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Posted on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

'The magic number is 1': Saline receives 61 applications for high school principal

By Danielle Arndt

Saline Area Schools is 60 individuals away from filling its high school principal position.

The official application period closed Friday with 61 applicants, 38 of whom have completed all the necessary requirements to receive consideration for the position, said Curt Ellis, executive director of human resources for Saline Area Schools.

Just one individual is an internal candidate, while the others are overwhelmingly from Michigan. Saline also received applicants from Ohio, Minnesota, California, Florida and North Carolina.

Ellis said the number of applicants is not the number he is focusing on.

“The magic number is ... one,” he said. “Whether there were 10, 20 or 50 applications, we are determined to find the one individual who has the right skill set to lead our students, staff and community as the next principal of Saline High School.”

Ellis is very satisfied with the pool of candidates the position attracted. Twenty-seven of the applicants have previous administrative experience, either serving in a central office, as an assistant principal or as a middle or high school building principal.

“I think it speaks volumes about the quality of Saline Area Schools that experienced school leaders who live and work as far as 2,500 miles away are interested in working here,” Ellis said.

The next step will be screening applications to determine which of the candidates are worthy of an initial interview, he said. Ellis anticipates he will begin the interview process shortly after spring break. May 11 is the target date for presenting a candidate to the Board of Education.

Former Saline High School principal Ben Williams left Saline in January to become the superintendent of Central Lake Public Schools in northern Michigan. Assistant principal Eric Diroff currently is serving as interim principal.

Previous coverage: Saline sets 2 forums for input in principal search

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



Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 11 a.m.

The district hired a principal out of state four years ago. We need someone who is committed to the district, knows the staff, kids, and community, and is willing to bring new ideas to the table. There's been way too much change in the district over the years and the internal candidate is the best choice.

Nick Danger

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 10:55 a.m.

I hope they hire someone local .There are alot of qualified individuals in this area that would do a wonderful job. Why look outside the state when we have such a large talent pool in our own backyard.Lastly,hire Mr.Diroff he has the support of the community and the student body


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

I agree with others in the thread. Hire Mr. Diroff permanently. He is great with the students and knows how everything works.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:30 a.m.

Sixty-one applicants from across the country for this one opening. State budget cuts - across the country - means there are a lot of qualified teachers looking for work. And this in a public education system which teaches students only how to fill in answers on tests so the schools can keep operating. What an economy, what a plan!!

Jacob Bodnar

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:26 a.m.

As a former student at Saline, I hope they keep Mr. Diroff in that position, during my time at Saline it seemed he was not only well liked by the community, but also by the students. He was approachable and friendly but was also tough when needed. I also think it's incredibly valuable to hire someone in that position with experience in the district. Just my two cents.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

Who is Curtis? Is this a combination of Curt and Ellis?


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

Based on my interactions with Mr. Diroff, I hope they select him as the permanent principal. He's very personable, was fair in dealing with our family's particular issue, and would be a great principal.

simply amazed

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

I'm in total agreement!!


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

I am pretty sure they are going to be evaluating more than just "skill set" for this position.