The Clawson School Board concluded the first phase of interviews for the Clawson superintendent position on Thursday evening. After a 90-minute interview with Monique Beels, the school board selected Beels and as finalists for the superintendent position.
Jennex interviewed in the first round on Monday and and both interviewed Wednesday.
after five years of working in the district. Her retirement will be effective in June.
Beels has been with for two years as assistant superintendent for instructional curriculum, technology and assessment. She has an Ed.S. in administration and supervision, and a master's in elementary education. She was an assistant principal of Jefferson Middle School in Lakeville Public Schools for four years and a high school/middle school math, chemistry, and science teacher at Lakeville Public Schools for five years. Beels also served an assistant superintendent in Novi Schools for four years.
Beels answered a series of questions from board members ranging from topics such as curriculum to her experiences as a school leader. Toward the end of the 90-minute interview, Beels answered a few questions from the audience.
The audience was comprised of parents, faculty members, community members and former school board members. There were about 20 people at Thursday's interview.
Beels lives in Grosse Pointe and said she enjoys running in her spare time.
Here are some highlights from Beels' responses to interview topics:
On challenges in the district
Beels said the budget is one of the biggest challenges school districts in Michigan face. She also said districts are challenged with bringing innovation and creativity into the schools and motivating kids to get more involved.
Qualities that set her apart
"I have the ability to connect with people really quickly," Beels said.
She said she is also able to see the connections and how curriculum and special programs will help students as they move up grade levels.
Visible leadership examples
Beels discussed her experiences in Novi, Lakeville and Warren Woods schools and how she helped facilitate strategic plans for budget cuts. She said she looked at developing 3-5 year plans to set the direction and goals for the school district. This involved evaluating factors such as curriculum and hiring practices.
On diversity, school of choice
Beels has worked with diverse school districts during career including Novi where she said the student population is 30 percent. She said Grosse Pointe also offers diversity across the board with students who come from differerent economic backgrounds. Beels said she's worked with schools that have a high population of students on free and reduced lunch and at-risk students who live in poverty.
With school of choice, Beels said it's important to keep the district viable and offer programs that will entice students from other districts.
Recruiting quality educators and retaining
"I network, I go places, I pay attention," Beels said.
As an assistant superintendent, Beels said she attends job fairs and looks to recruit teachers that reflect the demographics of the students. Beels said teacher retention requires supporting them, honoring them, remembering their names, paying attention to what they do and being able to tell their stories.
"It's how we treat people and how we take care of them," Beels said.
Building trust with staff, community
"My heart in the right place, I am about kids and I am about learning," Beels said.
In order to build trust with the staff and community, Beels said she will demonstrate integrity and passion for the job. Trust is also maintained by attending school events, visiting the classrooms and achieving positive results for the school district, she said.
Learn more about the of the candidates.