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Posted on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 11:17 a.m.

Ann Arbor schools announces 3 new principals at Bach, Burns Park and Pattengill

By Danielle Arndt

The Ann Arbor Public Schools released the names of three new elementary school principals recently hired to fill vacancies in the district.

One of the principals is brand new to the Ann Arbor schools, another is returning to the district after a brief hiatus and the third has been a teacher and instructional leader in the district for more than 20 years, district officials announced Wednesday in a statement.

Former Logan Elementary School teacher Hyeuo Park was named the new principal of Bach Elementary School. Current Bach principal, Shelley Bruder, chose to retire this month after 37 years working in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Park has been serving in Dexter as principal of Creekside Intermediate School, which houses grades 5-6, since August 2010, but he is eager to return to AAPS, school officials said.

He has a master's degree from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelor's degree from Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Md. In addition to teaching in Ann Arbor, he also previously taught in Seoul, Korea, and the Montgomery County Public Schools in Bethesda, Md.

Taking over the helm at Burns Park Elementary School, following the retirement of Principal Virginia Bell, is longtime AAPS teacher Chuck Hatt. Hatt is the literacy and social studies coordinator for the district. He also previously was a teacher at Bryant, Pattengill, Allen and Mitchell elementaries and Scarlett Middle School.

Hatt received his bachelor's degree in history from the University of Houston and his master's degree in English and elementary education from EMU.

The incoming Pattengill Elementary School principal is new to the Ann Arbor district. School officials said she brings many years of experience with her to AAPS.

Melita Alston will fill the vacancy left open by Che Carter, who was appointed to serve as the principal of Clague Middle School.

Alston most recently served as principal of Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse in Detroit. She also has been an assistant principal in the Detroit Public Schools and the Chicago Public Schools. She has a master's degree in educational leadership from Wayne State University and attended the University of Michigan for her bachelor's degree.

Ann Arbor schools officials said the public will have an opportunity to meet and greet these three individuals at events later in August before the school year is back in session.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:06 a.m.

Pity Burns Park.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Can someone PLEASE do something about the principal situation at Northside? How many teachers and students have to leave before the district acts?


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

Finally a principal hiring that makes sense. The new Burns Park principal is knowledgeable and experienced. He understands Ann Arbor and will help provide the continuity that has been sorely lacking. His experience with curriculum is top notch and he will help teachers reach a higher performance standard. He was well loved by his students and worked well with parents. Sure wish he was coming to my children's school.

Wake Up A2

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

"The new Burns Park principal is knowledgeable and experienced." doing what? Are you aware he tried to kill teaching science to the elementary students.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 2:01 a.m.

If the district would have promoted teachers from within they could have saved at least three teaching positions that have been pink slipped and kept the Ann Arbor ties going strong. I am certain there were qualified, dedicated employees out there willing to step up! However, this would make sense!


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 1:29 a.m.

I think Chuck Hatt's position at Balas will be passed along to someone else already working on elementary curriculum, saving some money right there. The new principal at Pattengill comes from a charter school in Detroit, an outsider that wasn't needed and will cost district "new" money. I am guessing others were out their that could have filled that job from within. Bach principal had Ann Arbor ties, sounds like a guy with good overall principal experience. Yet again, another "new" expense that could have been filled from within.

Burr Oak

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 11:18 a.m.

You might think that the position would be absorbed by someone already working at Balas, but the current climate seems to be to fill the building with administrators. The position reflects an era when we were flush, but is not necessary in this current climate. There are other similar positions at Balas where the individual would do well to go back to the classroom and leave the administrative position unfilled.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 2:12 a.m.

The principal choice for Burns Park really surprises me. I understand he knows a lot about social studies and reading. How long has it been since he has been in the classroom and dealing with the children of today? Hasn't he had a BALAS office job?


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 11:13 p.m.

I am not sure why my comment was deleted. I simply asked if anyone had any information about the Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse of Detroit other than the You Tube video posted above. I can't find a working website for the school and was curious if it is public, charter or private. Hopefully this comment won't be deleted.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

The info I found was Nataki is a charter school. The test scores I found indicate an issue with them appearing to tank in 2012. Not sure why.

Momma G

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

And who is going to be the principal at Carpenter Elementary School? Don't tell me it will be Charles Davis, after he was suspended? If that is the case, I will be glad to get rid of our home in AA so that we don't have to contribute any $$ to AAPS!


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 7:02 p.m.

With all the cutbacks and money thrown out the window at all the Superintendents who have left the AAPS I would like to know why we hired Principals from outside the AAPS team? Surely there are qualified individuals within the current system that could have been appointed to the two positions that went to candidates from outside? That might have allowed some changes within the structure to absord the cutbacks. I find the entire hiring process in this district to be questionable. I do wish the newly appointed Principals the best of luck.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 6:07 p.m.

Three more pensions we'll be on the hook for in the near future...........nobody should be able to retire on the public dime until they reach the age that the rest of us can collect social security


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 3:03 a.m.

Do you really want grumpy old, tired people working with your kids? The job is crazy demanding. Let them out to pasture and bring in new blood, new energy, new ideas.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

Mr. Park taught my kids at Logan. Top-notch teacher and great volleyball player!


