Introducing Berkley’s New Superintendent

Berkley Superintendent Scott Francis

Berkley Superintendent Scott Francis

Thoughtful, intentional, and kind. These three words are how our new superintendent, Scott Francis, would describe himself. As superintendent, Francis is the leader of a school district, who, by his decisions and administration, executes visions. As defined by Stand, The superintendent is the top executive (“CEO”) in the school district. The superintendent implements the school board’s vision by making day-to-day decisions about educational programs, spending, staff, and facilities. The superintendent hires, supervises, and manages the central staff and principals. Superintendents must work with school leaders — principals — to serve the needs of students and meet the district goals. In this article, Berkley is getting a glimpse into who our new superintendent is and how he will help our district move forward.

First, I asked Francis about his prior jobs and how they prepared him for his role as the head of the Berkley School District. We see his abundance of experience in education and how he has been prepared for this role as head of the Berkley District.

Q: How do you think being in the Berkley district before has prepared you for this job?

A: “I think I have a special perspective or view in that I live in the community, and I have kids who are in the school system. I am involved in the community as well, so I think that helps me. I think also what helps me is that I was a teacher for 16 years, a special education teacher for part of that time, and a building elementary principal at Pattengill. Living and having kids in the community, in the schools and just my different experiences in my 22 years in education helped me gain valuable insights and perspectives.”

Q: What have your prior jobs been?

A: “I was a teacher in two different school districts, one is in Ortonville but the school district is called Brandon. I started out as a middle school teacher in Brandon and then I became a special education teacher in the Troy schools elementary. I’ve spent about 15 years or so in Brandon schools and Troy schools.”


Next I asked Francis what qualities and characteristics he is bringing to his job as superintendent. He talks about his strengths, passions, and how he is planning to improve the Berkley District. This is how he plans to make a positive impact on Berkley.

Q: What are your strengths?

A: My strengths are that I put a lot of trust and belief in the teachers and the principals and the support staff. I believe one of my main jobs is to encourage them and support them to be the best version of themselves. And so, to do that it’s about being visible, it’s about being around and available in our schools and our sporting events. This morning, I was at Norup. I met with Mr. Yowchuang [Norup’s principal] and was walking into some classrooms and talking to teachers and support staff and I think that’s crucial when my role is to be someone who is listening and also a cheerleader to encourage others.” 

Q: What ways do you think that you will create a positive impact for the Berkley students and how are you planning on doing those? 

A: “For me, it kind of goes back to a little bit about what I was saying, and that’s being connected, encouraging, and listening to teachers and listening to principals and supporting them, but also pointing in a direction where I think we should go on things. One of the things that I’m excited about starting, that I’ve been talking to Mr. Meloche about, is starting a superintendent’s student advisory board, where I would have a group of high school students meet with me regularly for me to listen but also to help work with them on making our school district a better place. That’s one of my goals.”

Q: What do you think the biggest challenge facing the Berkley School District is and how do you plan to overcome it?

A: I think one of the biggest challenges right now is one that all of us are facing across the state and across the country, and that’s just getting past COVID and the impact that COVID is having on our schools, on our teachers, and on our students. It’s really about putting in place the best practices and measures to keep kids in school all year, if at all possible. And so, that’s our primary focus. We’re focusing on other things as well, but for me, a successful year will be keeping our kids safe and in school everyday throughout the school year.”

Q: COVID took a toll on many students’ mental health. What will you do to improve the overall mental health of students that go to Berkley?

A: “We’re increasing our investments in more social workers and counselors in the district. We hired three additional counselors/social workers and we’re investing in more curriculum too, to provide more support and lessons, and just an overall focus and awareness on how important social and emotional wellbeing is. It’s something that the pandemic has definitely taught us. We knew before that it was important, but now, more than ever it is, and that’s why we are bringing in more people and more programs and some training too.”

Q: What is the first thing you plan on doing for the district?

A: “We’re in the process of starting a new strategic plan. Pretty much every organization, most school districts, have what is called a strategic plan that focuses on different goal areas. Our previous strategic plan is up to date, so we’re in the process of revising and renewing a strategic plan, which will focus on student learning, wellbeing, equity work, growth, and innovation. I’m a big believer in before you can head too far down another path, you’ve got to have a plan in place, and so that’s one of my main goals and initiatives this year – to reset and establish and renew a strategic plan that outlines the direction and goals. 

Q: What is your vision for the district?

A: “Our vision is about preparing and equipping students for whatever life throws at them. And so, we have to do everything we can to prepare and equip and support our students for whatever life will throw at them. It’s also for us to be, we like to use the term, a model district. To be a model district, to me, that’s about giving our all. There’s a certain standard we want to meet for our staff and for our students and it’s about doing that in such a way that we become a model district in everything we do. But really, at the end of the day, it’s about preparing, equipping, supporting, and encouraging our students so that they’re ready for whatever life has for them.


With Francis’ skill set and passion, the Berkley School District is in great hands! He has many years under his belt of experience of working in and managing schools. Some of these jobs were even in Berkley, which offers him essential information about how our school district works. He is passionate about his work, a listener, and a helper: exactly what the students need their superintendent to be!