longer than you are hoping.”

Story by Anna Gustafson, the publisher and editor of Muskegon Times. Connect with Anna by emailing MuskegonTimes@gmail.com or on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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