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Candidates to interview for BHS superintendent

By Lisa Brody


After reigniting the Bloomfield Hills Schools' (BHS) superintendent search this winter, the board of education held a special meeting on Wednesday, April 3, at which they reviewed candidate applications, and selected five candidates to interview for the position.


The first round of interviews will be held on Tuesday, April 16, and Wednesday, April 17, each day beginning at 6 p.m., as well as on Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m. The board said they will allot approximately 90 minutes for each interview.


The five finalists for the position are: Stephen Bigelow, PhD, superintendent, Bay City Public Schools; Eddie Kindle, EdS, associate superintendent, communications and development, Genesee Intermediate School District; Catherine Kochanski, assistant superintendent, learning services, Walled Lake Consolidated School District; Billy Shellenbarger, superintendent, Clawson Public Schools; and Rick West, deputy superintendent, Troy School District.


Bigelow has been superintendent with Bay City Public Schools since 2017; he was previously superintendent of Capac Community Schools from 2015-2017, and principal at Paul K. Cousino High School, in Warren, from 2009-2015. Kindle was named associate superintendent of Genesee Intermediate School District in 2021 after serving as superintendent of Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools. Kochanski was hired by Walled Lake Schools in July 2019 as assistant superintendent of learning services. She previously served as the principal at Baldwin Elementary School in Rochester Community Schools for seven years and also worked as an elementary principal in Brandon School District. She has also served as an elementary teacher and literacy specialist with Troy School District.


Shellenbarger was selected as superintendent of Clawson Public Schools in 2022 after being the principal of Clawson High School and Middle School. West has been with Troy Schools since 2014; prior to that he was director for business services and finance for Royal Oak Schools.


Kindle and Kochanski will be interviewed on April 16; Shellenbarger and West on April 17; and Bigelow on April 18.


All interviews and meetings are open to the public and will be livestreamed as well as recorded for later viewing. Those who attend the interviews and who are watching via livestream will be provided an opportunity share their feedback with the board of education for their consideration.


Feedback forms will be published on the meeting agendas as well as the superintendent search webpage of BHS.


On Friday, April 19, the board of education will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Booth Center to determine which candidates, if any, will be invited to participate in second round interviews, which are scheduled to occur on Thursday, May 1 and Friday, May 2. The selection of a new superintendent would likely take place at a board meeting on Thursday, May 9, with a start date with BHS scheduled for July 1.


Pat Watson, Bloomfield Hills Schools' previous superintendent, announced in April 2023, he would retire from the district effective July 31, 2023. On July 13, the board named Randy Liepa, PhD, interim superintendent of the district effective August 1. He was scheduled to remain interim superintendent until a new superintendent is hired or October 30, 2023, whichever came first. However, a previous search for a new superintendent was not successful, with the two finalists withdrawing their applications for candidacy in August.

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