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GPPSS Superintendent steps down

Photo Credit: Dr. Michael Jon Dean

Grosse Pointe Public Schools Superintendent Jon Dean steps down after two years of occupying the position. This comes after months of deeply divided School Board meetings and actions, and the increase in teacher resignations.

On Wednesday, August 23, after a special closed meeting, it was announced that Dean would step down as Superintendent to become a consultant to the district for the 2023-2024 school year, and will formally retire June 2024. Former Grosse Pointe Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Chris Fenton will be appointed Interim Superintendent if the School Board and Fenton can negotiate an agreement.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as Superintendent of the Grosse Pointe Public School System,’’ Dean said in a press release from Grosse Pointe Schools. ‘‘I am immensely proud of the progress we have made together during my tenure.’’

Dean took the position as Superintendent in May of 2021, after being the Deputy Superintendent of the district since 2012. He has worked as an educator since 1992, getting a doctorate from Wayne State University and a degree from Saginaw Valley State University. He went on to be a math teacher at Osborn High School in Detroit, and served in several districts around the Detroit area.

‘‘Some of my closest friends are the people I’ve worked with in GPPSS. We’ve all been through so much. At times it has been joyful. At times it has been tearful,’’ Dean said in an email sent out to the GPPSS Staff. ‘‘You (GPPSS Staff) have made this place special for me and you will continue to make this a special place for our students.’’

This announcement follows the resignation of other administrators: Rebbeca Fannon, the district’s Head of Communications, Daniel Hartley, Director of Secondary Instruction, Stefanie Hayes, Director of Student Services and Amanda Matheson, Deputy Superintendent of Business Services.

“We are deeply appreciative of Superintendent Dean’s contributions to the Grosse Pointe Public School System,” said Ahmed Ismail, President of the Board of Education. “His decision to continue working with us in a consulting capacity reflects his unwavering commitment to our school system’s mission and goals. We are confident that his continued involvement will be a tremendous asset to our district during this transition period.”

Since the 2022 School Board elections last fall, many parents have been concerned about the future of the district. These concerns have only been elevated after the Superintendent’s announcement and administrator resignations. Chris Eschenburg has lived in Grosse Pointe for over 45 years and has a freshman and junior at Grosse Pointe South.
‘‘The timing of this is terrible, it’s a week before school. It feels like this big of a decision is something that has been thought about for a bit of time,’’ Eschenburg said. ‘‘It would have been nice to have given the district a bit of a jump start to find his replacement.’’

The Superintendent’s announcement comes less than two weeks before the first day of school leaving the community deeply concerned for the school year.

‘‘There is a divide within the Board. There is a divide between the Board and the administration, and I feel there is a divide between the Board, the administration and the community,’’ Eschenburg said. ‘‘And there is a divide within the community itself, it feels very unsettled.’’

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Julia Roeder '25
Julia Roeder '25, Supervising Web Editor
Whether it’s The Rolling Stone, Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, or Tyler the Creator, Julia Roeder ’25 is guaranteed to have seen them in concert. All eyes envy her as she walks into the journalism classroom wearing merchandise she bought from the concert the night before. When she’s not listening to her favorite artists, she spends most of her time jamming out on her own guitar, being your average aspiring popstar. Besides her still-amounting popstar career, Roeder is also the Supervising Web Editor of The Tower. This is Roeder’s second year on staff and she is looking forward to continuing her role and being involved in the community and school. “I love Tower because you’re informing the community of what’s going on and also getting to know people on staff,” Roeder said.

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