TECUMSEH, MI (WTOL) - It was an emotional school board meeting in Tecumseh Wednesday night.
"Tell me how to trust you now after not responding to me? I would like to know how to trust you now," asked one resident of the board.
During the meeting, the Tecumseh School Board asked the full room to come together so they can move forward as a district for their students. This after they unanimously approved a separation agreement with their Superintendent Doctor Kelly Coffin.
There are people on both sides of the issue. Some supporting the outgoing superintendent and other who are calling for their neighbors to support the newly seated school board.
One thing they all agreed on is that they must move past this division.
There were tears, cheers and more at Wednesday’s Tecumseh School Board meeting. Several community members stood up to speak out in support of Dr. Kelly Coffin despite her official separation from the district.
“She earned my respect, she worked harder than any superintendent I’ve ever worked with,” said Kim Amstutz-Wild, a former board member and resident. “We all owe her a great deal of thanks for putting our kids in the right direction."
”What is going to happen to us? We have lost our leader," questioned Rochelle Johnson a Tecumseh teacher.
School board leaders say they can’t explain why Dr. Coffin and the board are separating, but that it was a mutual agreement. WTOL asked the president if it had to do with the project based learning Dr. Coffin introduced to the district and he said it started with that.
Parents debated the new way of learning versus how the district previously educated their kids.
“Every kid learns different and I don’t care what you call it just you can’t put every kid in a box,” said Jamie Honoway, mother of two children at Tecumseh.
"It's offensive when people say you want to go back to the stone age or traditional age,” explained Carol Martinez, a Tecumseh parent. “We don't want to do that we just want to have whatever they need to make them successful be given to them."
Some teachers admit they have trust issues with the new board and fear for their jobs.
“I’m going to implore you again to tell me at your convince how you are going to support us, (teachers) that would like to continue our work, because nothing I have heard from you has been positive or thankful for what we do,” said Rochelle Johnson, a Tecumseh teacher.
District leaders say they are currently forming several committees made up of parents, community members, teachers and more to address their concerns within the schools.
At Wednesday’s meeting both the board president and one of the acting interim superintendents promised to make adjustments that will move their students forward. They say they won’t erase what’s been done, but adjust their education plan so it works for everyone.
“We’re not going to scrap everything,” said Tecumseh School Board President Tim Simpson. “We’re going to look to the parents with these committees and the teachers. So we are going to get all their input, see what’s working, what’s not working and let’s make it better for everyone."
”The important thing right now is people do not need to fear,” said interim co-superintendent Ryan Rhoades. “They do not need to worry about their jobs, they do not need to worry about what is tomorrow going to bring, we have a team, we have excellent team. We’re going to work on putting that team back together."
Parents, teachers and neighbors say they will be looking to hold the district’s leaders accountable to their promises.
“I do hope that the board is going to stay faithful to what they’re saying today,” said Megan McLemore, a Tecumseh school of choice parent. “We will be holding accountable because I don’t get a voice as a school of choice parent, but I will stand here as a parent and say hey you’re now saying stuff for my kids too.”
The school board president, Tim Simpson, said they will hire a company to begin the search for a new superintendent.
He said they are looking for someone who can listen to all sides and bring their community back together once again.