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Posted on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 : 7:30 a.m.

Ann Arbor school board prepares for final month of superintendent search

By Kyle Feldscher

The Ann Arbor school board is preparing for what’s expected to be the final month of its search for a new superintendent, board president Deb Mexicotte said Wednesday.

Mexicotte said the deadline to apply for the position passed Tuesday, but search consultant firm Ray & Associates is still expecting several applications to arrive by the end of the week. She said the search firm was impressed that approximately 45 people applied for the position, which is more than expected.

“The pool (of candidates) is better than they have been experiencing for other districts due to the economic downturn and the difficulty in leaving behind a house,” she said. “A lot of candidates have not been mobile, but the pool is a little better than they had hoped for.”

Mexicotte also presented the search timeline for the next four weeks to board members at Wednesday’s meeting.

Ray & Associates will narrow down the pool of candidates to a small subset by Feb. 9, when the board will review those candidates in closed session and further whittle down the list. During the week of Feb. 14, the board will interview those candidates in meetings open to the public and possibly narrow down the list.

The following week, a delegation of trustees will make site visits to candidates’ districts — or other places of work, since the candidate does not necessarily have to be a school official —before bringing them back to Ann Arbor the following week for another round of interviews and a final decision.

Dates have not been finalized because interviews and site visits will depend on the availability of the candidates.

The position has been vacant since October, when former superintendent Todd Roberts departed for a job in North Carolina. Administrator Robert Allen has been serving as interim superintendent, but has said he is not a candidate for the permanent position.

The next district superintendent is expected to earn around $245,000 — a $65,000 boost from Roberts' salary. The school board took heat in November after deciding to increase the salary range.

Trustees urged community members to get involved in the process by submitting interview questions, either at the meetings or on the district’s website.

Mexicotte said the search firm reported a positive experience with the search thus far.

“They’ve expressed they’re pleased with the process so far from their end and thought we’d be pleased with candidates who came forward,” she said.

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at



Thu, Jan 27, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

I believe the boards line when this started was. "We need to pay more so we will get enough applicants" I guess this shows what a bunch of bunk that was! "Mexicotte said the deadline to apply for the position passed Tuesday, but search consultant firm Ray & Associates is still expecting several applications to arrive by the end of the week." When is a deadline a deadline? Nobody means what they say anymore!

Andrew Thomas

Thu, Jan 27, 2011 : 11:12 p.m.

The Tuesday deadline refers to the date the mailed application was postmarked. Applications received after the deadline are OK as long as they are postmarked on or before the deadline.

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Jan 27, 2011 : 8:31 p.m.

Like it says in the story, this is actually more than was expected. Also, the applications had to be postmarked by Tuesday, so if an applicant mailed in an application on the deadline, it stands to reason it may take a few days to reach the search consultants.


Thu, Jan 27, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

I hope that the extra $65k will be spent on a therapist for the new hire. With the current sentiment about public education in Ann Arbor, this is going to be a brutal job.


Thu, Jan 27, 2011 : 3:20 p.m.

DonBee, this is how the private sector works. Pay for CEOs is dramatically more than the average workers. That spread has been increasing exponentially over the last 20 years, thanks to the rich getting richer and the rest of us getting poorer. Now the public sector is doing the same thing. Someone from AAPS needs to explain why the new super needs to get a dramatic increase over the last super. How is the new job different? The cost of living in A2 isn't any different than it was a year ago, if anything, based on what the city keeps saying, housing values continue to decrease, not increase, so housing can be purchased for less these days. There isn't any reason to pay that much above market after asking the bus drivers and custodians to take an 8% cut in pay this year.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

Sallyxyz it's because AA is such a great school district, we need the absolute best!


Thu, Jan 27, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.

And what is even more ironic, is that everyone else in the district is losing money (paying more for health insurance and pay cut) yet the district magically has enough money for a 65,000 raise.


Thu, Jan 27, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

More candidates than expected. OH of course, paying WAY, WAY above market. So plenty of people want the job. No surprise. People who want more money want this job, it is a great stepping stone to the next job. In 3 years we will be right back here again! Dump the bus drivers, and pay the CEO, sorry superintendent, way more than his workers.