Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Trail Report | Today in Print | Frontpage | Services | Home RSS
 
 
 

Back in black

July 13, 2012
By STACEY KUKKONEN - DMG writer (skukkonen@mininggazette.com) , The Daily Mining Gazette

EWEN - The Ewen-Trout Creek Consolidated School District will have something to celebrate starting the school year in the fall - the district is welcoming a new superintendent and will operate with a positive fund balance for the first time in at least 10 years.

Loren Vannest started July 2 and took on the role of superintendent, principal and athletic director at the school district vacated by Paul Healey, who retired this summer.

"I actually began reporting to work voluntarily on June 20," Vannest said. "There is much to do before school opens."

One of those duties is working with the school board to keep finances in check. Vannest said he will work to assist the board with consultation aimed at eliciting the educational priorities from the community and building consensus among the stakeholders for the allocation of funding.

"I would look for, and advocate for, savings that would not have an appreciable effect on student learning," he said. "I would encourage solicitation of creative solutions from all the various stakeholders."

To make that possible, Vannest said throughout his career, he has consistently advocated and practiced complete financial transparency in school administration, an approach he said is effective during times of financial challenges.

"If personal sacrifice were called for, I would step up first," he said. "I understand many individuals have sacrificed personally for this school, community and students. I am happy to join them with a servant's attitude."

One of those sacrifices includes making sure the role of athletic director is fulfilled at the district, which he is serving for no additional compensation out of financial necessity.

"When we all share the burden of tough times, it does not have to be that onerous," he said.

Vannest's hiring comes on the heels of cuts in programming and staffing made by the board in order to work with a positive ending fund balance. For years, the district struggled with a deficit, working with deficit elimination plans submitted to the state of Michigan. In order to operate in the black, the district made tough decisions, including consolidating administrative positions, such as Vannest's role, forgoing wage and benefit increases and obtaining concession from staff, he said. The community, thanks to the help of those who fundraise tirelessly, assumed the responsibility for funding athletics.

"I was not at Ewen-Trout Creek for any of the heavy lifting," he said. "All the credit goes to my predecessors, the business manager Tammi Gibson, the school board, staff and community."

Funds that were diverted to the deficit elimination plan may now be used to enhance the educational programming, Vannest said, and the district regained some of the discretion that was taken away under the deficit elimination plan.

"I will strive to see that Ewen-Trout Creek stabilizes (financially and otherwise) and moves forward with a positive, forward-looking agenda that will continue and reestablish the great qualities this district has been long known for," he said. "The long grind out of deficit has been somewhat demoralizing for staff but a new day is dawning at Ewen-Trout Creek and I hope to play a part in reenergizing the district. I intend to steer a conservative fiscal course that insures Ewen-Trout Creek does not return to a deficit situation."

First thing on the job, Vannest is working on a revised high school schedule which will lower pupil-to-teacher ratios, institute a college track in the core subject areas and increased elective options, especially for the upper-level grades. If enacted, Vannest said he feels the district will secure a competitive advantage in the bid for schools-of-choice students.

"Ewen-Trout Creek has some great personnel resources and quality program traditions," he said. "I believe we can market this school as a quality school with the small-school family friendly atmosphere."

Vannest comes to the district from White Shield, N.D., where he was superintendent at White Shield Schools. He was previously superintendent at the Harbor LIght Christian School in downstate Harbor Springs; K-12 principal and athletic director at Superior Central Schools in Eben Junction; high school, middle school principal and building administrator at North Adams-Jerome Jr./Sr. High School in North Adams, Mich.; and a teacher at Atlanta Jr./Sr. High Schools in Atlanta, Mich., and John I. Leonard High School in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"I have long wished to live and work at a smaller district in the western Upper Peninsula," he said. "I have a deep appreciation for God's creation and especially enjoy living surrounded by bountiful wildlife and beautiful natural landscapes."

