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Education is a big issue in northern Michigan, whether we're reporting on school funding issues to breakthroughs in the classroom.

Final 2 candidates to interview for TCAPS superintendent

Taylor Wizner

The Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education narrowed their list of superintendent candidates Monday night.

The board picked two educators to go forward to the final round of interviews. John VanWagoner and Denise Herrmann, the two finalists, are both currently superintendents at other districts.

VanWagoner is the superintendent of Alpena Public Schools. TCAPS Board President Sue Kelly complimented his energy and confidence.

“His interview knocked my socks off,” Kelly said of VanWagoner. “He met my expectations or even exceeded them.”

Herrmann, superintendent of Roseville Joint Union High School District in California, was popular with several board members.

“She’s gonna be making connections out in the community,” Board Member Erica Moon Mohr said. “She’s going to be building these relationships to help her within our community.”

Current TCAPS Associate Superintendent Jame McCall was eliminated from the final list of candidates. Mohr said McCall, who some critics say had a role in former Superintendent Ann Cardon’s departure, isn’t supported in the community. Mohr said she got dozens of emails from people in the district that are opposed to McCall getting the job.

“It’s been a very divided community, I believe Jame is very dedicated to TCAPS, but I honestly believe that now is not the time for her to lead our district,” Mohr said. “I believe we need to have somebody new that can bring this community together and to heal.”

Last fall, Cardon resigned as superintendent less than three months into the job. The board hasn’t provided the exact reason for her departure.

The district will set a date for final, in-person interviews of both VanWagoner and Herrmann for after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's "stay at home" order is lifted.

Max came to IPR in 2017 as an environmental intern. In 2018, he returned to the station as a reporter and quickly took on leadership roles as Interim News Director and eventually Assignment Editor. Before joining IPR, Max worked as a news director and reporter at Michigan State University's student radio station WDBM. In 2018, he reported on a Title IX dispute with MSU in his story "Prompt, Thorough and Impartial." His work has also been heard on Michigan Radio, WDBM and WKAR in East Lansing and NPR.