Yvonne Caamal Canul is excited to run a district she worked in for 27 years.
"As a teacher, as an elementary school principal, high school assistant principal, central office, director of curriculum," Caamal Canul recalled.
But as she prepares for her role as interim superintendent, she realizes it's not the district it once was.
"When I started Lansing, there were about 36,000 students and that was 1974. There's one third that many students now," she said.
Decreased enrollment may force more cuts.
"One of the hardest things a district has to do is close schools in a community, in a neighborhood. But the reality is Lansing cannot continue to operate the way it had in its glorious past," Caamal Canul said.
Caamal Canul wants Lansing to tap into local resources and attract new students.
"Michigan State University, Lansing Community College, Davenport, Cooley - we just have an incredible opportunity to develop partnerships for the benefit of our students," she said.
Her three main goals are to balance the budget, right-size the staff, and address restructuring. But she may not have long to do it all. The board wants to find a permanent superintendent by May or June.
"She's not seeking a permanent job as far as I understand, so that will give us an opportunity to open the door to those who applied before for the interim and many more hopefully," said Board Treasurer Guillermo Lopez.
Lopez hopes her presence helps smooth the transition.
Caamal Canul officially starts March first. Superintendent T.C. Wallace will be on paid administrative leave until his contract expires at the end of June.
In an e-mail to us, he said he's "appalled, dismayed, and disappointed" by the move.