MASON — Mason Public Schools Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki is retiring after eight years at the helm of the district.
In an email to Mason Public Schools families on Tuesday, Drzewicki, 58, announced his intention to retire effective Sept. 1, ending a 35-year career in education. Drzewicki was appointed superintendent in 2014 after serving in the same position at White Pigeon Community Schools in Southwest Michigan for six years.
“As we reflect on the past eight years, we have been able to work in partnership to create an exemplary learning community for our students and staff,” Drzewicki wrote. “Mason Public Schools is fortunate to have a dedicated staff, who continue to do their best every day to meet the needs of students and each other. I am confident that the district will be in good hands for years to come thanks to our team and the support of the Mason community.
He notified the Mason Board of Education of his intention to retire on Monday, according to a district press release. The board will begin searching for a new superintendent while Drzewicki wraps up the school year.
Before his term ends, Drzewicki hopes to continue ongoing work within the school district, including completing major renovations at Mason’s Steele Elementary School. In February 2021, bids of $13.5 million were approved, allowing more than a dozen contractors to begin work on the school, including demolishing part of the building, constructing an addition, increased classroom space and improved mechanical, electrical and air circulation.
The project is expected to be completed this fall.
Drzewicki said he was especially proud of the district’s construction achievements, which also include new tennis courts, a robotics center and additional renovations funded by a $69.7 million bond and sinking fund. .
“This is all happening thanks to the support of the community,” he said.
Also during Drzewicki’s tenure, Alaiedon Elementary was named a 2021 U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School, the only school in Central Michigan to achieve this recognition. The success of Alaiedon students on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP, was factored into the award. Students in grades three through five scored above the five-year state averages in all four categories of the test: English, math, science and social studies.
Drzewicki replaced Mark Dillingham as superintendent, who resigned after taking over the post in 2010.
Prior to serving as superintendent at Mason and White Pigeon, Drzewicki was principal of Coldwater Community Schools and a teacher at Vandercook Lake Public Schools.
He is leaving Mason Schools during an unprecedented time in education. For the past two years, Drzewicki has overseen the district’s COVID-19 response, working with leaders on decisions ranging from switching to remote learning and repealing mask mandates.
The debate over mask mandates alone has been heated in Mason, causing a school board member to resign.
“It asks a lot of you,” he said of the past two years.
The district also drew the ire of parents who said its diversity committee was too slow to address race issues at school. A teacher at North Aurelius Elementary School resigned in February 2021 after alleging she had been reprimanded for his lessons on race in the wake of the George Floyd protests.
However, Drzewicki cites the 2018 creation of the diversity committee as a highlight of his career at Mason.
Since its inception, the committee has held diversity-focused professional development sessions and assisted staff with film and literary studies. On March 12, the DEI committee is sponsoring Mason Moves Forward, an event focused on “strengthening our inclusiveness,” according to its website. The event will include guest presentations by former Michigan State University basketball player Joshua Langford and diversity consultant Karlin Tichenor, as well as a ceremony for the winners of a contest essay on diversity.
“I’m very proud of the work we’ve done on diversity, equity and inclusion, and I look forward to building on the momentum of our diversity committee over the coming months,” Drzewicki said in an interview. Wednesday. “It’s very important to me as we finish.”
He has no immediate plans after retirement other than working on his golf game.
“I believe I was able to make positive changes in teaching and learning and certainly make positive changes in Mason,” Drzewicki said. “I’ve personally come to the point that it’s time to move on to a different phase and maybe new opportunities and new challenges.”