Dear Bethlehem Lutheran Church and School Families: May 20, 2020
EXCITING NEWS! God has answered our prayers! God has led the Bethlehem Lutheran School Principal Search Committee to the point where we are able to make a recommendation to the congregation to issue a divine call for a new principal. Therefore, the Executive Director of Bethlehem, Jon Herzberger; Director of the Board of Day School Education, Nick Birchmeier; Director of the Board of Elders, Ryan Mulder; and Pastor Korte are announcing a Voters Meeting for the sole purpose of issuing a divine call to Mr. Todd Baringer, to be principal of Bethlehem Lutheran School. The Voters Meeting will be held on Thursday, May 28th, at 7 pm. More information concerning our candidate will be made available in the near future and at the meeting.
Because of the extraordinary times that we are experiencing during the Coronavirus pandemic this voters meeting will be held differently. Voting members of Bethlehem will have the following options of attending the meeting and voting.
1. The meeting will be held via Zoom. We encourage this option.
a. You may either join by video or by phone. (All phones have this ability.)
b. Everyone is encouraged to join the Zoom meeting with your smart phone, laptop, or tablet and go to www.zoom.us and you can follow the instructions to sign up for a free account, if you don’t already have one.
c. The meeting ID and the password will be provided later on the website. The phone in number will also be provided later on the website.
2. You may attend in person at Bethlehem following strict physical distancing guidelines.
a. Anyone entering the church must verify that they do not have covid-19 or have been in close contact with a person having the coronavirus for the last 14 days.
b. Everyone must verify that they have shown no symptoms, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, cough, etc. for the last 72 hours.
c. All are required to use hand sanitizer and wear a mask upon entering.
d. Physical distancing of 6 feet between families will be enforced.
We recognize that these measures are different than we normally practice. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue to move forward with God’s plan for us. It is exciting for Bethlehem to be blessed with this opportunity for a new principal. Please continue to pray. Pray for Bethlehem as we make our decision. Pray for our candidate as he and his family seek God’s will for his calling and ministry. Pray that the Lord continue to send workers into the harvest field.
In His Name,
Here is a brief summary and little history of how God led Bethlehem to call a voters meeting.
In early March, Dr. Nicole Frederick announced her decision to resign as principal of our school at the end of the current school year, June 30, 2020.
A Call Committee was established consisting of the following members: Board of Day School: Nick Birchmeier, Bruce Royce, At Large: Lisa May, Brenda Wilson, Board of Elders: Mike Denno, Kurt Engelhardt, Ex-officio: Pastor Korte. These people spent countless hours in many meetings, interviews, discussions, zoom meetings, telephone conversations, and not the least praying. They seriously considered their duties and faithfully carried them out beyond expectations. On behalf of Bethlehem please make sure to thank them for their hard work.
Among the Principal Search Committee tasks were to:
a. Review and revise the Principal Ministry Position/Job Description.
b. Develop essay and interview questions for candidates.
c. Solicit nominations for Principal from congregation (3), Michigan District (16), and Indeed job search (6).
d. Each Lutheran Educator Information Form (LEIF)/resume was carefully reviewed. Five were selected for consideration. Upon contact all five for various reason would not consider a call at this time. Many of them eliminated themselves from candidacy because they had just taken calls, had special family situations, needed a call for their spouse, felt that during the pandemic would not be in best interest of their ministry, or simply were not interested.
e. Upon recommendation of Michigan District Superintendent, Travis Grulke, four more candidates were contacted. Two agreed to consider a call and they were sent a letter containing preliminary essay questions.
f. Zoom interviews were held with each candidate. Afterwards, one candidate withdrew his name from consideration.
g. Our candidate, Todd Baringer, had many zoom meetings with Bethlehem Principal Search Committee, teaching staff, lay leaders, and the Board of Education.
4. On May 19, the Call Committee recommended to the Board of Education that Bethlehem Lutheran Church and School hold a voter meeting to issue a call to Todd Baringer as principal.
5. The Call Committee considers Mr. Baringer to be excellent prospect for Bethlehem. His strong Christian beliefs, work experience in both public and Lutheran schools, education, leadership skills and desire to see children succeed are some of his qualities that would give him the ability to lead our school successfully.
6. A Pastor gave the following reference concerning Todd: “It will be the best decision Bethlehem will ever make if we hire Todd. He has a vision, passion and zeal to proclaim Jesus Christ. Todd is a great team player and will be a great help to pastors. He is high energy, dynamic, and very likeable.”
7. A parent of a former student said the following when asked about Mr. Baringer, “Todd is very caring about his students and staff. He is compassionate. His students and staff are his family and they feel that way.”
8. Now a little bit about our principal candidate. Mr. Baringer grew up in Ohio. He is a life-long member of the Lutheran Church. Mr. Baringer graduated from the Concordia University Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Arts in 1996. He taught in Public-School settings until 2010. Todd received his Master’s degree in Administrative Leadership from SVSU in 2004. He then felt the Lord’s calling to serve in our Lutheran schools. Todd received his Colloquy in 2011 from Concordia University Chicago. Mr. Baringer served as a Lutheran principal in St. Joseph, MI; Memphis Tn: and is currently in Carrollton, TX. Todd is working to complete his Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership & Service.
9. On a more personal note, Principal Baringer is married to Brooke for 22 years. (Brooke is also a Lutheran Educator.) They have 4 children; Haley 16, Payton 14, Rylan 9 and Tyler 6.