New LL-H Schools chief: Codere looking to keep focus, maintain course

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Brad Codere talks during his interview for superintendent and principal at Lake Linden-Hubbell Public Schools Wednesday.

LAKE LINDEN — After 12 years working closely with administration as elementary coordinator for the Lake Linden-Hubbell Public Schools, Brad Codere said he is looking to keep the district on the same path as superintendent.

“I’m sure down the road we’ll have difficult decisions to make, so we’ve got to keep our focus and keep doing the job we are,” he said Thursday. “I feel fortunate to be working with the people I do in both buildings. We’ve got to keep working and do it for the kids in the district.”

The School Board unanimously chose Codere to be the next superintendent and principal at a special meeting Wednesday. He will take over on July 1 for Craig Sundblad, who announced his retirement last year.

Becoming superintendent and principal seemed like a natural progression, Codere said. He said Sundblad has been a great mentor.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with Craig one-on-one in his office and handling the situations that come up during the course of a school year, so it seemed like the logical next step to see what happens,” he said.

Other candidates considered by the board were the district’s business manager, Jeff Klein, and James Koskela, who taught at Lake Linden before becoming controller at REL in Calumet.

“The other candidates I know very well, and they’re good friends of mine,” Codere said. “I felt like they couldn’t go wrong.”

The board chose Codere unanimously after interviewing the three finalists at a special meeting Wednesday.

“In my mind there’s one candidate who stands ready to take the position right now,” said Jeff Dennis, the board’s vice president who motioned to hire Codere.

Codere began working for the district in 1997 as a sixth-grade teacher, a post he still holds. Codere also coaches the fifth-, sixth- and eighth-grade boys basketball teams.

Codere graduated from Lake Linden in 1988 before attending Northern Michigan University, where he graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He received a master’s degree in education-school administration from NMU in 2002.

Trustee Stacey Sedar said all candidates were high-quality and cared about the community. They also differed in strengths — Codere and Koskela starting with an edge as principal, while Klein admitted he’d be ill-suited for that role. She referenced the split suggested by Klein, who envisioned combining the superintendent position with his existing job as business manager. The district would then hire another K-12 principal, Klein had said.

“We have somebody who could sit down in the superintendent role and would probably be a really strong person in there,” she said. “We also have somebody who would also move into a K-12 principal role and be really strong there.”

However, redefining the jobs would require going back to square one, other board members said.

The three finalists answered questions on a variety of topics, as well as on scenarios about declining enrollment or a 10 percent budget cut imposed by the state.

Asked how the district should measure student achievement, Codere said it would be a mix of using the standardized tests required by the state as well as less number-driven accomplishments, such as the district’s Whiz Kids team, which has won national recognition for projects dealing with stamp sands.

As for the hypothetical budget cut, Codere said he would seek advice from a variety of people.

“It’s like a puzzle you’ve got to put together to see how the pieces best fit,” he said. “And how in the end you still are going to offer to your students the best programs in the best way possible. But everything’s going to be looked at.”

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