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Incoming Edwardsburg superintendent talks transition

EDWARDSBURG, Mich. -- It’s the first time in over two decades that Edwardsburg Public Schools will have a new leader.

“The transition between Mr. Ostrander and I will be, I think, fairly smooth,” said Jim Knoll, the incoming superintendent. “He and I see eye-to-eye on a lot of different things.”

There have only been four superintendents since 1976 in Edwardsburg.

But after 23 years on the job, Sherman Ostrander is now retiring and Knoll has been selected to take his place.

Knoll, the current assistant superintendent, has worked for years as an educator and administrator in Edwardsburg and Niles.

In an exclusive interview on Wednesday, he said his two top goals are to make sure students have every opportunity possible available to them and to keep the district’s student count steady, even as schools across Michigan struggle to keep their kids.

“We’ve been able to overcome that trend and stay pretty flat with our enrollment,” Knoll said. “And we need to keep doing that.”

Knoll will soon be in charge of about 2,700 students, including the almost 800 who choose to attend Edwardsburg schools even though they live out of town.

He said he feels good about his relationship with the board – having known some of the members for years.

But he’ll also be focusing on building a closer relationship with everyone in the district in an effort to continue the “Pride, Passion, Purpose” legacy the community is built on.

“I want to live up to the expectations of the board and the community,” Knoll said. “We have done really well and I think I am up to the job at making sure that we stay at that level or exceed it.”

Knoll will officially take over as superintendent in July.

He said he also plans to keep the district in the good financial shape it’s already in.

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