July 26 2013 12:00 AM

Former LPD Chief of Police Teresa Szymanski starts as chief operations officer for Lansing Schools


Due to a reporting error, Teresa Szymanski was said to be replacing Brian Ralph. Szymanski is replacing Sam Sinicropi. 

Friday, July 19 — Although she’s still technically a “chief,” she won’t be getting a badge or uniform with this job. Former Lansing Police Department Chief of Police Teresa Szymanski has started a new position as chief of operations officer for the Lansing School District.

Teresa.jpg“It’s a big responsibility and there’s a lot to learn, but I’m surrounded by good people and have a great staff that I’ve inherited,” Szymanski said after her first Lansing Board of Education meeting on Thursday. “I’m focused on what’s best for the students. I wanted to be part of the changes going on in the district. I wanted to be part of something new, something great.”

As chief of operations, Szymanski will help oversee the day-to-day operations of the school district, including food services, transportation, custodial services and grounds work. She’ll also work on long-term plans like bond projects and capital improvements.

Szymanski, 50, was the appointed as the LPD’s first female police chief in 2010. She retired in April after 26 years with the department.

Accustomed to working for Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, Szymanski’s new boss will be Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul. Szymanski joins Caamal Canul’s executive team, replacing Sam Sinicropi as chief operations officer.

Szymanski was hired because Sinicropi, assistant superintendent of operations, recently retired after 43 years in the education field.

Also at the meeting, the board approved 15 professional service contracts for various services and improvements in the district. Among the new projects approved is the tightening up of the district’s building security with the purchase of $616,000 worth of new security features, including new access card readers for school buildings, replacement door hardware and security cameras.

Also included in the professional service contracts were: $63,000 for 150 Dell laptops for students; nearly $56,000 to fix seating at the Everett High School auditorium; $120,000 in high school bathroom upgrades; and $116,500 for sidewalk improvements.

The board will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday to vote on new policies related to the layoffs and rehiring of teachers. Layoffs and rehires were previously based on seniority, but a new state law shifts the focus to student achievement and teacher evaluations.