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Superintendent Search

"The superintendent plays a pivotal role in shaping the educational landscape of our community. We aim to find an individual who not only possesses the necessary skills and qualifications but also embodies the values that make our district exceptional." 

Michelle Bueltel, Board of Education president

Welcome Superintendent Nicholas Russo

The Board of Education of the Rochester Community School District voted on Monday, April 8, to approve the superintendent contract for Nicholas Russo.

Mr. Russo will begin his term as superintendent on Monday, July 1, 2024.

“As an experienced teacher, principal and executive administrator, Mr. Russo has a demonstrated track record of excellence. Through a steadfast commitment to serving all RCS students, a passionate approach to building relationships, an intentional focus on business operations, and an emphasis on our strategic plan, we are confident that Mr. Russo can lead our district to new heights,” said Michelle Bueltel, board president.

Mr. Russo brings over 26 years of educational leadership experience to Rochester Community Schools. Prior positions include serving as the assistant superintendent of human resources at Walled Lake Consolidated Schools, principal of Conant Elementary in the Bloomfield Hills School District, and principal of Beacon Tree and Jack Harvey Elementary in the Utica Community School District.

Mr. Russo earned an educational specialist degree in executive leadership from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Wayne State University and a bachelor’s degree in education from Michigan State University. He is a graduate of the Michigan Leadership Institute’s SUPES Academy and holds a Michigan Central Office certificate, among others.  

Mr. Russo states that his leadership approach “prioritizes collaboration, inclusivity and responsiveness to the needs of students and the community,” and he is committed to “fostering environments where both students and staff can thrive, advocating strongly for inclusion and equal access for all.”

"I am deeply honored and excited to lead a teaching and learning community that values tradition, student achievement and excellence. Working alongside dedicated Rochester Community School District teachers, administrators, staff, parents, caregivers and community partners is an incredible opportunity,” said Russo. “Together, we can build strong relationships that lay the foundation for student success.”

Search firm presentations and interviews 

Community Forum 4.1.2024

Superintendent candidate impression - links to surveys

Community members are invited to provide feedback following the April 1, 2024, candidate forum with the three superintendent finalists. Click on the link or follow the QR code to access the impression form. Please complete the survey three times, one for each candidate. The survey will close on Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

Candidate selection and interviews, round two

During a special meeting on Tuesday, March 19, the board of education narrowed the interview process to three candidates, Dr. Stephen Bigelow, Nicholas Russo, and Dr. Carrie Wozniak. Please click on the candidate's name to view their 90-day plan. Dr. Wozniak also provided an additional letter with links to information.

Candidate questions from community members

A community forum with the superintendent finalists is scheduled to be held on Monday, April 1, 2024, at 4 p.m. at Adams High School. The forum question and answer session will be moderated by Ray and Associates with all finalists being asked the same questions to ensure consistency.

Community members are invited to submit one question to be asked of the candidates using the links below. Due to time constraints, questions may be combined and all questions may not be asked. The deadline for suggesting a question is 5p.m. EST on Sunday, March 24, 2024.

Suggested Finalist Question Survey (English):

Suggested Finalist Question Survey (Spanish):

Suggested Finalist Question Survey (Korean):

Suggested Finalist Question Survey (Portuguese):

Suggested Finalist Question Survey (Chinese):

Suggested Finalist Question Survey (Telugu):

Candidate selection and interviews, round one

During a special meeting on Monday, March 4, the board selected four highly qualified candidates for initial interviews from a total of 20 applicants: Dr. Stephen Bigelow, superintendent of Bay City Public Schools; David Rice, assistant superintendent of Roseville Public Schools; Nicholas Russo, assistant superintendent of human resources in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District; and Dr. Carrie Wozniak, superintendent of Fraser Public Schools.
Bigelow and Rice interviews are scheduled for March 18, at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively. Russo and Wozniak interviews are scheduled for Tuesday, March 19 at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively. All interviews will take place in the Reuther Middle School media center, 1430 E. Auburn Road in Rochester Hills. The interviews are open to the public and will be recorded and posted on the district's website.
Immediately following the final interview on March 19, the board will meet to identify the candidates who will be invited to return to the district. On April 1, the selected candidates will participate in a tour of the schools, community forum and final interview with board members.

Essential leadership qualities 

During the comprehensive applicant review process, the board prioritized 11 qualities that align with the district’s vision and goals and have been determined to be essential for the district's future success. The qualities are:
  • Promotes a positive and professional environment that includes mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, administrators and the board
  • Is willing to listen to input, but is a decision maker
  • Is a strong communicator in speaking, listening and writing
  • Possesses the leadership skills, knowledge and sensitivity required to respond to the opportunities and challenges presented by a diverse student body and community
  • Is strongly committed to a “student centered” philosophy in all decisions
  • Has a strong moral compass that is rooted in justice and equality
  • Has classroom experience in a K-12 setting
  • Has experience with effective management and planning practices that will benefit the long-term financial health of the district
  • Is able to delegate and oversee the work of staff (i.e. leading by example) and appropriately maintain accountability
  • Is able to build consensus and commitment among individuals and groups
  • Possesses the ability to enhance student performance, especially in identifying and narrowing the gaps in student achievement and opportunity


On Nov. 6, 2023, during a special meeting, the RCS Board of Education selected Ray & Associates to assist with the process of searching for the district's next superintendent.

The process for searching for a new superintendent includes opportunities for stakeholder engagement, which is followed by a position posting, selection of applicants, interviews, and ultimately the selection of the best person to lead Rochester Community Schools into the future.

The goal will be to begin the 2024-25 school year with long-term leadership in place at the superintendent level.

Search firm presentations and interviews

BOE special meeting, Nov. 6, 2023

Superintendent search process and timeline

Qualities Survey 

The community was invited to carefully review a list of qualities provided and share their thoughts on which qualities they believe are crucial for the next superintendent. Surveys were to be completed by 8 a.m. on Jan. 15, 2024, and were available in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, and Telugu.