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Posted on Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

Brian Osborne turns down Ann Arbor schools' superintendent job

By Danielle Arndt

Previous coverage:

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comments from Deb Mexicotte and Glenn Nelson.

Brian Osborne has turned down the Ann Arbor school board's offer to become the next superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools, the district announced in an email Sunday.

In declining the job, Osborne cited "a developing family issue," concerns about moving his family from the East Coast and a desire to finish what he had started at his district in New Jersey, school board President Deb Mexicotte said in a statement.


Brian Osborne

Some members of the community began to grow anxious last week when the district had not received a definitive response from Osborne about the job offer. Many suggested that meant he did not intend to accept the superintendency and criticized Osborne for what they interpreted as a lack of forethought — making it to the final round of interviews without being prepared to commit.

Mexicotte told Sunday she was disappointed that the district would not be able to work with Osborne because she thought he "had a lot to offer Ann Arbor." But she was not disappointed by how the process unfolded, she said.

"Searches by their nature are fluid and ... I've been through a lot of searches and the thing that people often forget is that it needs to be a match on both sides," she said. "Everybody enters the process with the best of intentions in looking for that right fit, but all the right pieces have to come together in order for the fit to be mutually beneficial."

Trustee Glenn Nelson admitted to being disappointed with the way the process turned out. However, Nelson said, if Osborne doesn't think he is a good fit for the district, "then it's better to know today than to have plunged in and have learned 18 to 24 months from now that it's not working out."

Read the text of the email, sent by district spokeswoman Liz Margolis, below:

The President of the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education, Deb Mexicotte, was informed on Saturday by Dr. Brian Osborne that he has decided to decline the offer to become the district's next Superintendent.

"Dr. Osborne shared with me that due to a developing family issue, concerns about moving his family from the East coast and his desire to continue the work he has started in his current district, he has declined our offer," said Mexicotte. "While this is disappointing, the entire Board of Education was prepared for this possible outcome and will meet as soon as possible to plan the next steps in this process. Whatever those steps might be, the leadership in place in our district continues to have our support and confidence. Staff will be welcomed back in August, prepared and ready for the new school year. Students and families can be assured that the district leadership team, principals and teachers will be well prepared to welcome them back on September 3rd," Mexicotte continued. "I also want to wish Dr. Osborne, his family and his district all the best in the future."

Dr. Osborne issued a prepared statement that is being shared with both the Ann Arbor community and the South Orange/Maplewood community. He talks about the "thorough, professional, and transparent selection process" led by the AAPS Board of Education and that his decision was not an "easy" one.

The Ann Arbor community will be informed of the Board of Education if a meeting is able to be scheduled prior to the next posted Regular Meeting of the Board on August 14.

Statement from Dr. Osborne to the Ann Arbor Community:

"The Ann Arbor Board of Education conducted a thorough, professional, and transparent selection process. The entire school community is fortunate to have such dedicated public servants who are clearly committed to providing a great education to every child. I am humbled and honored by the confidence the Board and community have expressed, and appreciative of the learning opportunity that such a rigorous process provided. After deep reflection and deliberation, I have decided to decline Ann Arbor's offer and recommit to the unfinished work in my current district.

This was not an easy decision. When approached about the superintendency of Ann Arbor, I responded because Ann Arbor embodies the qualities and values that originally drew me to the South Orange Maplewood School District (SOMSD), and have made the work there so meaningful. They are both communities that cherish public education, value diversity, and are willing to address issues of race, class, and student outcomes. For our nation to make good on its promise of equal opportunity, all children must be fully challenged and supported, and leadership must ensure that diverse districts like these achieve equity and excellence for all kids.

For the past few weeks, I have been touched and inspired by the numerous and meaningful demonstrations of support for the work we are doing in SOMSD. I feel that the biggest contribution to public education that I can make at this time is to harness the momentum we have created in SOMSD and accelerate the progress we are making toward truly preparing all students for the myriad challenges they will face in college and career. We have a strong beginning to that journey in SOMSD, and much unfinished work in motion.

