FLUSHING — As Flushing Community Schools transitions into a new school year, Matt Shanafelt is looking forward to leading the district into the next era.
Shanafelt, formerly the deputy superintendent at FCS, began his tenure as the district’s new superintendent on July 1. He has replaced outgoing Superintendent Tim Stein, who retired on June 30 following a 23-year career at Flushing.
After serving the district for five years as the deputy superintendent, Shanafelt said that he is excited to succeed Stein and step into a new role on the school administration team.
“I’m certainly honored and humbled by the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” he said. “While it’s a different title for me, I want to continue the collaborative, team approach that we’ve had to doing things the right way.”
Now more than ever, Shanafelt said, FCS will need to rely on team spirit and a unified focus to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and looming state budget cuts to education. Despite facing uncertainties, he said that FCS administration will rise to meet the challenge.
“We’re going to do whatever it takes to support kids and have a phenomenal instructional product and system in place,” he said. “We want to identify and meet needs, regardless of any budget constraints or any limitations placed on us.”
For Shanafelt, 45, that mission hits close to home. He and his wife Penny live in the Flushing community and have three kids in the school district.
“We will have to be very intentional with our plans and continue to look for support from the federal government to address budget shortfalls,” Shanafelt said. “Regardless of whether or not there is a federal bailout, we need to keep staff and kids safe and address the emotional and social needs of each student.”
Before coming to Flushing, Shanafelt was the principal of Davison High School (2011-2015), an assistant principal at Grand Blanc High School (2007-2011) and a social studies teacher at Grand Blanc Community Schools (2000-2006). He joined the FCS staff in 2015 as the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction before transitioning to the deputy superintendent position in 2016.
Whether it’s teaching in a classroom or guiding administrative decisions, Shanafelt said that he’s always appreciated the chance to be a positive influence on kids’ lives through education. As the new FCS superintendent, he hopes to make a solid impression on the district’s students as they navigate through challenging times.
“Education is as fulfilling of a job as you can have because of the impact that is has on every other aspect of society,” Shanafelt said. “It means the world to me to see kids I’ve taught or staff members I’ve worked with go on to have successful careers and make a positive impact of their own.”