Ann Arbor school board Trustee Helen Gates-Bryant resigns
Longtime Ann Arbor school board member Helen Gates-Bryant resigned from her position tonight, citing personal and economic reasons.
Her resignation was effective at the end of the meeting.
In offering her resignation, Gates-Bryant said while the remaining trustees face great challenges, they're up to the task of making cuts while preserving Ann Arbor’s education quality.
“Because I know this is an awesome board, I know this board is up for the challenge," she said. "I’m encouraging you to stay the course. You’re doing the right things.”
Board members said during almost seven years on the board, Gates-Bryant championed the voice of those without voices and also helped in the process of building the new Skyline High School.
“I have not one iota of a doubt that the education of students in this district is better because of Helen’s work,” Trustee Glenn Nelson said.
After receiving a hug and a plaque recognizing her service on the board from board President Deb Mexicotte, Gates-Bryant choked up as she made her final remarks.
“This has really been hard. I have really enjoyed the service I’ve been able to provide, and I really want to thank the community for giving me the opportunity," she said. "I’m going to truly miss being here at the table.”
Gates-Bryant was elected at a time of turmoil in the district and on the board. During her tenure, members worked to unify the school board, hire Superintendent Todd Roberts and administrate a more than $240 million bond issue that built Skyline and renovated all the district’s schools. She has been serving as a committee chair for several years, including the planning committee this school year.
The school board has 30 days to appoint a replacement. The replacement will serve until the end of the school year. A regular school election will be held in May, and Gates-Bryant's seat will be up for election then.
Those interested in filling the vacancy can send a resume, a letter of interest no longer than two pages and three letters of recommendation by Nov. 30 to the district's headquarters. The candidates will be interviewed in open session with a Dec. 16 date for final vote.
Once a selection is made, the candidate is immediately sworn in and seated at the board table.
David Jesse covers K-12 education for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 734-623-2534.