More interviews announced in superintendent search

The school board is launching a second national search for a new superintendent

A third candidate for superintendent on Grand Rapids Public Schools has been added to those the Board of Education is interviewing, including two who will have second-round interviews on Monday, April 8.

Dr. Derrick Coleman, superintendent of the River Rouge School District in greater Detroit, will be given a first interview by the board next Monday, March 25, at 6 p.m. Coleman was unable to participate in interviews held with the board on Saturday, March 16, due to attending a funeral.

The second interview round on April 8 will include Dr. Adrian Talley, director of community schools for Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland, and Dr. Devon Horton, chief of schools for Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky. GRPS Board of Education members selected them following the first-round interviews of four applicants on Saturday.

In selecting those two candidates in a retreat yesterday, the school board decided to invite Coleman to the alternate date, said Jay Bennett, a search consultant with the Michigan Association of School Boards. Following next Monday’s interview, the board has the option to invite him to join Talley and Horton for the second round.

The board is looking to replace Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal, who is retiring June 30 after heading the district since 2012. The position drew a field of 30 applicants, four of whom board members interviewed over five hours on Saturday.  The others interviewed were Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, director of EquiVisible and former superintendent in Albany, New York, and Dr. Darrell Williams, assistant superintendent for Beloit Schools in Wisconsin.

Video of the interviews of all four candidates and their credentials can be viewed on the GRPS website. Members of the public who would like to offer comments may submit them to

In addition to the second-round interviews on the evening of April 8, the board has asked the MASB consultants to organize activities that day for the candidates to meet with parents, students, staff and community members.

“The board was interested in making sure there was additional engagement with the major stakeholders who would be most impacted by this decision,” said GRPS spokesman John Helmholdt.

It’s possible the board may make its selection that evening, Helmholdt said.

Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles's full bio.


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