Kent ISD superintendent to retire in December

Kent County
Kent ISD Superintendent Ron Caniff

Kent ISD Superintendent Ron Caniff speaks at an Aug. 19, 2019, meeting of the Board of Education.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kent Intermediate School District Superintendent Ron Caniff says he’s retiring at the end of the calendar year.

He sent a letter to the Kent ISD board Monday saying his resignation would be effective Dec. 31.

“The timing of my departure … will allow us to get what will assuredly be a challenging start-up to the school year behind us, and hopefully by the time I leave a sense of normal operations returns with the potential advances occurring in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine,” the letter (PDF) reads in part.

Caniff has been an educator for some 36 years, the last five of which were spent as superintendent of Kent ISD. He called the job “a true honor and the highlight of my career.”

He came to the ISD in July 2015 after serving as the superintendent of Grandville Public Schools. Prior to that, he was superintendent of Lapeer Community Schools and held roles in both administration and as a history teacher for Northview and Forest Hills districts. 

“You know, candidly, in February, I was probably a year away,” Caniff told News 8 Tuesday. “During the middle of this pandemic and all of these Zoom calls, I said this is wearing on me. This is not how I prefer to do business, how I don’t think anyone prefers to do business. So really, I would say, that sort of nudged me a little bit, the time table up a bit. I was planning on stepping down sometime during this school year and decided December is as good a time as any.”

Caniff said he’s looking forward to having more time to spend with his family and to travel but also wanted to ensure he continues working with fellow educators on back-to-school plans for the fall.

The ISD board has not yet started working out its plan to find a new superintendent.

“Selecting a new superintendent is the most important decision this board will make during the next school year,” Kent ISD Board President Andrea Haidle said in a statement. “We plan to take our time and get this right. We will release details as we work though some of the procedural issues over the next couple of months.”