Gary Start was named Interim Superintendent of Kalamazoo Public Schools in June 2019. He was appointed interim by the KPS Board of Education, after Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice was named Michigan State Superintendent of Public Instruction. He will serve as interim while the board conducts the search for a new superintendent.
Start has had a long and distinguished career as the top business official for Kalamazoo Public Schools since 1983. He joined KPS as the assistant director of business and finance, and he was subsequently given expanded responsibilities and promoted to co-director of budget and finance; director of budget and finance; assistant superintendent of business and finance; and deputy superintendent for business, communications, and operations.
During his career, Start has led the development and presentation of eight bond issues for passage by district voters: in 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2010, 2013, and 2018. In addition, he was instrumental in the 2005 push for an enhancement millage within Kalamazoo County, the first such millage to pass within the state. Kalamazoo County residents have renewed the enhancement millage four times: in 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2017.
In the last two years, Start has helped to restructure and make more equitable the county’s special education funding formula. He helped develop a promotional campaign for the district, which helped increase enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year — the 11th enrollment increase in the past 13 years. In 2018, he was an integral voice in the district’s teacher contract negotiations, which significantly boosted the entry-level salary for teachers.
Start volunteers as a mentor at Phoenix High School. He has served on the City of Kalamazoo 2015 Blue Ribbon Revue Panel. For a number of years, he served as a board member of the Local Development Finance Authority and the Community Promise Federal Credit Union. At the state level, Start was a founding board member of the Middle Cities Risk Management Trust and has been a long-time member of the Michigan School Business Officials and the Association of School Business Officials International.
In 2019, he received the MSBO Distinguished Service Award.