UPDATE: Lansing schools moving forward on superintendent search

Published: Oct. 29, 2019 at 4:45 PM EDT
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About a week after our investigation into a candidate for superintendent of Lansing Schools, questions are being raised about the search process for the district's top job.

Some are calling for a nationwide search for the person to lead the region's largest school district.

When a superintendent leaves, the board takes over to determine what the process will look like. Right now, Lansing School District Board is doing just that, but they have determined the search will be internal.

It was on July 29th when Yvonne Caamal-Canul left her position as Lansing School District's Superintendent. She had been with the district since 2012.

"We really appreciate that she stuck with us. There were a lot of challenging times. And we support her decision to resign early," Lansing School Board President Rachel Willis said when Caamal-Canul left the position.

When Caamal Canuul left, Mark Coscarella, who was deputy super at the time, would take over the top spot until a permanent superintendent is chosen. Just last month, the school board voted to do an internal search with the help of an outside source.

"We definitely will be involving a third-party to support us in that," Willis added.

But this is not sitting well with people who want to see a larger-scale search, especially after

of Coscarella's alleged inappropriate behavior towards a former student teacher and claims that he provided pornography to underage boys on his baseball team in Holt.

"So you've got a gentleman that has allowed high school kids to watch pornography and now you've made him assistant superintendent? No. I'm sure there's better. I'm sure there's better," Cherly Brand said.

Brand, who worked in Lansing Schools, wants the search to be nationwide and thorough. She is confused as to why there is not a nationwide search.

"Why isn't there this national search going on now? Why aren't they starting that now?" she said.

The Lansing School District is looking for a permanent superintendent after the Lansing School District Board of Education agreed to Acting Superintendent Mark Coscarella’s request to be placed on voluntary paid non-disciplinary administrative leave until further notice while a full and fair investigation and search to replace retiring superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul is completed.

Coscarella worked with several local districts, including Lansing, Holt and St. Johns. He says he believes he is the right fit for Lansing schools.

"You know Lansing is on a great path and I want to continue on that path. Yvonne did a fabulous job of setting the foundation and actually building many of the floors of that foundation so I want to keep us moving forward on that," he said in an interview with News 10 on Oct. 16th.

We reached out to Lansing schools for an interview with any of the board members. Board President Rachel Willis sent a statement saying the board is moving forward with the search with the help of the Michigan Association of School Boards. She added they will review all claims with the help of a third-party investigator.

When our story first aired last week, Mark Coscarella denied the allegations. On Tuesday, he sent the following statement:

"I am angered by the false allegations that Ms. Sterle has made against me in reference to my time as her mentor teacher. They are absolutely not true. Since I was first made aware of her report, I have vehemently stated that the incident did not happen. Details of her story were proven to be false almost twenty years ago. My wife and I have retained an attorney to pursue all available legal options."

Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved.

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