It took until the middle of the week for Scott Koziol’s voice mail to finally kick in as the interim superintendent for Michigan Center Schools. Still, there’s a sense the 38-year-old already feels right at home.
Koziol spent extensive time with Michigan Center teachers and administrators working on school improvement goals the past few years as an education consultant for the Jackson County ISD. He sees that experience as a major advantage.
“On Monday, I actually held a meeting to start talking about one of the major projects that’s going on around here, (dealing with new) security cameras and swipe cards, because I had been working with (former superintendent) Dave (Tebo),” he said.
“I knew before I walked in the door Monday about 80 percent of the teachers by name and I know all the administrators.”
Koziol temporarily replaces Tebo, who last month left to become superintendent of Hamilton Community Schools, near Holland. Koziol will be under contract through June while he takes a leave from his position with the ISD.
By Friday, he planned to visit every classroom in the district, to introduce himself to students “without disrupting the flow.”
Koziol said he is fully committed to school improvement goals and academic achievement initiatives that Tebo put into motion.
He said it will be almost second nature for him to help ramp up programs and strategies to increase student achievement on the MEAP and other standardized tests, but there will be a learning curve in other areas.
“I’m really still learning a lot about the budget and what it takes to keep it balanced, but thankfully our business manager Judy Johnson, is outstanding and is getting me up to speed,” he said.
Koziol is leaning heavily on Johnson’s wisdom in negotiations for a new contract for the district’s teachers. The district has hired local attorney Robert Grover to assist Johnson in negotiations, he said.
Koziol said he understands the importance of giving the district’s staff security and fair pay from his time as an elementary teacher in Napoleon, but his main role will be relaying updates and information to the school board.
Koziol said he is a goal-driven individual who has sometimes been called “overly organized” and he is excited to see what kind of fit he is as a superintendent.
It’s a role his father, Joe, held at Northwest when he was growing up. Joe Koziol retired from Northwest in 2002.
“The ultimate question (six months from now) for me will be, ‘Can I be happy doing it?’ And that’s going to include the relationships I have at work, but also more importantly the relationships at home,” he said referring to his wife, Brenda, and their 11-year-old daughter and his 23-year-old stepdaughter.
School board President Gerald Holda said the district still plans to choose a firm to conduct a search for a new superintendent in case the board or Koziol decides to go in a different direction for the 2011-12 school year.
As published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot on Jan. 10, 2011