History of MOISD Superintendents
Prior to 1963, there were no ISDs. The school districts were grouped by county, and each county had a County Superintendent of Schools. During the 1962 - 1963 school year, Mecosta County Schools consisted of Big Rapids Public Schools (Superintendent Richard C. Donley); Barryton Rural Agricultural School (Superintendent Paul Jorgensen); Mecosta Consolidated School System (Superintendent James Nelson); Morley Stanwood Community Schools (Superintendent Walton Erickson); and Remus Consolidated Schools (Superintendent Elliott Oldt). Remus and Mecosta consolidated on July 20, 1963.
RUSSELL E. DUFFEY 1963 - 1967
Russell Duffey became the first ISD Superintendent in 1963. At that time, it was called the Mecosta County Intermediate School District until 1964 when Mecosta and Osceola counties voted to consolidate and it became the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District.
Prior to becoming ISD Superintendent, Mr. Duffey served from 1957 to 1963 as Mecosta County School Superintendent. He began his career teaching in primary rural schools in Charlevoix County for four years and was then superintendent of the suburban Recreation Park Schools in Kalamazoo for 14 years. In Kalamazoo, he was at one time Physical Education Director and teacher while teaching at the junior high level. He then coached high school athletics and taught for one year at Reed City. From 1946 until the end of 1956, he was principal of Barryton High School.
Mr. Duffey died suddenly of a heart attack in April of 1967 (at the age of 60), while still serving as the MOISD Superintendent, as he was preparing to speak to members of the Rotary Club at their dinner meeting at Bowers Restaurant in Big Rapids concerning the school reorganization plan in Mecosta County.
EARL F. LICKERT 1967 - 1971
Upon the death of Russell Duffey, Earl Lickert became the second Superintendent of the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District.
Mr. Lickert was a 1926 graduate of Leroy High School. He began his career as a teacher in a rural school in Clare County. He taught there for two years after receiving his B.S. Degree from Central Michigan University and his M.S. from the University of Michigan. He then moved to Osceola County where he taught in the Leroy school system for 16 years and also served as principal. In addition, he coached baseball and basketball. He was promoted to Superintendent of Osceola County Schools in 1951 (there were 63 schools in Osceola County at that time) until the merger of the Osceola and Mecosta County Intermediate School systems in 1964. After the merger, he held the position of Deputy Superintendent until 1967 when he became the second MOISD Superintendent.
Mr. Lickert retired in 1971 after 44 years in education. He passed away in June of 1977.
RICHARD ASIALA 1971 - 1973
Richard Asiala was the third Superintendent of the Mecosta-Osceola ISD. Before coming Superintendent, he served as Assistant Superintendent from 1970-1971.
Mr. Asiala graduated from Kaleva High School in 1952. He attended Central Michigan University for two years before he was drafted by the army. After getting out of the army, he went back to Central and received a B.A. in Speech Pathology in 1959. He also has a Master's from Central and completed advanced studies at Michigan State University.
Mr. Asiala started out his educational career as a Speech Therapist for Oceana County Schools in Hart from 1959 - 1961. In 1962 he started working for the Manistee ISD as a Speech Therapist. He later became a School Psychologist for Manistee ISD and eventually their Deputy Superintendent. He worked for the Manistee ISD from 1962-1969. In 1970, Mr. Asiala came to the Mecosta-Osceola ISD as Assistant Superintendent until the retirement of Earl Lickert at which time he became MOISD Superintendent. Mr. Asiala left the MOISD in 1973 to become the Assistant Superintendent for Traverse Bay Area ISD and eventually became the Superintendent for them. He retired from TBAISD in 1993. After his retirement from TBAISD, he worked for three years for the Michigan Association of ISD Superintendents.
Mr. Asiala lost his battle with cancer and passed away on October 12, 2010, at the age of 76, at his home in Traverse City.
PAUL JORGENSEN - 1973 - 1986
Paul Jorgensen became the fourth Superintendent of the Mecosta-Osceola ISD in 1973. At the time he became Superintendent, the administrative office was located in downtown Big Rapids until it moved to the current MOISD campus. He served as Superintendent of the MOISD until his retirement in 1986.
