New superintendent hosts community conversation

On Dec. 5, new Superintendent Christopher Timmis held a meeting attended by seven Dexter citizens. Timmis held this open meeting with the community to address community concerns regarding the school district. His said his purpose was to figure out where the school system lies within the community and find a long-term way to success. Timmis organized the meeting like a question and answer interview with 10 questions he had for the community. Below are his questions and the community answers, summarized as bullet points.

What are we most proud of with Dexter Schools?

•The strong sense of community within the school system.

•The accomplishments throughout the schools.

•We are equal to or surpassed the success and accomplishments of other schools.

•The growth that the school has seen.

•The strong extracurricular activities.

What are we least proud of with Dexter Schools?

•Needs to be more effort with communication between building to building.

•Keep everyone on the same schedule and calendar to avoid confusion.

•We can expect more and set the bar higher.

What do we need to start doing?

•Have an eye on the next step for the student.

•Need to challenge kids to do more and better.

•Learn to not forget about the kids that are in the average category.

•We need to not be settled with mediocrity.

•Make the transitions for kids easier from school to school.

What should we stop doing?

•Nothing was stated.

What is our greatest strength?

•The faculty is caring and dedicated.

•People are often on top of things throughout the school and make sure certain things get done.

•The staff and students often go the extra step to help others.

What is our greatest weakness?

•Need more money to help those who need it.

•Need to compete more for state funding.

As a superintendent, what do you need from me?

•Be strong, consistent, a leader, and keep working on the little things.

•Address problems that need focus.

What can I expect from the parents?

•Support

•Communication

•Help

New superintendent comes from Adrian

He smiled, shook hands with the Board of Education, embraced his wife. He had been offered–and had accepted immediately–the career opportunity that he felt he could work until retirement.

On June 12, the Dexter Community Schools hired Dr. Chris Timmis as the new district superintendent.

The position was vacated after Mary Marshall, Dexter’s superintendent of three years, left for a job at Pentwater Public Schools. Dennis Desmarais then filled in as interim superintendent until the Board of Education hired Timmis.

“I was extremely excited and continue to be quite excited by this new opportunity,” Timmis said.

Timmis, who worked as the superintendent for Adrian Public Schools before coming to Dexter, said he was drawn to the district because of its huge potential.

“There are opportunities here to take a really outstanding school district and make it one of the best school districts in the country,” he said. “This is a school district that could do it.”

Timmis said he was confident in Dexter’s ability to become the best because of the success he had at Adrian.

Much of this success was oriented around establishing programs for the students. From an interactive virtual school–which allows students to work from anywhere at anytime–to sending students to sister schools Japan and Germany to learn about the culture, Timmis said he has tried to expand the learning environment of students.

These achievements have inspired Timmis concerning Dexter’s future.

“I look at what we were able to do at Adrian, and I think about what the potential here at Dexter is,” he said. “There isn’t a ceiling for what can happen.”

And the first step for Timmis is to create a strategic plan for the district, something that will determine what direction Dexter’s future is heading.

To do this, he said he will spend the first 120 days of school meeting with different groups to get their opinions on the condition of the district, culminating in Timmis releasing a “State of the District” sometime in January.

And the most important part of his job is paying attention to the needs of the community, according to Timmis.

“There is an infinite amount of things you can do in a school system to make it an even more attractive school system to students and parents, and it just has to be whatever the community wants it to be,” he said. “As soon as you get that bold vision, that plan, my job is to get us there.”