Ashley Schwarzbek, who has been serving as acting principal for East Lansing High School (ELHS) since February, is being recommended by a search committee to the East Lansing Public Schools (ELPS) Board of Education to officially fill the position.
The decision was announced today (Tuesday) in an email written by Superintendent Dori Leyko. Schwarzbek has served as an associate principal in the district since January 2020. Prior to that, she was a teacher and restorative practices facilitator at Charlotte High School.
Schwarzbek was selected from a pool of 10 candidates, five of whom were interviewed by the hiring committee, according to the email. The hiring committee was made up of two central office administrators, two high school administrators, four high school staff members, three parent/guardians with current or incoming high school students, and three high school students.
The Board of Education will vote on the recommendation at a special meeting this week or next week. The email said the date and time of the meeting will be communicated with high school families once it is scheduled.
In 2019, ELHS’s student newspaper, Portrait, wrote a story introducing Schwarzbek after she was hired as associate principal. That article, an opinion, applauded her hiring partially due to her background in restorative justice. The full piece can be viewed on page six here.
The role opened up when former Principal Shannon Mayfield resigned in March after it was discovered he provided “fraudulent” evidence of a doctorate degree. Mayfield was in his first year in the role.
If approved, Schwarzbek will take over as principal while the school is reworking its approach to safety. After a series of large fights and a January incident where a student was seen with a gun after a basketball game, school staff, parents and students pushed administration to make the school safer. The school later presented a new school safety plan, some of which has already been put in place.
Still, school safety remains a top area of interest at Board of Education meetings during public comment as community members continue to push for further measures.