Buchanan selects new superintendentPublished 9:38pm Tuesday, July 20, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN — Buchanan school board president Tom Gordon was a thankful man Tuesday afternoon after the board unanimously selected Andrea van der Laan as the district’s new superintendent.
The board will enter into contract negotiations with van der Laan this week before setting a start date.
The decision came after representatives from the school board and faculty made site visits to Wyoming Public Schools Tuesday to observe van der Laan and Reese Public Schools Monday for the other finalist Storm Lairson.
“Last night I said a prayer of thanks to the Lord that he had given us such a good candidate,” Gordon said. “Tonight, I’m going to give thanks to the the Lord for giving us a better candidate.”
Gordon’s sentiments were shared by the rest of the board and faculty who went on the site visits.
Each person who spoke recommended van der Laan for the position.
Moccasin Elementary principal Mark Nixon commented on her energy and “huge curriculum background.”
Board trustee James DeVlaminck called her a “quick study” and also commended her curriculum knowledge.
“As far as trying to meet our AYP goals and not just meet them but beat them, she can help us in the future,” he said.
Although van der Laan is an elementary principal at Wyoming Public Schools, board members believed she would transition seamlessly into a superintendent role.
“I think she has a lot of drive and will be able to catch up on the things she doesn’t know rather quickly,” trustee David Zelmer said.
Secretary Karen Worvey said she was “very apprehensive” about making a decision after the interviews but after the site visits she was “very excited” about van der Laan.
“She is going to lead our really good team to be greater than they already are,” she said.
Gordon said van der Laan will bring “team building, leadership, a positive outlook and real love and drive to educate” to Buchanan.
Gordon fully expects van der Laan to begin working by the time the school year starts and to transition quickly.
“The school year is around the corner, but we have a good administrative team that is up to the task,” he said.
Buchanan began its search in April after the unexpected retirement of Diana Davis. The board reviewed more than 20 resumes in its search and conducted interviews with five candidates.