Office of the President
Tony McLain Ph.D. is the seventh president in the history of the institution.
Dr. McLain's career in education has seen him in a variety of positions, from working as an English teacher to two superintendent posts. He retired as superintendent of Sault Area Public Schools in Sault Ste. Marie in 2003 after eight years of service. Prior to working in the top spot at the Sault Schools, he was superintendent of the Superior Central Schools in Eben Junction, Mich. He led successful community bond elections in both districts as well as in the Thornapple Kellogg Schools, where he was a principal, curriculum director and guidance director for 16 years. No stranger to the university environment, he taught classes while a graduate student working on his doctoral degree at Michigan State University.
Since retiring from the Sault Schools, Dr. McLain has been working as a part-time financial consultant with Stauder Barch and Associates of Ann Arbor, and has been active in the NorthStar chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
Dr. McLain's background includes 30 years of experience in contract negotiations, as well as membership and leadership positions on a variety of community and state school professional associations, including past president of the Michigan Association of School Administrators Region 1, campaign chair for the Eastern Upper Peninsula United Way in 2000-2001, and many more. He was honored with the Sault Schools' "What Parents Want Award" for six consecutive years, 1997-2002, and is the recipient of several other awards, including a Certificate of Heroism from the Boy Scouts of America.
"The best advice I ever received in my career was from a junior high principal I used to work for. He said, 'I have all the authority that my staff gives me.' I believe in that. The work of a university is not done in the administration building; it's done by the rest of the staff. It's our job to make sure the institution's employees have the tools to do the work and then get out of their way. The university is too big of an organization and there are too many decisions to have them all made at the top level."
Dr. McLain holds a doctorate is in K-12 education administration from Michigan State University, and he also holds a master's degree in counseling and personnel administration and a bachelor's degree in English, both from Western Michigan University.
A Michigan native, Dr. McLain is a 1965 graduate of Mason County High School in Scottville. He and his wife Melissa have two grown daughters; Michelle, of Lansing, and Adelle, of Grand Rapids.