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Interim school chief named superintendent

Sparta — It’s official. Joel Stoner is now Sparta Area Schools’ permanent superintendent.

His new contract, which runs through June 2025, was approved by the Board of Education on Monday during its regular meeting. Stoner had been serving as interim superintendent since Pete Bush retired last August.

The Board of Education approved the contract by 6-0 vote with one abstaining. The approval was part of a consent agenda under personnel. No new superintendent search was conducted.

“We’re removing the ‘interim’ from Joel,” said board President Andrew Jensen. “We’re excited to do this and move forward.” Following the meeting, Stoner and Jensen officially signed the contract.

“I’m over the moon — I’m super excited” Stoner said. “This is a community that I love. I’ve been here for 23 years. I’m thankful to be able to serve the board, serve the parents and community. It’s a great gift. I’m thankful for the board’s trust. Their faith in me means a lot to me. I don’t want to disappoint, so I will do everything I can to not let that happen. It’s a great community.”

Stoner previously served in the district as assistant superintendent, director of human resources-personnel and early childhood, middle school principal, and assistant principal at Ridgeview Elementary. Before coming to Sparta, he was an elementary science specialist in Grandville and a fourth-grade teacher in Gull Lake.

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Jane Lally
Jane Lally
Jane Lally is a reporter covering Sparta. Recently retired after working in state government and other areas, she found her way back to the journalism field again. She graduated from Central Michigan University and spent most of her career in writing, editing, graphic design/print production and broadcast closed captioning. She has written for The Grand Rapids Press, The Morning Sun in Mount Pleasant/Alma, MacDonald Publications in Ithaca, Leader Publications in Niles and The Herald-Palladium in St. Joseph. She strongly believes in the importance of public schools as they bring communities together and make them stronger. She is happy to be able to tell the stories of Sparta schools.


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