There are also family considerations that influence my decision to stay in SOMSD. While Ann Arbor is a place we would be happy to make our home, the timing of this move would have a major impact on my family, including two young children whose upbringing is my highest priority. In addition, over the past few weeks, the medical condition of an ailing family member has intensified, compelling us to stay on the East Coast.

I have appreciated getting to know the Ann Arbor community. Ann Arbor itself is clearly a wonderful and supportive place to live and raise a family. The district has enormous strengths that will help it overcome the formidable challenges that lie ahead. These characteristics reminded me of my commitment to overcoming similar challenges in SOMSD. I appreciate your consideration and offer. I wish you well in finding the best possible person to help move your district forward."

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



Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 10:49 p.m.

great job AAPS.I don't see any reason anybody with any sense would take this job.There are just 2 masny pitfalls.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

I think it's ridiculous to assert that Osborne was playing games or whatever to raise his salary in NJ. The application and interview process is quite time-consuming for a job like this and by all accounts he was extremely well-prepared. I think he was always interested in the job but in the end, seriously considered the ramifications of moving his family to a town that chews up and spits out superintendents in a couple years. He does not want to have to be in a position to move his kids again in 3 years when they are in middle school and high school. They love him in NJ so why take a risk and move to Ann Arbor? Don't think I would.

Roger Kuhlman

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

Another example of mismanagement and poor decision-making by the Ann Arbor Board of Education. What else is new?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

This appears to be nothing but a clever ploy by Brian Osborne to boost his super's pay in New Jersey. Ann Arbor's libs certainly know how to pick the winners.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

@ Jack Panitch-- Thank you for objecting to Cibachrome's claim that Dr. Osborne's refusal letter was truncated in local reporting: Jack Panitch: "If that's your reference, nothing has been 'truncated.' You are mixing two different sources, his letter to the Board and Kellie Woodhouse's live blog entries." It is true that AA has had 5 supers in 10 years, and also apparently true that Dr. Osborne said *in his interview for the superintendent position* something to the effect that it might be difficult for a super to stay for a long time given the kinds of difficult decisions that need to be made in AA. Those are both important substantive observations that we as a district need to thoughtfully consider. However, those observations apparently did NOT appear in Dr. Osborne's refusal letter, and to claim that they did would therefore seem to be inaccurate and potentially to not reflect well on the professionalism of the candidate. Such comments simply are typically not included in refusal letters. Why claim something that is inaccurate, when the two *excellent* citations have plenty of clout as they stand:


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

Which is of course why a "live blog" of something as important as an interview for a professional position is probably not the best reporting medium, and, if we like to learn from experience, perhaps should not be permitted next protect the reputation of the candidate and to ensure the integrity of the process.

Jack Panitch

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

The problem is that the one source is not reliable for the purpose in which it is being cited. The material from the NJ publication is at best a paraphrase of something taken out of its original context. Kellie wasn't reporting word-for-word, and a lot of what Brian Osborne said was simply lost. There's a recording of the initial part of his interview available on Ruth Kraut's blog, but the material Cibachrome refers to isn't included in that recording.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

No "plan B", eh?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

I don't understand why the Board is disappointed in the candidate. The purpose of the interview process is to determine whether there is a fit and concurrence between the employer and the candidate. If candidates felt that accepting an interview means you are committed to taking the job, well, there will be a lot fewer candidates. Although AA believes it has this sterling reputation around the world, maybe once the candidate actually SAW AA he decided ... Nope, not for me. And I hate to tell you, but go to any of the other "lands of arrogance" and ask about AA, you aren't going to hear what you want. Ask at Palo Alto, Berkeley, Boulder, Cambridge, etc....


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:51 a.m.

Here's my reference: Its his live blog reported HERE. also, check this out: he definitely would not fit in here. He donated his 3% raises to a charity program starting in 2009. His salary was reported to be $200,086 per year. So 'Deb', how much are you going to donate because of the mess created by your board? Once you read the second reference, you will know why he changed his mind. He walks the talk.

