Kalamazoo schools leader chosen as state superintendent

LANSING– Michigan’s Board of Education on Tuesday chose Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Michael Rice to lead the Department of Education, citing his track record of closing the “achievement gap” for minority students and his experience as an educator both in and outside the state.
Rice, 56, won the state superintendent job on a 5-3 vote. The board conducted closing interviews with him and two other finalists before making the decision.
Casandra Ulbrich, the board president, pointed to Rice’s “stellar reputation” in Michigan.
“The combination of his experience and how well he did in the interviews really kind of put him a step above,” she said.
The other final candidates were Randy Liepa, the superintendent of the Wayne Regional Educational Service Agency who won support from three board members, and Jeanice Swift, the superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools.
Rice has led the Kalamazoo district for a dozen years. He previously was superintendent of district in New Jersey.