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Posted on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 : 9:27 p.m.

Ann Arbor school board chooses Simone Lightfoot as newest member

By David Jesse

The Ann Arbor school board has chosen Simone Lightfoot to join the board.

Lightfoot garnered four votes, a majority, in the first round of balloting at Wednesday night's board meeting.

“I’m overwhelmed,” she said. “I really do have an allegiance to the district. I had worked on the millage and when it failed, I knew we had a storm in front of us. I knew my experience, as well as my willingness to serve, could help the board in this time.”

She was sworn in right after the vote and participated in the rest of the meeting. Lightfoot graduated from Huron and has daughters in the district.

She replaces Helen Gates-Bryant, who resigned last month. She will serve until next November, when the seat will be up for election.

The seven candidates were Jack Panitch, Lightfoot, Andy Thomas, Margy Long, Christine Stead, Elizabeth Nelson and Kim Callahan Lijana.

All but Lijana have children in the district. None had any previous board experience.

The board nominated four finalists - Thomas, Lightfoot, Long and Stead.

Current board members Susan Baskett, Irene Patalan, Glenn Nelson and Adam Hollier voted for Lightfoot. Trustee Randy Friedman voted for Stead. Board President Deb Mexicotte voted for Long.

Before the vote, board members heard five-minute presentations from each detailing key issues facing the district. The candidates also went through a longer interview with the board last week.

Current board members encouraged the those who weren't selected to stay involved in the school system.

David Jesse covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.


Dr. I. Emsayin

Thu, Dec 17, 2009 : 11:49 a.m.

Ms. Lightfoot will be a welcomed addition to the board.