Jack Panitch

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 10:13 a.m.

If that's your reference, nothing has been "truncated." You are mixing two different sources, his letter to the Board and Kellie Woodhouse's live blog entries. The article you cite paraphrases Kelly's blog entries, and Kellie was doing a great job of broadcasting concepts but wasn't getting much word-for-word. She's not a court reporter, and the stuff was coming fast and furious. Anyway, your reference does not support the idea that his letter to us has been "truncated."

Jack Panitch

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:15 a.m.

The structure of the finalist interviews -- presentation of the 90-day entry plans and specific Q and A about same -- appeared well-geared to weed out any candidate not highly motivated to win (and accept) the job. The candidates weren't just coming back for a second interview: each candidate had a week to develop a ninety-day entry plan. Dr. Osborne had a SOMA school board meeting to prepare for the Monday immediately preceding the Wednesday he presented his plan. He did a huge amount of homework to prepare for his semi-finalist interview and put a chunk of additional time into his 90-day plan. Moreover, the day of the finalist presentations was a marathon for each candidate. I won't speculate about what motivated the candidate to put himself through this exercise. But I will say that nothing about the process seemed questionable practice, especially in light of the requirements of the Open Meetings Act.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:55 a.m.

I hope that Deb Mexicotte inquired of Dr. Osborn about how the Ann Arbor school district can improve its educational system and improve its search for a new Superintendent. If Dr. Osborn can provide any useful suggestions then the search was not a total waste.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:57 a.m.

"But wait, there's more. In the rest of his letter (which seems to have been truncated locally), he notes that Ann Arbor school district has had 5 supers in the last 10 years and that in his opinion it takes 10 years to grow and develop a district. He also doubted whether the Ann Arbor school board could swallow the difficult changes necessary to accomplish financial and other goals. He's been more open to you, but apparently the truth hurts. 5 in the last 10 years. Maybe you should just rent a school superintendent." This information was posted by another commenter on this thread. Why wasn't it included in the article? It explains a lot. The current board wasn't able to make the necessary budget cuts in the last 5 years leading to the current financial crisis. Osborne is right. The board would not be able to accept the necessary cuts to accomplish the financial realities. Smart guy. Good luck finding someone who can deal with the impending cuts that no one wants to accept.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

JRW: Very misleading of you to say that his letter had not been published in its entirety.

Mich Res and Alum

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

You cannot be serious, can you? If so, let me just inform you that "The Onion" is a satirical media outlet and their stories are not true, lest you end up on


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:51 a.m.

I'm sure it came down to a combination of the family not wanting to move to a smaller area, the politics of the position for AAPS, pressure from his home district to stay, and possibly also the bankruptcy of Detroit (which may have implications at the state level for school budgets, etc). All in all a good decision for someone from out of the area with options.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:45 a.m.

"All in all a good decision for someone from out of the area with options," stated above. I agree. Dr. Osborne in light of all the issues you cited above, made the best decision for him and his family. Michigan frankly is a mess right now, no matter how deep folks wish to bury their heads in the sand with an, "Its not our city, township, village, country, school district" type of attitude. Folks from outside Michigan see what's going on and prefer to stay out of it, rather than join into the mayhem that has been displayed.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:13 a.m.

Not good. Did they already close the door on candidate #2????


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:40 a.m.


Jack Gladney

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:19 a.m.

Did the topic of snack offerings at board meetings come up during the interview process? Maybe, just maybe if...


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:01 a.m.

Do we really really "need" a superintendent? Will not having a superintendent cause student learning to cease?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

Embarrassing for AAPS to be rejected. Let's wait 6 months and use this time to regroup as a district, get the BOE on the same page, solve some of our issues, and then bring in someone new. What's the rush? The staff really does not need an opening day speaker. Slow the process. Get the wish list for a desired candidate in order.