Mr. Jorgensen graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1946. He served in the Army Air Force from 1946 - 1949. He started attending Ferris State College in 1949 until he was recalled into the service and served overseas in the Korean War. He returned to Ferris State College in 1954 and received his B.S. Degree. He also received his M.A. Degree from Central Michigan University in School Administration.
His first teaching assignment was in 1955 at Hersey High School where he also coached. He then went on to Garfield Township Schools in Engadine from 1956-58 where he taught and coached. From 1958 to 1961 he was a teacher and coach at Morley Stanwood High School. He became Principal of Barryton Rural Agricultural School (K-12) from 1961-1963. In 1963 he became Superintendent of Barryton Rural Agricultural School. In 1967 the four communities of Weidman, Remus, Mecosta, and Barryton consolidated which resulted in the formation of Chippewa Hills School District. He was Superintendent of the Chippewa Hills School District from 1967 until 1972.
Mr. Jorgensen passed away on August 1, 2007.
ROGER D. DIXON - 1987 - 1998
Roger Dixon became the fifth Superintendent of the Mecosta-Osceola ISD in January of 1987. He served as Superintendent until his retirement in June of 1998.
Dr. Dixon was born in Paintsville, Kentucky, where he graduated from high school in 1960 and then went on to get his B.A. and Master's Degrees from Morehead State College. While attending Morehead State, he worked as a Graduate Assistant and Teaching Assistant. He also received an M.A. and Ed.D. from Western Michigan University and did additional graduate work at Eastern and Central Michigan Universities.
Dr. Dixon started his educational career as a high school English and history teacher for Plainwell Community Schools from 1965 to 1973. He served as a Graduate Assistant/Intern at Western Michigan University from 1973-74. In 1974 he became Principal of Dansville High School. Prior to becoming Superintendent of Addison Community Schools in 1976, he served for a short time as Vice President for Evans and Dixon Core Drilling in Kentucky. Prior to coming to the MOISD, Dr. Dixon served as Superintendent for Dowagiac Union Schools from 1983 to 1986.
Dr. Dixon currently resides in Hopkins, Michigan.
TERRENCE CONKLIN 1998 - 2005
Terry Conklin served as the sixth Superintendent of the Mecosta-Osceola ISD from 1998 until his retirement in 2005.
Mr. Conklin was born in Jackson, Michigan, and graduated from St. Mary's High School in Jackson. He attended Western Michigan University where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Business Education in 1970. In 1973 he was granted a Vocational Certificate in Business. He also holds a Master's Degree in Business from Eastern Michigan University (1977).
Mr. Conklin began his 35-year career in education in 1970 as a teacher and coach for Alpena Public Schools. Between 1974 and 1979 he served as Assistant Principal and Principal for the Diocese of Gaylord. In 1979 he became Athletic Director and Director for Buildings and Grounds for Zeeland Public Schools. Then from 1981 to 1983 he served as Assistant Principal and Athletic Director for Rockford Public Schools. From 1983 to 1986 he was the Middle School Principal at Vicksburg Community Schools, and from 1986-1989 he was Principal at Harbor Springs High School. He became Superintendent of Camden-Frontier Schools in 1989 and then moved to Ionia Public Schools and served as their Superintendent in 1992 until coming to the MOISD in 1998.
Mr. Conklin resides in Grand Rapids.
CURTIS E. FINCH 2005 - 2017
Curt Finch became the seventh Superintendent of the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District in 2005.
Curt was born in Brainerd, Minnesota, but moved to Alaska with his parents in 1964. He grew up in the town of Glenallen, Alaska, where he also graduated from high school. He attended Seattle Pacific University and received his B.A. in Mathematics. In 1992 he received his Masters in Public School Administration from the University of Alaska - Anchorage. He received his Superintendent Certification from Central Michigan University and his Ph.D. in 1997 from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Dr. Finch began his career in 1989 as a teacher and coach in Unalaska, Alaska. He also taught and coached in Wasilla, Alaska, from 1990-1993. In 1993 he became an Assistant Principal at Kodiak Middle School in Kodiak, Alaska, for one year. He then moved to Grayling, Michigan, where he served as Assistant Principal for Grayling Middle School from 1994-1997. He became Principal of Sault Ste. Marie High Schoool in 1997 until landing his first Superintendent position for Reese Public Schools in 1999.
After six years as the Superintendent in Reese, Dr. Finch arrived at the MOISD in July of 2005.