Interim TCAPS Superintendent Pavelka takes over

Oct 18, 2019

Jim Pavelka takes over as interim superintendent of TCAPS Friday.
Credit Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

After weeks of tense meetings, bad blood and tumult on the Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education, the district has a new — albeit interim — Superintendent in Jim Pavelka. He held a short meeting with reporters Friday morning.

Pavelka said School Board President Sue Kelly reached out to him Thursday afternoon, shortly before a board meeting in which previous Superintendent Ann Cardon formally resigned.

Kelly met Pavelka at his home in Traverse City and asked him to serve as the interim superintendent while the board finds a permanate replacement. 

"This is a world-class school district, I was so proud to be a part of that school district, and they needed a superintendent, I said I'll do it," Pavelka said.

Pavelka added that he's still catching up on district business and couldn't comment on previous superintedent Ann Cardon's departure. He hasn't spoken to her, but says he will if she reaches out.

"There's an awful lot of people that disagree with a decision that was made," Pavelka said. "I can't fix what happened yesterday, the day before, five years ago. I can have an impact on the future and that's why I'm here."

Pavelka doesn't know how long he will serve as interim superintedent. He plans to tour the district and meet students, parents, teachers and school board members over the next few weeks.

Pavelka has worked in public education in Michigan for decades and served as TCAPS superintendent before retiring in 2005.

Signs like this have been placed around Traverse City in the past few days.
Credit Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

He is taking over a district that is still in rough waters. There have been calls for several board members, including Sue Kelly, to resign over their handling of Cardon's departure. A Facebook group called "TCAPS Board of Education Recall Planning" was created Thursday. An admin of the page says it is devoted to "recall members of the current Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education."