2017-05-15 / Front Page

Steigerwald hired as interim school chief

By Steven Kovac
810-452-2684 • skovac@mihomepaper.com

Jerry Steigerwald Jerry Steigerwald BROWN CITY — It was like a black cloud lifting as the school board appointed retired former superintendent Jerry Steigerwald as interim superintendent.

Steigerwald is replacing ex-superintendent Doug Muxlow who resigned May 1 over issues of alleged non-compliance with board policies and, in his view, the resultant diminished ability to lead.

On April 19, the board voted to put Muxlow on paid, non-disciplinary leave pending the results of what it called “a limited review with regard to whether there has been compliance with Board of Education policies.”

The investigation was to be conducted by the school’s attorney.

The board met in special session on Tues., May 2 to formally accept Muxlow’s resignation.

A Brown City native, Muxlow was a teacher and elementary principal at Brown City Schools before becoming superintendent in 2014.

The board met again in special session on Fri., to consider appointing an interim superintendent.

The action to appoint Steigerwald, effective immediately, came on a motion by board member Jeff Liebler and was passed unanimously after a brief discussion.

Member Mark Shadley asked Steigerwald how long he would be available to serve, to which Steigerwald replied, “I’m doing this for the kids, the teachers, and the community. I have no time line. I’ll serve as long as I am needed. I want to help the board keep the ship on course and moving in the right direction. We have great people to work with here.”

On making his motion, Liebler stated, “I served on the board when Jerry was superintendent. We are very appreciative that he is willing to serve and we are looking forward to working with him.”

Member Gary Rutkowski said, “I know Jerry and the good job he will do for us.”

“He attended school here all the way,” said member Jim Seidl. “He graduated from here, went away to college, and came back here to work as a teacher, coach, high school principal, and then superintendent. We are lucky to have someone like him who came up through the chain of command. That’s the Brown City way. And we are going to continue doing things the Brown City way.”

Graduating from Central Michigan University in 1972, Steigerwald returned home to teach and coach numerous sports for 18 years. He served as principal of Brown City High School from 1996 to 2004, and as superintendent of schools from 2005 until his retirement February 1, 2014.

After the meeting, which was attended by about 12 citizens, the mood was positive among board and audience alike.

One woman, who said she was a teacher and had worked under Jerry at the high school commented, “He was the obvious choice.”

Parent Linda McLaughlin remarked, “Jerry’s wonderful. He’s a good guy. He was a good teacher.”

Resident Tom Murray added, “I’ve known Jerry as principal and superintendent and as a neighbor. He’s a great choice.”

Steigerwald told The Brown City Banner, “I will not be working every day. Maybe two or three days a week. More only if needed. I am honored to be appointed and to hear such kind words.”

Board President Alan Burgess told The Brown City Banner he was relieved by the board’s decision coming after two very difficult weeks for the district. Concerning Steigerwald’s pay, Burgess stated, “Jerry’s compensation remains to be worked out. We’ve talked about a rough figure. We will need to check with Social Security.”

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