On Wednesday, September 21, longtime Northern Michigan educator Jason Stowe started work as the interim superintendent of Kingsley Schools following the resignation of Dr. Keith Smith. Dr. Smith resigned during the closed session of September 12's school board meeting.
Mr. Stowe will serve the district until Christmas break starts on December 21, 2022.
Reflecting on his first few days on the job, he called the district and the people who work for it "incredible."
"I've just been really impressed by the quality of people inside the schools. There's this caring, loving, nurturing environment. It doesn't take long to realize that all these people are here for the right reason."
The Northport native joins the district with extensive experience working in northwestern Michigan schools, including nine years as superintendent of Leland Schools, and most recently, as interim superintendent at Glen Lake Schools in 2021.
"I am so excited to be here. The district is a really, really good district," he said.
As he helps the district navigate a new chapter, he says his goal is to open up a dialogue with the staff and community members.
"My goal for these first few weeks is to meet with as many people as possible," he said. "I think part of my job right now is to listen and to find out what has gone really well over the last decade, and what needs some improvement. When the district does hire a permanent superintendent, it will be really important that the district has a good, clear plan."
Stowe has worked as a teacher, principal, and superintendent for schools primarily in Leelanau county and had a working relationship with former superintendent Dr. Smith.
"Of course, growing up in Northern Michigan, I've known about Kingsley my whole life. I understand small communities, and the school is a vital part of a community like Kingsley. My job is to be a representative of the school, and I'm here to have their best interests at heart," he said.
"My favorite part of working education is the fact that you're just around people that have one focus, and that is the kids. The thing I love most about working in small schools is that as the superintendent, you get to walk into the buildings, right across the parking lot, to be reminded of what it is we're doing here. The thing I like most about it is you're always around great people. And you're making a difference."
Hometown: Northport, MI
Education: Undergraduate degree in Elementary Education at Western Michigan University
Experience: Six years in elementary education at Northport schools, eight years as an elementary and middle school teacher in Leland, two years as Leland's K-12 principal, nine years as their superintendent, and eight months as Glen Lake's interim superintendent
Fun Facts: Has two children, Marjorie, and Cameron. He and his wife are coming up on their 27th wedding anniversary and are currently building a home in Grand Haven!
To reach Jason Stowe, you may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
call 231-263-5261, or stop by the Central office.