The East Lansing Board of Education indicated Monday night that they are currently negotiating a contract that would move the Acting Superintendent Dori Leyko into a permanent position.
Board President Nell Kuhnmuench said a motion to approve the hire would be voted on in a future Board meeting, but she wanted to let the public know that they were hoping to promote Leyko, who is also serving as Curriculum Director, to superintendent.
“Based on Dori Leyko’s performance, there is interest in offering her a contract for her to remain as superintendent,” Kuhnmuench said. “I want to let the public be aware that we are moving forward.”
On June 30, the current contract with Superintendent Robyne Thompson will expire. Thompson resigned from the District in January after serving less than three years in the position. The District will pay her more than $11,500 a month through June. Her salary was $138,690 a year.
All Board trustees spoke up in favor of retaining Leyko, who has also served as principal of Marble Elementary.
“I’ve seen great leadership, a real willingness to listen and learn and also push back at times,” said Trustee Erin Graham. “Many of us have heard the whispers in the community of ‘Please keep Dori’ so the support is out there as well for you to stay on.”
Many commended her for stepping up after Thompson’s abrupt departure and for her successful campaign to secure the passage of the community bond proposal.
In addition, she has the trust of the staff, which improves the “tone and vibe” of the District, which positively affects students, said Trustee Hillary Henderson.
Also Monday, a group of parents created an online petition to ask the Board to retain Leyko as the superintendent.
“Dori Leyko is supremely qualified to serve as the Superintendent of the East Lansing Public School District,” the petition at www.change.org reads. “As former Marble principal and current director of curriculum/acting superintendent, Dori understands how our district operates and she works well with staff and the community. If we can avoid a large scale search and save the district money, why wouldn’t we hire from within?”
“We would love to see her in this leadership role as our district rebuilds our elementary schools. She understands the bond and process and we believe she is the best person for the job. Above all, Dori is invested in this community!”
Tali Hylen created the petition and said she made sure Leyko wanted to job before she created the petition.
“I feel she would be excellent in this role,” Hylen said.
As of 9 p.m. Monday night, the petition had 25 signatures with a goal of 100 signatures. Many of those signing left messages of support for Leyko.
“Ms. Leyko is supremely qualified to be the East Lansing Public School superintendent and I hope she is given the chance. We cannot waste time looking for someone who isn't as invested as Ms. Leyko. She understands the inner workings of the system and the board and I believe she will keep her word as far as the bond money goes. We need her and her pleasant and attitude and desire to help all students. She is great!” wrote Jen Chenault. Among those signing is Meridian Township Trustee Dan Opsommer who said “Dori is doing a fabulous job!”
At the very end of the board meeting Monday night, Leyko asked the Board if it was appropriate to post the job of Curriculum Director as she would not like to continue in both positions.
The answer: “How about tomorrow?” said Boardmember Yasmina Bouraoui.