BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
The recent Thanksgiving holiday brought a new face to the Clarkston Community Schools Central Office, but not one unfamiliar to the district.
Christa Fons, former director at Renaissance High School, is the new director of shared services. The position became available as the current director, Billie Pambid, is retiring this year.
Gary Bigger is the new principal at Renaissance, coming to the district from a similar position in Birmingham.
“I have an office at Central Office but plan to be visiting and getting to know our partner schools on a regular basis,” said Fons. “Clarkston schools currently partners with 13 schools in several counties, and I am really excited to get to know our partner schools. Clarkston is a wonderful school district and I want to share my passion for kids, learning, and expanding opportunities within our district and for our partner schools.”
Shared Time is a state of Michigan program that, under the Michigan Pupil Accounting Manual, allows for public and non-public schools to partner on eligible non-core elective classes (including Advanced Placement courses) such as art, music, physical education, modern language, media, computers, and other similar courses.
“Often times, private and parochial schools don’t have the manpower or resources to offer these classes and so they partner with public districts like ours to implement the curriculum,” explained Fons, who started in her new role on Nov. 25. “In turn, the district receives a percentage of the per pupil allowance from the state for the time those students are taking Shared Time classes with CCS teachers in the classroom.”
When Fons made the decision to leave RHS and head to her new position, she said making that choice “was an incredibly difficult one.” Her last day at Renaissance was Nov. 22.
“We are a tight-knit group, and I value the relationships I’ve formed over the years at RHS,” Fons said. “I did not want to lose the impact I could have on students, working with students and having an opportunity to impact them positively. The good news is I haven’t gone far. I will always have a special place in my heart for the students and staff of Renaissance High School.”
Fons spent 10 years at RHS, the last five as director.
“I have a heart full of warm memories from RHS,” she said. “Many fond memories come from graduation. The incredible obstacles many students overcome to achieve this goal is inspiring.”
As for Bigger, Fons knows he’ll make an impact at the school in his own positive way.
“I wish Mr. Bigger the best of luck as he takes the reins,” said Fons. “He has already proven himself to be a strong and compassionate leader. I have no doubt he will do great things.”