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Farmington Superintendent on Retirement: 'It's Time'

Sue Zurvalec, who announced she will retire in 2014, said there's one thing she won't miss about the job.

Farmington Public Schools superintendent Susan Zuravlec announced her 2014 retirement last week. Photo credit: Farmington Public Schools
Farmington Public Schools superintendent Susan Zuravlec announced her 2014 retirement last week. Photo credit: Farmington Public Schools
It wasn't the defeat this year of two Farmington Public Schools bond referendums.

It wasn't the contentious closing of schools in 2010, or the battle over the sale of Eagle Elementary School

"It's time for me and my husband to have some time together," Farmington Public Schools Supt. Susan Zurvalec said of her 2014 retirement, announced last week. 

She said she started thinking about leaving when her husband Dave retired five years ago, but felt it was too early then. Zurvalec turns 62 on her next birthday. 

Once she made the decision, "with my husband and my family", Zurvalec decided to announce it, to give the board of education plenty of time to search for a replacement and, hopefully, give her some time to help train her successor. 

"A formal transition period is really beneficial for a superintendent," she said. 

Zurvalec acknowledges the last several years have been "challenging. We have had to make some really difficult decisions." She is also proud of the accomplishments that have come during her nine-year tenure. 

"I am most proud of the staff in this district," she said. "I'm proud of them for their growth, and I'm really proud of the culture we have in this district of collaboration and leadership. We're all committed to doing what's best for kids."

Zurvalec is also proud of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, launched during her administration. A recent report showed IB, the second largest international program in Oakland County, has attracted more than 40 families to the district.

"It is a shining star and will continue to be a lighthouse for our kids and our families," she said. 

Other highlights, she said, include the new Farmington/Farmington Hills Education Foundation, which has provided thousands of dollars to teachers and programs within the district, and the development of student diversity leaders. Zurvalec said she will continue to be involved in the Minority Student Achievement Network, which will hold its national high school student conference locally in 2014. 

"Our students will be leading a lot of the programs and workshops," Zurvalec said. 

While she will most miss the people with whom she has worked over the years, there is one thing Zurvalec said she won't miss: "Late night board meetings." 
truth December 10, 2013 at 12:42 PM
after her miserable leadership and poor management decisions, taking us down the rathole of failed and unnecessary bond issues that the voters saw through, she can retire now without a transition. maybe a new, fresh start now will actually help the district
Michael Ritenour December 10, 2013 at 04:58 PM
"Truth" (the irony is palpable): It's unfortunate you cannot keep your venom to yourself and show a little dignity and grace. It appears you simply want to keep the vitriol of the elections alive for your own mean-spirited venting and entertainment, rather than try to move forward with some constructive dialog about how to deal with the issues.
Cheryl Willette December 16, 2013 at 07:23 AM
Sue Zurvalec is and has always been a remarkably effective leader. She is widely known and held in high regard, in MI and across the education world as a woman of wisdom, integrity and professionalism. Comments like the one made by "truth" are reprehensible and as far from "truth" as possible. I am saddened that Farmington is losing such a capable leader. I hope the Board can find a replacement with as much talent and credibility as we have enjoyed under Zurvalec's tenure.
TN December 16, 2013 at 03:06 PM
"Truth," I think you should resign as the "Superintendent of Boorishness."
truth December 16, 2013 at 07:38 PM
So we know how you 3 voted. What is lost and what transition is required exactly? Perhaps she did her job but, if the money is so required for the schools, as head of the district, she did not get it done. That is indisputable. If the money is not required then she wasted a lot of people's time and money. That also is indisputable. She either failed as a visionary leader to get it done or she failed by misunderstanding priorities. In business, a CEO that doesn't get it done is gone without a transition. Time for a head start. That is all I am saying. Don't need a transition--just bring in the new blood
TN December 21, 2013 at 12:13 AM
"Hi, I am truth. I railed against a bond with other naysaying philistines, and now that the superintendent of retirement age is retiring, I'm going to ridicule her for not getting it done. I am logical. You are all dumm. Long live low taxes and anti-intellectualism. "
truth December 21, 2013 at 09:29 AM
It is nice that people cannot vote against higher taxes if they do not believe an adequate case has been made for them. So, if TN would take a step back and actually read AND understand what I wrote, that might be helpful. As a person who very highly values a GREAT education, with double major and double minor undergraduate degrees and a holder of an advanced degree, I do not believe that I am an anti-intellectualist--I believe that money, taken from individuals in the form of taxes should be appropriately spent. Going back to my previous post, let us talk about accountability (maybe a foreign concept to those that just want an unlimited supply of the public's money). Again, if the money was truly needed for the schools, the superintendent FAILED TWICE to convince the community that it was required--that goes to job performance and competence. If the money was not required, then the superintendent FAILED TWICE to use judgment and not cost the community a lot of time, effort and money. The first post suggested that a transition was not required because she failed. The second post tried to dumb the concept down so TN could understand it. Apparently, it did not work.
Andy January 05, 2014 at 03:52 PM
go back to work in the real world and wont get the absurd overpaid FPS salary for doing nothing
Cheryl Willette January 05, 2014 at 04:08 PM
It's sad when people sit around looking for ways to spew their ugly and venomous feelings toward someone who has always acted professionally and in the best interests of the school district. How small and mean spirited your world must be.

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