School board to interview five superintendent candidates

The Board of Education has chosen five candidates to interview in its search for the next superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools. 

The board will hold first-round interviews with the five on Saturday, Feb. 8, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Rev. Lyman S. Parks, Jr. Administration Building, 1331 Franklin St. SE. The interviews are open to the public. 

Board members will meet again at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10 to decide whom to invite for second-round interviews. Those will take place Feb. 17 beginning at 6 p.m. The board possibly will make its choice that night. 

The board chose the five candidates on Jan. 27, from 39 applicants, as it seeks to replace Teresa Weatherall Neal, who retired last June. Ronald Gorman, assistant superintendent of pre-K-12 instructional support, has served as interim superintendent since then. The board was unable to agree on a single candidate in its first search last year so reopened the search.  

The five candidates, all from out of state, and their linked resumes are as follows:

Dr. Erick D. Pruitt, deputy chief of high schools for Chicago Public Schools, where he has also served as a network chief of schools and elementary principal. He previously was an area superintendent with the Houston Independent School District.

Dr. Leadriane Roby, assistant superintendent of Richfield Public Schools in Richfield, Minnesota since 2014. Roby previously was an assistant superintendent and principal in Minneapolis Public Schools, and a principal in Covert Public Schools in Michigan. 

Dr. Darrin Slade, assistant superintendent of school leadership for Kansas City Public Schools in Kansas City, Missouri since 2018. He also served as a principal in District of Columbia Public Schools from 2002 to 2018. 

Dr. Yvonne Stokes, assistant superintendent for School Town of Munster in Munster, Indiana since 2017. She has also served as a deputy superintendent in Indianapolis Public Schools, and as an administrator, principal and teacher in other Indiana school districts. 

Dr. Harold Brian Yearwood, assistant superintendent for academics and accountability for Manor Independent School District in Manor, Texas since 2015. He also served as an assistant superintendent for the Lamesa school district and as a principal for the Lubbock district, both in Texas.

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. 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' full bio or email Charles.

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