Mat McRae has worked as Swan Valley School District’s superintendent since July, and he now officially has the job.
The Swan Valley School District Board of Education voted unanimously to hire McRae on Thursday, Dec. 19.
David Moore, the district’s previous superintendent, left in the summer to pursue the superintendent job in Corunna schools.
“He’s done a very good job,” said Jim Stevenson, Board of Education president, of McRae.
McRae previously served as the Swan Valley High School principal for nine years and has worked in the high school for 18 years.
The Arthur Hill High School graduate said he was surprised the board hired him permanently but is excited to take on the challenge.
“I went into this thinking, ‘I want to do the job that needs to be done,’ ” he said. “Once I got into the daily grind with the job, it was rather exciting in terms of what I might be able to do along with the rest of the leadership team to move us forward.”
McRae said Swan Valley is an outstanding school district, and he wants to continue the tradition of excellence.
The board and principals have been analyzing the district’s enrollment projections and marketing plan to maintain the student population and provide resources for students.
Swan Valley School District, west of Saginaw, has 1,771 students.
The district passed an $11.6 million technology bond in May, McRae said, and is now in the first year of implementing upgrades to computers and classrooms.
“We’re going to do some great things. We have an outstanding teaching staff,” he said. “It is pretty exciting to be leading our ship in the right direction.”
Stevenson said it’s nice to have a leader who knows the district, its students and families.
“He has Viking blood in him. He works tirelessly to be the best,” Stevenson said.
The board decided not to conduct a search and used the past five months to evaluate McRae, Stevenson said, and added the board did its due diligence in the process.
The district has had to move several school leaders around after Moore’s departure.
Swan Valley Middle School Principal Craig Blower is the interim high school principal this year, and Brad Erlenbeck is the interim principal at the middle school. It’s up to McRae to permanently fill those jobs, Stevenson said, but he won’t make changes during the school year.
“We have great leadership in all of our buildings, and that’s what makes us a good school district,” Stevenson said.