By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — The Crestwood School Board unanimously voted to appoint Youssef Mosallam its next superintendent of the district at an Oct. 9 special meeting.
The board chose Mosallam over the other finalist, Roseville High School Principal Patrick Adams.
The board next will have to agree on a contract with Mosallam which Crestwood President Donna Ancinec takes point on by sending a draft for his review and, if needed, a discussion.
Ancinec called Mosallam shortly after the board made its decision in a room filled with community members, residents and parents who cheered as the board voted.
He accepted the appointment and said, “That is phenomenal news. Oh my gosh. I’m so excited. Again, I am so honored and privileged to be part of the team.
“I am looking forward to our future together and I will be looking forward to seeing the contract and having further discussion and getting started. Like we mentioned in the interviews, take Crestwood to the next level as one team.”
Mosallam currently is Dearborn Public Schools Community Partnerships, Career and College Readiness Achievement executive director and served as the DPS executive director of Student Achievement from 2015 to 2018.
He has a bachelor’s in education from Wayne State University, a master’s in public administration from University of Michigan-Dearborn, education specialist certification from WSU, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from WSU, according to his resume.
Ancinec addressed the community by saying the board extends its thanks to them as they have been there through the whole process and told the board how they felt.
“We got the message and I appreciate everyone that comes to every meeting to make sure things are going the way they want,” Ancinec said. “I hope that we can move forward together understanding that we’re all in the same district, we’re all Chargers, we’re all one family and we need to put our differences aside and join each other and do what’s best for our kids — that’s why we’re all here.”
DPS Trustee Hussein Berry spoke at the special meeting and said Mosallam’s appointment is a huge loss to Dearborn, but a “great gain” for Crestwood.
“I know what this man can do,” Berry told the board. “I watched him at Fordson High School, at Ten Eyck central office, with Edsel Ford High School kids and with the principals working.
“He’s the real deal. Not the last meeting, the meeting before I was sitting in this chair and there was a gentleman siting next to me and he said, ‘Did they give him the questions before so he could study them?’ I said, ‘No. The man is talking about his life.’ What he told you is the truth.”
Crestwood Trustee Nadia Berry praised the board’s ability to come to a consensus and pick the right candidate.
“We are very lucky. I am so excited about what the future holds for this district,” she said. “We’re going to a new level. This is just like a dream come true for all of us so, thank you to everyone who supports us. Thank you for being here and please continue to be here because we need you.”
The board hired the Michigan Leadership Institute to conduct the search for a new superintendent with Regional President for Southeast Michigan John Silveri spearheading.
Ancinec thanked Silveri for his support and guidance throughout the process, pointing out his quick responses to emails, phone calls or questions the board had.
The search began in July for a new superintendent when former Supt. Laurine VanValkenburg retired. Crestwood Director of Curriculum & Instruction Richard Klee has been serving as interim superintendent during the three-month search process, while also holding his current position.
Meetings were held with the community and staff to develop and finalize a candidate profile, applications were accepted, applicants were screened and narrowed down to four then two.
Nov. 4 was the target date to have a new superintendent hired and working his first official day, according to the board’s superintendent search timeline.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])