Saturday, March 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., the Potterville school board will interview the final five candidates for a new superintendent. Each interview will last about an hour, with a half hour break after the third interview. The interviews will take place at the high school media center, and are open to the public.

“It allows stakeholders to have input,” said board president, Stacy Sipes, about the public interviews. “This is an exceptionally large undertaking.”

While the interviews are open to the public, non-board members will have no time for verbal comment, according to Sipes. At the end of each interview the public will be allowed to write down comments and questions for the board, all of which will be reviewed by the board and taken into consideration for further interviews. According to Sipes, the board’s goal after the five interviews on March 24 will be to narrow down the candidates to two potentials.

The superintendent application period and search closed Jan. 29, according to Sipes. The job was posted to the Michigan Association of School Boards,, and to the Potterville Potterville Public Schools website. According to Sipes there were no internal applicants from the Potterville school district.

“It was not surprising to us… I don’t think we had any expectation or any kind of idea,” said Sipes about the lack of internal applicants.

After the application period there were 31 applicants from around Michigan, as well as from out of state. The school board met Feb. 19 to narrow down the candidates, coming up with six to contact for interviews. The five of the six who agreed to interviews are Kevin Robydek, principal of Portland Middle School, Nicholas Steinmetz of Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School, Wayne Johnson, elementary school principal at Roseville Community Schools, Tommie Saylor, high school principal with Taylor School District, and Dr. Katherine Bertolini, assistant professor at South Dakota State University.

Each candidate displayed a combination of characteristics the board prioritized for an ideal superintendent. Expertise in communications, budget, school finance, legal issues, human resources, management experience, and strong professional backgrounds were among the prioritized characteristics.

“We wanted to make sure we had the absolute best person with a closely matched skill set,” said Sipes. “This board of education is concerned about finding the right fit to carry the mission and vision, and overall safety and wellbeing of students at Potterville.”

The interim superintendent selected during the hiring process was Tom Pillar, the former superintendent of Waverly Schools. Pillar came out of retirement to fill the interim position, but had no intention of staying on for the full time position.

For more information about the superintendent candidate interviews, readers can contact the school board by emailing president Stacy Sipes at, or by visiting to find further contact information of other school board members.