District seeks new direction for Brandon Academy

By Susan Bromley

Staff Writer

Brandon Twp.- The district is looking for a new director for the Brandon Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In a letter to BAAS parents dated April 20, Superintendent Matt Outlaw wrote, “In any school, but especially in a small and tightknit school like BAAS, consistency in personnel is very important. Unfortunately, there are times when a change is required. With this in mind, I regret to inform you that Marilyn Campbell has been released from her position as the director of the Brandon Academy of Arts and Sciences. While I know that this will come as a surprise and you may want more information than what can be provided, the district would ask that you respect her privacy on this matter.”

Campbell was a contracted employee in the district, working directly for Professional Contract Management, Inc. (PCMI) which often provides retired school employees to districts. Outlaw said Monday the district severed their contract with PCMI for Campbell, but continues to contract with PCMI for other employees in the district.  “We are in the process of looking for a new director for the Brandon Academy of Arts and Sciences to begin work next fall,” said Outlaw, declining to comment further on Campbell. “We posted the position this morning (May 9). All other employees of the Brandon Academy, we’re hoping all are coming back. The rest of the staff remains intact. We really want to improve the academy and make it even better.”

Kristy Spann, executive director of educational services for the district, is interim director of the academy.

The Brandon Academy of Arts and Sciences opened in 2013 in the H.T. Burt building after Campbell approached then-Superintendent Lorrie McMahon seeking a home for about 30 students from the Good Shepherd Lutheran School in Lake Orion who were “going in a different direction.”

The school board approved the plan and McMahon said the academy was a “school within a school” featuring small class sizes and mixed grade levels from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Campbell, who had more than 40 years experience in education, also brought three teachers with her, all certified and “highly qualified” and accepting step 1 pay levels, the entry level salary for teachers in the district.

The Brandon Academy was approved as a 1-year pilot program and was to be completely self-funded and achieved that with more than 30 students enrolled the first year. In the second year, the academy enrolled 89 students, and this year, reached 100 students.

Under new leadership, Outlaw hopes to see an academy that focuses on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics). The academy, he adds, needs to be different from Oakwood and Harvey Swanson elementaries, with a unique approach.

The district will accept applications for the position through May 20.

“We are looking for someone that is able to understand what has been good about the academy in the past, but with a vision of how to improve in the future. That person should be kid-centered, strong instructionally and a strong communicator with staff and parents.”

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