2017-08-26 / News

Bob Lohff Looks Forward To His New Role as Superintendent

By Cathryn Lien

Bob Lohff is the new superintendent of Mackinac Island Public School. He previously worked at the school from 2009 to 2012 as a physical education and health teacher and is eager to begin his new administrative role this upcoming school year. Bob Lohff is the new superintendent of Mackinac Island Public School. He previously worked at the school from 2009 to 2012 as a physical education and health teacher and is eager to begin his new administrative role this upcoming school year. Former Mackinac Island Public School health teacher and athletic director Bob Lohff has returned to the Island in a new role as superintendent, to oversee a staff of nine teachers and an expected 67 students for the 2017-2018 academic year.

“We’re thrilled to be back on Mackinac Island,” Mr. Lohff said on behalf of his wife, Katie, and two children, Steven, 7, and Molly, 3.

Mr. Lohff and his family moved to the Island in June. He replaces David Waaso, who retired as superintendent at the end of the last school year, and says he and his family are happily settling into their new home and community before school starts in September.

While the official Michigan enrollment count is held after the school year begins, Mr. Lohff expects to have 30 students in the Island school’s elementary grades and 37 in secondary school. His staff will be comprised of four elementary teachers, four high school teachers, and special education teacher Bernadine Bazinaw.

Elementary teachers and their assignments are: Jennifer Schrader, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade; Chelsea Berkshire, second and third grades; Piotr Buniewcz, fourth-grade and fifth-grade social studies and English; Elizabeth Burt, fourth-grade and fifth-grade science and mathematics.

Secondary teachers and their assignments are: Gregg Neville, secondary social studies; Lance Greenlee, secondary English and middle school social studies; Rick Waite, secondary science; Susan Bennett, secondary mathematics.

Other staff members are school secretary Barbara Fisher and custodian and maintenance worker Shelly McLean. All of the school staff positions, unchanged from the past school year, are filled for the upcoming school year.

The Island’s small, oneschool district operates an annual budget of less than $2 million. Mr. Lohff will have and approved budget of $1,834,796 with which to run the school in 2017-2018.

Originally from Rudyard, the new superintendent received his bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and landed his first teaching job at Mackinac Island Public School in 2009. He heard about the teaching position through a job fair at the university and took it to be closer to then-girlfriend Katie Horn, who is from St. Ignace and whose grandparents were Smi and Mickey Horn of Mackinac Island.

From 2009 to 2012, Mr. Lohff, like many Island school staffers, wore many hats. He worked part-time as a physical education and health teacher, was athletic director, and also worked in the school library.

He loved the location and the school, but wanted a full-time position. He and his wife were married in 2012 and the couple moved to Greeley, Colorado, where he would work as a parks and recreation director for the towns of Eaton and LaSalle.

“I loved the small school size and the one-on-one connection I made with the kids,” Mr. Lohff said of his time teaching for the Island school.

The K-12 school enrolls about 70 students per year with about 10 children in a classroom at one time. This year’s graduating class was made up of four students last spring.

“Kids here aren’t just a number, and that’s what made me come back,” he said.

In 2014, his wife got an accounting position at Grand Hotel and the family moved to St. Ignace. He worked in Brimley Area Schools as a physical education teacher.

Having received his administrative certification from Northern Michigan University, Mr. Lohff applied for superintendent when the position became available and moved his family to the Island in June. The superintendent position also comes with more than one hat: he’ll be the principal and athletic director.

Mr. Lohff said he and Katie love the Mackinac Island lifestyle.

“We like to be active and the Island motivates you to be outdoors.”

The Lohffs often take Steven and Molly to play at Great Turtle Park and go on family bicycle rides around the Island.

“We’re excited to part of this community again and to raise our children here,” Mr. Lohff said.

As he adjusts to his new role and prepares for the upcoming school year, he foresees liking the administrative role even more than being a teacher.

“The superintendent is the face of the school,” Mr. Lohff said. “It requires me to be an active part of the community and I look forward to fulfilling that role.”

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