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Benton Harbor school board starts search for next superintendent

The search is on for the next leader of Benton Harbor Area Schools.

Former Superintendent Leonard Seawood resigned amid an internal investigation by the school board back in October.

Wednesday, board president Sharon James announced Acting Superintendent Gregory Weatherspoon will also step down at the end of the year.

The school board hopes to lock in a replacement over the next five to six weeks.

They’re pursuing several firms to help expedite this search process.

There was a lot of questions Wednesday night about what exactly happened to former Superintendent Seawood.

“We’re not knowing what went wrong, what was done about it, how they were held accountable,” said resident Deidra Fields.

Those were questions members of the board say they legally couldn’t answer.

But there were questions about the future of the position that they addressed.

With the acting superintendent leaving soon, the board has little time to find a permanent replacement.

“We hate to see him go but we knew from the beginning that he wasn’t coming to stay,” said Sharon James, school board president.

After serving as the interim for more than four months, Weatherspoon will finish his tenure at the end of the year.

With a little over a month left, the board is turning to outside help.

“We have to have a very very qualified candidate and we have to have a very qualified firm to assist with that,” said James.

The board will interview three search firms but the board will only hire one for help with attracting candidates.

The board says they’re also keeping in mind the opinions of the community and what they want in the next leader for this district.

“At the end of the day you want somebody that has integrity, that’s honest, that’s thinking of the best interest of the community, of the kids,” said Fields.

The costs of hiring a search firm and a new superintendent were not a part of the school board’s original budget.

In order to carry out this process, the board president says the budget will have to be adjusted.

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