Superintendent Tim Travis –
The New School Year Presents Infinite Possibilities
For 13 years Dr. Tim Travis was the principal at Saugatuck Middle School/High School. This background provided a solid foundation for stepping into the role of district superintendent, a position he accepted when the Board offered it to him back in February, 2018.
By his own admission, it has been a “very busy spring” for Tim.
He worked double-duty as both superintendent and principal through mid-June, at which time the Board named him full-time superintendent.
This allowed Tim to shift his focus for the summer to identifying a new leader for the Middle School/High School. And the quest was successfully completed with the hiring of Mark Neidlinger in early August.
Tim’s long tenure in the district has nurtured strong bonds.
“Students in the Class of 2018 – my last year as middle school/high school principal – were kindergarteners when I first came to Saugatuck,” he said. “I’m excited to now serve our students, parents, and staff in a more expansive way.”
In addition to hiring Mr. Neidlinger, Travis said he has devoted his attention into leveling up preK-12 instructional initiatives, long-range facilities planning, and getting the new website up and running, areas he didn’t have to consider as deeply as a principal.
“Our community values education and I’ll do what I can to enrich the teaching and learning opportunities for all of our 850 students,” he said.
Tim is the oldest of four children born to educators Gale and Karen Travis and spent most of his childhood in Shepherd, Mich., a small community near Mt. Pleasant.
When Tim was about to enter high school, his father accepted a position as middle school/high school principal of Carsonville-Port Sanilac Schools, along Lake Huron.
Tim said his parents’ work as educators had a profound impact on their children’s career choices. His three sisters also work with children -- two as teachers and one as a music therapist.
Tim spent his first 20 years as an educator in eastern Michigan at Unionville-Sebewaing Area School, where he excelled as a physics and math teacher, athletic coach, and school administrator.
The decision to apply for the principal position in Saugatuck 14 years ago was largely based on the artistic interests of his wife, Tim recalls.
“We love the outdoors and the arts, so this is an ideal location for us,” he said.
Tim and Margaret enjoy hiking, kayaking, and attending art shows, musical and theatric performances.
They also enjoy being grand parents to six young grandchildren – half from their son Scott and his wife, who live in Holland, Mich., and half from their son Lance and his wife, who live near Dallas, Tex.
Tim also spends a lot of his free time reading, although most of it is work-related, but “it’s what I like, “ he admits.
One book, Carol S. Dweck’s “Mindset: The New Psychology for Success” is now being used as a springboard for improving instruction and educational outcomes across the district.
Saugatuck is launching new strategies to increase students’ experiences in hands-on science and technology.
Beginning this fall, K-5 students will have a technology “special” on par with art and physical education.
Students at the middle school/high school will get new Chromebooks.
Another journalism course focusing on video production and editing has been added for high school students, as well as Advanced Placement Environmental Science and AP Chemistry.
“Our goal is to encourage creative, critical, and conscious thinking,” Tim said. “And we’ll pursue this fully in tune with the high standards our community has for both academic achievement and supportive relationships.”