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BCS Narrows Principal Search to 2, Parents Invited to Community Forum

Principals from Lake Orion and Farmington have been named finalists in the search for the next principal at the Birmingham Covington School.

And then there were two. Two candidates have been named finalists in the search for the Birmingham Covington School's (BCS) next principal, and parents are invited this week to meet those candidates and share what they're looking for in BCS's next leader.

John Bernia, principal at Lake Orion's Oakview Middle School, and Mark Morawski, principal at Farmington's Gill Elementary School, were named finalists Monday, according to a note from Birmingham Public Schools.

BCS is looking to hire a new principal after the former principal, Adam Hartley, left the district at the beginning of August, taking an assistant superintendent position with Swartz Creek Community Schools in Genessee County.

Hartley led BCS — Birmingham's combined elementary and middle school designed for students looking for a rigorous approach to science and interdisciplinary learning — for three years.

The school is currently being led in the interim by BCS assistant principal Patricia Chinn.

First look at who's vying for the top spot at BCS

Who is John Bernia and Mark Morawski? According to the district:

  • John Bernia: Bernia, 31, has spent the past 10 years with Lake Orion schools, serving as a 7th grade social studies teacher at Scripps Middle School, an assistant principal at Oakview Middle School and assistant principal at Waldon Middle School before moving into the principal job at Oakview. He earned three degrees — a bachelor's degree, master's degree and education specialist certificate — from Oakland University. He currently lives in Oxford with his wife.  
    • For more: Oakview Principal: New Job 'Like Winning the Lottery' — Oakland Township-Lake Orion Patch.
  • Mark Morawski: Morawski has served as principal of Gill Elementary since 2006 and principal of Farmington's William Grace Elementary between 2000-06. Before that, he was a 5th grade teacher at Hillside Elementary in the Farmington Public Schools district and from 1991-94, he worked as an account executive at Professional Marketer', Inc. Morawski earned his bacehlor's degree from Denison University in Granville, OH, his master's from National-Louis University in Evanston, IL and his education specialist certficate from Wayne State. Morawski is in the final phase of his doctoral program in administration and organizational studies at Wayne State.

Community forum to include presentations from candidates, meet-and-greet, Q&A

On Wednesday, the Bernia and Morawski will be at the school for a second round interviews, a meeting with staff and the communuty forum. Parents are invited to the community forum to hear from each candidate.

The BCS PTA will begin serving refreshments at 6:15 p.m. at the BCS media center. Bernia will present at 6:30 p.m. while Morawski will speak at 7:20 p.m. Duputy Superintendent Paul DeAngelis will faciliate the discussion.

Afterwards, there will be a 15-minute meet-and-greet followed by a question-and-answer session with the candidates. At the end of each session, parents will be asked to complete a feedback form to be shared with Birmingham Superintendent Daniel Nerad.

According to a note from DeAngelis sent to parents at the beginning of the school year, BCS hopes to have their new principal in place by the end of January 2013.

"You may be asking why we are not selecting a permanent candidate prior to the start of the school year," DeAngelis wrote. "We understand the importance of process and involvement of stakeholders when selecting leaders for our schools. Thus, we want to have the appropriate amount of time to be thorough."

DeAngelis also it was important the district not wait until spring to hire someone new so that the new principal has an extra semester to get to know students, staff and parents.

"The district will be entering its next strategic planning cycle in the spring of 2013, and a mid-year start will allow the principal to be actively involved in the process," DeAngelis noted.

Final recommendations for the next BCS principal will be submitted to Nerad and the Birmingham Board of Education ahead of their Dec. 4 meeting so that a final decision can be made then.

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