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Photo by Crystal Hayduk. Tim Courtright, new operations director for the Chelsea schools.

By Crystal Hayduk

One of the newer faces in Chelsea belongs to Tim Courtright, who assumed the position of operations director for the school district in mid-April.

It takes an energetic person with an attention to detail to be an operations director. Courtright is a self-described workaholic. “My brain doesn’t stop, so even when I’m off, I’m not off,” he said.

He can easily work 10 to 12 hours a day (or more) managing the department and attending administrative or construction meetings; catching up on email in the evening. The position requires 24/7 on-call responsibility.

Courtright supervises the operations department, which shoulders the maintenance and custodial duties for all of the district’s buildings and grounds on a daily basis. He also manages the administrative aspects of construction and renovation proposals, lease and rental agreements, and attends team meetings.

There are fewer than 20 people on staff. “That’s a really small group for the number of acres, athletic fields, and square footage of the buildings in the district,” said Courtright. For comparison’s sake, Courtright managed a staff of 50 in a similar school district in Kentucky. “Kentucky wasn’t hit nearly as hard by the recession as Michigan was,” he said, explaining the difference in staff size. 

Raised in Holland, Michigan, Courtright attended college at Ferris State University and interned with the field construction superintendent and project manager in the same school district he attended as a child. Then he moved south for a school district job opportunity.

After 25 years in Kentucky and Tennessee, Courtright felt it was time to return to his Michigan roots. Bringing a wealth of experience and the accent gained from his years in the south, Courtright is happy to be home again. “Between the school district and the Chelsea community, I knew this was the place for me,” he said.

Courtright’s challenges include helping the district in its ongoing recovery from the recession of 2008. “When you defer repairs, things stack up,” he said. “As we determine the future vision of the district, the daily work continues. We can’t just stop everything while we figure this out.”

He credits Superintendent Julie Helber, who had already begun the process of evaluating the district’s holdings. “Taking care of the district isn’t as simple as a putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls,” he said. “It encompasses not just the buildings and grounds, but also the staff, students, and the community at large.

“There’s a purpose to what we do here. The ultimate goal for everything is to educate young people. They are the reason I come to work every day,” he said.  

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