Vannest attended Northwestern Michigan College in downstate Traverse City and graduated from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo with a bachelor of science. He earned a master of arts in secondary school administration from Central Michigan University in downstate Mount Pleasant, and completed post-masters coursework in school administration at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D., Central Michigan University, Northern Michigan University in Marquette and Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Mich.

"I am excited to arrive at Ewen-Trout Creek at this time of resurgence," he said. "The tough sledding appears to be behind Ewen-Trout Creek at this point, and the possibilities for a new day abound."

"I would encourage solicitation of creative solutions from all the various stakeholders."

To make that possible, Vannest said throughout his career, he has consistently advocated and practiced complete financial transparency in school administration, an approach he said is effective during times of financial challenges.

"If personal sacrifice were called for, I would step up first," he said. "I understand many individuals have sacrificed personally for this school, community and students. I am happy to join them with a servant's attitude."

One of those sacrifices includes making sure the role of athletic director is fulfilled at the district, which he is serving for no additional compensation out of financial necessity.

"When we all share the burden of tough times, it does not have to be that onerous," he said.

Vannest's hiring comes on the heels of cuts in programming and staffing made by the board in order to work with a positive ending fund balance. For years, the district struggled with a deficit, working with deficit elimination plans submitted to the state of Michigan. In order to operate in the black, the district made tough decisions, including consolidating administrative positions, such as Vannest's role, forgoing wage and benefit increases and obtaining concessions from staff, he said. The community, thanks to the help of those who fundraise tirelessly, assumed the responsibility for funding athletics.

"I was not at Ewen-Trout Creek for any of the heavy lifting," he said. "All the credit goes to my predecessors, the business manager Tammi Gibson, the school board, staff and community."

Funds that were diverted to the deficit elimination plan may now be used to enhance educational programming, Vannest said, and the district regained some of the discretion taken away under the deficit elimination plan.

"I will strive to see that Ewen-Trout Creek stabilizes (financially and otherwise) and moves forward with a positive, forward-looking agenda that will continue and re-establish the great qualities this district has been long known for," he said. "The long grind out of deficit has been somewhat demoralizing for staff but a new day is dawning at Ewen-Trout Creek and I hope to play a part in reenergizing the district. I intend to steer a conservative fiscal course that insures Ewen-Trout Creek does not return to a deficit situation."

Vannest is working on a revised high school schedule which will lower pupil-to-teacher ratios, institute a college track in the core subject areas and increased elective options, especially for the upper-level grades. If enacted, Vannest said he feels the district will secure a competitive advantage in the bid for schools-of-choice students.

"Ewen-Trout Creek has some great personnel resources and quality program traditions," he said. "I believe we can market this school as a quality school with the small-school family friendly atmosphere."

Vannest comes to the district from White Shield, N.D., where he was superintendent at White Shield Schools. He was previously superintendent at the Harbor Light Christian School in downstate Harbor Springs; K-12 principal and athletic director at Superior Central School in Eben Junction; high school, middle school principal and building administrator at North Adams-Jerome Junior/Senior High School in North Adams, Mich.; and a teacher at Atlanta Junior/Senior High School in Atlanta, Mich., and John I. Leonard High School in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"I have long wished to live and work at a smaller district in the western Upper Peninsula," he said. "I have a deep appreciation for God's creation and especially enjoy living surrounded by bountiful wildlife and beautiful natural landscapes."

Vannest attended Northwestern Michigan College in downstate Traverse City and graduated from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo with a bachelor of science. He earned a master of arts in secondary school administration from Central Michigan University in downstate Mount Pleasant, and completed post-master's coursework in school administration at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D., Central Michigan University, Northern Michigan University in Marquette and Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Mich.

"I am excited to arrive at Ewen-Trout Creek at this time of resurgence," he said. "The tough sledding appears to be behind Ewen-Trout Creek at this point, and the possibilities for a new day abound."

 
 

 

I am looking for:
in:
News, Blogs & Events Web