You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, May 8, 2013 : 9:02 a.m.

Dexter school board identifies 1 candidate in superintendent search

By Danielle Arndt

After a few delays in selecting a permanent superintendent, the Dexter Community Schools Board of Education has picked up the charge once again, revealing the district's final candidates.

Just one name emerged and was voted on Monday night, according to a report in the Dexter Leader: Adrian Public Schools Superintendent Christopher Timmis.


Christopher Timmis

From Adrian College

The newspaper reported the Board of Education will begin the interview process with Timmis immediately, after having put the search on hold for about five weeks so school trustees could investigate the backgrounds of the 30-plus applicants more thoroughly.

According to the Adrian Public Schools website, Timmis has been superintendent at the district of about 3,130 students for five years. Dexter has slightly more students. It had 3,566 children enrolled as of Fall Count Day 2012.

Timmis also recently was one of five candidates for the superintendent's position in the Plymouth-Canton School District, according to news reports. Timmis received his bachelor's degree from Adrian College and his master's in education from Wayne State University.

The Leader says the Dexter Community Schools board favored Timmis due to his emphasis on increasing technology use in the classrooms at Adrian; he also crusaded for an International Baccalaureate program in Adrian, which Dexter has as well.

Dester has been working to find a permanent replacement for former Superintendent Mary Marshall since December. Marshall resigned from Dexter Community Schools to take a superintendent's job with Pentwater Public Schools on the west side of the state, along Lake Michigan.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


Mackinac Straits

Sat, May 11, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

It would seem hiring based on an IB skill set, when the IB program is bankrupting the District, only raises the stakes in the fight for fiscal and educational sanity in Dexter. IB is quickly ruining the district's finances, and when it goes, so will this hire, er, "finalist".

Shawn Letwin

Fri, May 10, 2013 : 1:16 a.m.

Statistically very impressive credentials. Why hasn't Dexter seen similar results? Year after year the DCS BOE gives glowing reviews for the superintendent? Could it be that the DCS BOE does not set any measurable metrics for the superintendent to be evaluated against? The DCS BOE has never set any measurable metrics for themselves. T he DCS reality is: duplicate IB program for 30+ kids, precipitous drop in performance, grad rates dropping over a 5 year period with no explanation, middle school that was a national award winner is then measured and categorized by the state as a top 10% academic achievement gap learning facility, 50th percentile in PACT scores for 10th graders, in-district students going outside of Dexter increasing from 60 to almost 200 in less than 5 yrs, etc. One has to wonder is it really the fault of just one person? Can the institutional dysfunction of the district (7 sitting superintendents in 14 years...including 2 interim placements) which has been overseen by essentially the same board makeup for over 10 years be expected to change with just one person? Cobler speaks of a culture for DCS and how Timmins is head and shoulders above all of the other 30 plus candidates (as shown by a unanimous vote... 99% of all votes for the last 7 years-unanimous too). A superintendent may be the face of the district, but the board sets the tone and defines the culture. Cobler and company are 0 for 4 in keeping a superintendent for more than 2 years and now Timmins is THE guy? Wow! The superintendent mirrors the direction and philosophy of the board because they are his/her boss. AD turnover, football coaches leaving left and right, former IT guy (Maciag) abruptly resigns while in the midst of implementing millions of dollars in IT upgrades ( like Christmas everyday for the department during the implementation) and someone just walks notice...just didn't come back to work one day. The Dexter Difference.

Mackinac Straits

Sat, May 11, 2013 : 3:16 a.m.

The fall 2013 DHS catalog shows a significant number of "standard" course offerings have been eliminated, replaced by IB versions of the same courses. This forces more kids to take IB classes, even though they aren't, or don't want to be, in the IB program. This will allow the BOE this fall to claim a significant increase in IB participation rates. The saga continues.

Chris Gordon

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Dr. Timmis appears to be an excellent candidate for Dexter superintendent, with many strong qualifications that support his selection for the job: - 5 years as Adrian Superintendent, with 2 additional years as AHS Principal and previous experience as a curriculum director and math teacher elsewhere in MI. He shows commitment and longevity, both valuable for Dexter. - Adrian dramatically increased MEAP, MME & ACT scores during his tenure: MEAP 3rd grade reading +5% MEAP 3rd grade math +22% MEAP 8th grade reading +19% MEAP 8th grade math +16% MME 11th grade reading +19% MME 11th grade math +16% ACT +2.5 (17.3 to 19.8) - Demonstrates willingness to work with community organizations for the benefit of district students as evidenced by initiatives with the YMCA and Lenawee County Boys and Girls Clubs. Seems like a great fit with the Dexter Wellness Center, Safe Routes to School, SRSLY and other Dexter community initiatives. - Voluntarily amended his contract to increase his health care benefit contributions and to suspend part of his retirement benefits to help address district budget challenges in 2011, at the same time the district was seeking wage and benefit concessions from teachers. He leads by example. - Successfully implemented Adrian IB program and launched local and international partnerships to bring more students to the district. The Dexter IB program, which was approved 2 years prior to WIHi and holistically engages local students of all abilities, deserves strong leadership to help the program grow and return the wise investment in its implementation. All of this suggest to me that Dr. Timmis is well suited to lead Dexter to become an even better school district for all our students, and I look forward to the opportunity to meet and question him in person as part of the final public selection process.

Mackinac Straits

Sat, May 11, 2013 : 3:04 a.m.

Wow, you've found the only person in the country with a good track record. Thanks for reciting his résumé for us.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

It seems that the Dexter BOE is intent on ramming the IB program down our throats. Out of 30 applicants only one was worth an interview? Was he the only one with a positive view of the IB program? It's time to replace the BOE.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that he can stop the precipitous slide in its tracks by cauterizing the rottenness within.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

Resources allocated for Dexter IB program could be used more wisely. It will go down as a very costly experiment for Dexter when they finally come to their senses and drop it.

Shawn Letwin

Sun, May 12, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

No one complains? More like no one reports it! DCS BOE and admin have learned to learn manipulate the non-aggressive reporting by the local media. And when there are assertive questions asked, the DCS BOE and admin feign ignorance or deflection in their response. Coupled with the fact that local media (and media in general) do not follow up on issues...just report sound bites on "now" news and don't follow the story over time. Lots of people have complained to the board on many issues and they still "away they go". No one is able to pay attention to the details and when elections are held, the good ole boy network comes out in full force to overwhelm those voters that do want to change the makeup of the board. Having run as a write-in candidate twice (to raise awareness of issues), I have seen first hand the apathy of the alleged concerned parents and manipulative measures of the DCS BOE and admin.

Laura Jones

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6 p.m.

I don't see them dropping it when the only candidate they are considering is an IB activist. Not sure this is a good idea for us, but no one complains to the board of ed, so away they go.

Shawn Letwin

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

DCS would be very pleased to keep a superintendent for 5 years (and I agree that seems to be right term that superintendents seem to stick around...either using the job as a stepping stone or padding their salary the last few years to bump up their retirement pay). Anyway, DCS has seen 6 different sitting superintendents (Marshall twice) since Hansen left just before 2000. Timmis crusaded for an IB program at Adrian and we have Dexter who went solo on their own IB program that serves just over 30 kids instead of opting into the pre-existing Washtenaw County IB program. Matches up so well. When AP programs aren't good enough for the elite students, lets create another layer for the top students with a programme that is tremendously expensive to implement and maintain and only serves an extremely small student population.

Dog Guy

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

Timmis sounds like a good just-local-enough choice.. And five years is the right term for a musical superintendents seat.