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Help us welcome new Principals at Maire and Pierce

As you know, Chris Clark and Sonja Franchett announced their retirements this year. We thank them both for their years of service to our school system. Karen Sullivan has been acting interim principal for the remainder of this school year at Pierce. This allowed time for an optimal search process to find the next instructional leader for Pierce Middle School. At the same time, a similar search process was underway to find the next Principal of Maire Elementary. There were strong candidate fields for both positions.

About the Process

GPPSS uses an inclusive hiring process. Focus groups with staff and parents, and a stakeholder survey gather input from a wide range of constituents. Pierce and Maire parents and staff were also represented on the hiring committee that completed paper screenings, screener interviews, and full interviews with six semi-finalists at each building. All of that information was presented to Dr. Niehaus. He interviewed two top-notch finalists for each position, and will make the final hiring recommendation to the board of education at their meeting May 21.

Pierce Middle School welcomes Sara Dirkse

Ms. Dirkse has been Principal of Woodworth Middle School in Dearborn for three years, and before that was an Assistant Principal at Dearborn High School, and in Gull Lake Community Schools. She has also taught, coached, and served as Athletic Director and Title IX coordinator. Her contributions in student discipline, staff development, and curriculum development were noted in the interview process. As a resident of the Woods, Ms. Dirkse is very familiar with the high standards this community holds for our students and staff. She respects the district’s tradition of excellence and is committed to working with the school community to continue to improve. Throughout the selection process she impressed interview teams with her strong interpersonal skills, commitment to relationships, and instructional leadership. She stated, “I believe an excellent administrator is one who builds great relationships, is a great communicator, and a person of integrity who is willing to make the tough decisions to do what is in the best interest of her students.” She also said, “This is a time in students’ lives when they need consistency, empathy, and encouragement as they continue on in their educational careers.”

Maire Elementary School welcomes Ryan Francis

Mr. Francis is currently a teacher at Mason Elementary School.  In his 11 years teaching fourth and fifth grade there, he has also served as the GPPSS Math Committee Elementary Chair, served on the Blue Ribbon Facilities Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, and as the Mason PLC Technology Committee Leader. As a member of the Galileo Teacher Leadership Academy, he attended training on formative assessment, project based learning, growth mindset, social justice and restorative practices. He has led Grosse Pointe staff development on technology integration, communication tools with parents, and techniques for staff to share lesson plans and best practices. He is also the lead problem-solver for technology problems in his building. In 2016 he was named a GPPSS Distinguished Employee for his efforts going above and beyond to help students and staff reach their full potential. Mr. Francis is excited and eager to start working with Maire students, families, staff, and the entire community. 

Watch for welcome activities

Pending Board approval, we are excited to officially welcome Sara and Ryan to their new roles in GPPSS August 1st, but they will start connecting with parents, staff and students in the coming weeks as opportunities arise. Watch the school websites for updates. Thank you for your help in this search process.