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

Any word on Northside? I know many families chose inter-district transfers away from Northside for this fall, again. I expect Northside to slip below 200 students this coming year.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

I was informed by a AAPS Trustee that it currently takes five years and on average $500,000 in legal costs to fire a bad principal. However, if this school has lost 250 students at $9,020 each, that is $2,225,000 *per year* in revenue lost. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what the administration should do. Their inability to manage is appalling!


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 12:25 a.m.

What is the perception of the teachers at Northside? Do parents like them? Or is there a split of who is the "better" teacher to have at each grade level?


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 12:04 a.m.

I don't want to see the school closed, but I am sure that is the plan - they will write it off to cost savings as part of 're-districting' - hopefully someone will lease it as a charter or k-8, it is a large building, it has a second floor. I wish the board would get their head out of the sand and go from reaction mode to action mode - they should consider that all the schools of choice - like Community and Ann Arbor Open - have waiting lists a mile long - that means that there is interest in this type of education in Ann Arbor. But instead, they continue to let failing principals and programs drag neighborhoods down. They should be doing more of what works, and cutting what doesn't, and fast.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 10:12 p.m.

Dear Trying. I'd like to think so, but firing principals is not something AAPS does for poor performance. If Northside is closed, that principal will end up at Balas with a desk job for a high principal's salary, unfortunately.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 9:49 p.m.

Perhaps that is the plan. Natural selection. I bet the school closes next year.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 9:19 p.m.

Totally agree. It's ludicrous to keep Northside at full staff with falling enrollment and probably the lowest enrollment among all the K-5 elementaries. Close it down and let the students go elsewhere. Fire the principal.

Ned Racine

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

Seriously - Would the last person to leave Northside please turn out the lights? From 450 students to under 200. Could it be the principal? Nah...


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

I really wonder if Chuck Hatt's selection to be a building principal was such a good idea. He's been AAPS's Literacy Curriculum Coordinator for more than a decade, and how good a job are AAPS schools doing teaching reading and writing when compared to students across the nation via the NAEP? Or even to other Michigan districts via the MEAP? When the cut-scores were raised to show a truer picture of "college or career readiness", our students did better than the state average, but not very well against the more-realistic standards. My experiences with him in the Literacy role have definitely not shown him to have particularly strong managerial or leadership skills. Mr. Hatt talks a great game in meetings, but there have been no results at all on two of the three issues I've approached him about. Is this the kind of performance we should look for in a building principal? Or is this "Balas protecting their own"?

Wake Up A2

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

" Administrative certification is not required in Michigan." As of the Granholm era it is..... There are 5 teachers at one high school alone that have the certificate and the experience more then Chuck, yet they didn't get an interview...... I find that interesting....


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 3:08 a.m.

Mr. Hatt has a ton of experience in education. If Balas was "protecting their own," he would have been hired the last time he interviewed. If not for his dedication to Ann Arbor, he would have been hired away years ago. We are lucky that did not happen. Administrative certification is not required in Michigan.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

I also couldn't tell is Mr. Hatt has had any experience being a principal or assistant principal. I'm curious about the decision to place him at Burns Park, a school known for high parent involvement. In addition, I couldn't tell if he has an administrative certification (he doesn't according to the MI teacher verification online system).


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

Any updates on the principal situation at Carpenter Elementary? The last I heard the principal was on paid administrative leave. That situation needs to get resolved quickly and decisively.....we cannot afford to keep people on the payroll who are not actively contributing to the education of our children.

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

Piledriver, I just asked district officials about this yesterday and it appears Charles Davis is still on paid administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation involving harassment claims. This is the last update and most recent information I've been able to obtain, but I am trying to stay on top of that position: There has been no clear statement of when the investigation will be completed. But thanks for reading and asking the question!

Wake Up A2

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

I find it interesting that one of the new principals came from balas where the program he ran saw the biggest cut in teachers. I also find it interesting that he doesn't have the same/correct level of education to hold his new job. So all the other candidates who were told they didn't hold the correct education should now sue? That would go back several years....... Seems the good ole boy network is at work again.

Basic Bob

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 3:05 a.m.

Those extra qualifications don't seem to bring any value to the position. 20 years in the district counts for something.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

What level of education or what specific qualifications does Chuck Hatt lack to be a building principal? I haven't seen any notable success in improving AAPS's literacy or social studies curricula during the past 10-15 years of his tenure, but I doubt it's due to a lack of degrees in Education or Educational Administration among the reasons for that.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

I wish these three principals well and what follows is not a dig at any of them. I don't understand why the administration did not take the opportunity to consolidate some of the administrative position and start the process of principal sharing. Hiring 3 more administrators while laying off teachers seems a poor use of money. The fact that there will be a new superintendent before the school year starts, leads me to believe the new superintendent with their hands tied to start, short of layoffs.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 6:06 p.m.

Bob - I am aware of several districts that do and do so successfully. AAPS principals spend as few as 15 hours a week in their buildings according to comments from their office staff members (the time varies by principal). I don't see an issue with Principal sharing given the depth and knowledge of the office staff in most elementary buildings.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Principal "sharing" does not work. Principals actually have a lot of responsibilities; "sharing" them results in them being too stretched to be effective. It makes more sense to close a few smaller schools.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

It is unfortunate that the BOE continues to ignore sound advice and really, do what they want with total disregard to basic education principles. Teachers teach our children. Most others should be support to this process. But, the BOE believes in a top heavy organization. So sad! Go figure!


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

Best of luck to the three new principals. All three are very interesting choices.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 2:13 a.m.

They certainly have their work cut out for them!