- Sponsorship -

Five candidates to interview for superintendent position

District received 14 applications for top district post

Forest Hills — The Board of Education will interview five candidates for the district’s superintendent position in March.

The district received 14 applications for the position, which became open when former Superintendent Dan Behm retired in June 2023. Applicants consist of current superintendents, central office administrators and principals. The board narrowed applications to five candidates, all of whom are serving districts in Michigan. Interviews will take place the first week of March at Northern Trails 5/6 School, 3777 Leonard St. NE. The interviews are open to the public.

The five candidates, in order of interviews, are:

Benjamin Kirby, superintendent of Lake Orion Community Schools, a district of about 7,000 students, for the past four years. Before coming to Lake Orion, he served as assistant superintendent at South Lyon Community Schools and Ionia Public Schools. His interview is at 5 p.m. Monday, March 4.

Allen Cumings, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction at Greenville Public Schools, a district of about 3,600 students. Before coming to Greenville, Cumings was with Tri County Area Schools, a district of about 1,700 students, for 25 years, the last 12 serving as superintendent. Cumings’ interview is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 4. 

Phillip (Ric) Seager, superintendent of Watervliet Public Schools, a district of about 1,450 students, for the past five years. Before coming to Watervliet, he was a principal at Schoolcraft High School and director of school improvement and assessment at Kalamazoo Public Schools. Seager’s interview is at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 5.

Jennifer Fee, superintendent of St. Joseph Public Schools, a district of about 4,000 students, for the past three years. Before coming to St. Joseph, she was with East Grand Rapids Public Schools for 22 years, and as the assistant superintendent of instruction for the last four. Fee’s interview is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5.

Gary Kinzer, superintendent of Mason Public Schools, a district of about 3,300 students, for the past two years. Before coming to Mason, Kinzer was assistant superintendent of resources at Novi Community Schools and worked in Okemos Public Schools for 24 years. His interview is at 5 p.m. Thursday. March 6. 

“We are pleased with the quality of applicants that demonstrated an interest in our school district, and we look forward to learning more about the candidates’ leadership abilities and how their vision will lead our district to continued success,” said Board President Kristen Fauson.

Behm retired as superintendent for 17 years.  He was recently hired as executive director of Education Advocates of West Michigan.

Forest Hills surveyed community members about the qualities they wanted in a superintendent last fall and then opened the application process in December.

According to the district’s timeline, the board will conduct final interviews around March 18 and 19, with plans to select the superintendent at a date to be determined. 

The plan is to have a new superintendent in place by July 1, Fauson said,

According to MI School Data, Forest Hills Public Schools is the third largest district in Kent County, serving about 9,200 students in 18 buildings. Dr. Sara Magaña Shubel, former superintendent of East Grand Rapids, is serving as the interim superintendent for the 2023-2024 school year. The search is being facilitated by Michigan Leadership Institute

Read more from Forest Hills: 
With his leadership, innovation and relationships flourished
Taking the ‘American Dream’ to court

- Sponsorship -
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


Related Articles

- Sponsorship -

Issues in Education

Making Headlines

- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You Live WGVU