A second top administrator has left the Brighton Area Schools (BAS) for a similar position in another district.
Chad Scaling, who had been Brighton’s Executive Director of Human Resources, was appointed earlier this month to be the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools’ new Executive Manager of Human Resources. His departure follows that announced in June of Mike Engelter, who had been Brighton’s Asst. Superintendent for Finance, but who departed to become Asst. Superintendent for Finance for the Pinckney Community Schools.
Scaling comes to Walled Lake with 17 years of administrative experience, two in Brighton as an executive director and 11 years before that as the principal of South Lyon High School.
“I am fortunate to have the opportunity to join the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools’ team and serve in a district with an exceptional reputation,” said Scaling in a press release by his new district. “I look forward to joining the fantastic team in human resources.”
When asked about the departures, Brighton Superintendent Dr. Matthew Outlaw told GIGO News that it was not necessarily an anomaly.
“Being an executive leader in any organization is demanding in the best of times, but these positions have become even more challenging in recent years,” he said. “We are seeing high levels of turnover in these key positions across the nation at this time. Talented people like Mike and Chad are regularly recruited for other positions, so they have choices.”
Outlaw also noted that as of Saturday morning, there were 11 school finance positions posted on the State website and there were dozens more throughout the summer.
While public school administrators often leave districts for advancement to higher positions elsewhere, it is not considered standard to see them depart for the same position in another district, especially two in such a short period of time.
Outlaw addressed speculation that hostile treatment of teachers and administrators by several school board members impacted the recent departures.
“We are all professionals and you have to have thick skin to successfully lead in these public positions,” said Outlaw. “I enjoyed working with them both and I am sad to see these two moving on.”
Among the recent controversies were attacks on the union representing the district’s teachers, the Brighton Education Association, targeting its decades-long use of an office at the high school. Disputes over curriculum content have also created rancor from the board table.
While declining to address specifics, Outlaw said the district remains in good shape overall.
“In spite of some of the reasons that led to these departures, the good news is that this district remains a destination district for students and staff,” he said. “Our financial position is strong, we continue to add to our talented teaching staff, our test scores continue to rise and we are only scratching the surface of what is possible here if we work together.”
Outlaw says they will be interviewing several “very talented” candidates for both positions early next week and plan to have replacements on the board agenda for the Sept. 11th meeting.
In the interim, he says the district’s director of accounting, Elizabeth Patterson, has been picking up extra duties and prior to his official departure, Mike Engelter has been assisting for a few hours a week as well.
“I will be the chief human resource officer in the interim (I have 6 years of experience as a district HR lead) and our human resource coordinator, Vicki Cataldo, is outstanding,” said Outlaw. “Chad tied up most of the HR loose ends for the start of the year, so this was greatly appreciated. We will be fine in the short run, but we are anxious to have the team back to full strength soon.”