"We want to get students back to getting engaged and back to learning," said Seawood.
And he said he has the right formula to do just that.
"Our curriculum, professional development, everything is geared around transformation of the high school," Seawood said.
One year ago, the school district was a red flag on the state's radar. Underperforming students and dropping enrollment were the catalysts, but now a new plan is in place to turn the failing district around.
“It’s the leadership, it's the ability to get good teachers, have parents giving oversight," Seawood said.
From offering new courses, taking away block scheduling, and changing each school's curriculum — Seawood said he is confident the district will attract and retain students more successfully.
But how do people hold him accountable for his claim?
The Benton Harbor School Board of Education said that is its job.
“The state has passed a new law which mandates certain criteria, and we have to hold the superintendent accountable…a lot has to do with achievement and progress," said Martha Momany, the treasurer for the Benton Harbor School Board.
The state sent WSBT this response:
"The Michigan Department of Education has approved a deficit elimination plan for Benton Harbor schools and its required redesign plan for Benton Harbor High School,” said Martin Ackley, communication director for the Michigan Department of Education. “The department continues to monitor the district's implementation of both of those plans to ensure the students in Benton Harbor receive the quality education they need and deserve,”
Parents said the threat of a takeover was alarming, but they left the meeting revived.
"I’m looking forward to the new programs, and I think it's going to be a really good school year," said Leanna Coats.
Seawood said this school year will be a test of the new plan. He said in three to five years the Benton Harbor school district will be a model for the state.
The state superintendent said he approved a deficit elimination plan, so it looks like Benton Harbor Schools are in good shape. But only time will tell.
And because they are saving money right now through the consolidation of schools and layoffs, Seawood said in about four years they will have enough money to probably build a new high school.