Samantha D.

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

And the opening day speech is usually not inspiring anyways. :/


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:42 p.m.

Maybe they could go for an internal candidate this time? Naw, that's crazy talk.

J. A. Pieper

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:09 a.m.

There is no internal candidate qualified for the job. But, if AAPS decides to do this, I am sure we will find out soon enough!


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

A lot of whining and second guessing going on here. Why not just accept his statements as being true and move on. If someone knows only the industrial side of New Jersey then they don't know New Jersey. There are many reasons that I could think of that would convince him that he should keep his family there. As someone else said, better that he makes the decision not to come now rather than not to stay 18 months from now.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:31 a.m.

Maybe he was seriously considering until he had to deal with the BOE in action?

Glenn Galler

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:11 p.m.

I don't see why he couldn't have lined up his ducks before taking Ann Arbor this far down the road.

Momma G

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

Saw this coming! Don't know why he wasted the school districts time and money. His wife didn't want to move here and his kids would have adjusted, probably better than their mom.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

Where did you read that his wife didn't want to move here?

Shawn Letwin

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 10:43 p.m.

It is unfortunate that Osborne who had competed to the very end as a viable candidate found reasons not to take the job. Although each of us may have an opinion as to what shouldn't have happened, there was a lot that should have happened and DID happen. In about five weeks, the doors of the school rooms will be open, the children eager to learn, and a community will show that it does care. Just short of Osborne not taking the job, like I said, there was a whole lot more that did happen which should have happened over a very short period of time. Keep building on the things that were done right and the right candidate will be the next superintendent.

Roger Kuhlman

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

We might get the 'right' candidate for the next superintendent but we will still have the wrong BOE.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 10:34 p.m.

This has really played out full circle now. The BOE was too eager and gushing, like a desperate spinster looking for a prince. Osborne emerges via the S.M. newspaper seizing control of his public image after a week of careful deliberation, telling his East Coast audience, that he is more of a prince than they previously thought. Another S. Maple forum mentioned he already applied and was rejected from the Jersey City Superintendent job. Osborne has taken his time and is working to hold on to his professional reputation. He will complete another year in N. Jersey and then try to move up on the East Coast after using Ann Arbor as a stage to impress a large audience. Commenters here, including a board member, I believe, state that Ann Arbor people (not sure who they are) approached him, asking him to interview. Again, the dynamics are similar to a desperate parent trying to arrange a marriage for an undesirable child. The BOE was willing to pay anything to take the undesirable off their hands, while touting how great the district is for the first 45 minutes of every board meeting with awards, better scheduled for another time, and dodging their responsibilities as "parents" of the district to take meaningful steps to air and fix the many serious problems that are hurting students and staff members in every building. The BOE should not be in charge of the next steps, but a committee of competent citizens should be assembled to do a search that does not involve Ray and Associates, but is credible and has integrity ....and less public display of blind fawning and emotional desperation.

Glenn Galler

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

I would like to see an estimate of how much money was spent to date to get to this point in the process. With school budgets being cut and teachers being laid off, it is sad to think this guy could let A2 select him without having a commitment from his own family to move to A2. He had some responsibility in this and he let A2 down and wasted a lot of time and money in the process. He has left A2 with only 4 weeks to go before the school year begins. I think he was very selfish and letting this process continue for as long as it did.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:50 p.m.

You can blame Dr. Green and Ms. Mexicotte for that.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.

Why did he even apply for the job when he knew that there could be problems about his family moving to Michigan?!?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:13 a.m.

Greed. To get more money, at least for now, from his current district.

Boo Radley

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

At this point, the board should just offer a minimum one year contract to the current deputy and see what kind of job he does in the coming year. It just may turn out that the best candidate was here all along.

Chester Drawers

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

You can't actually say that Mr. Comsa is in THE #2 position, because we have 2 deputy superintendents in AA. Comsa handles HR and Legal, and Dr. Flye handles Instruction. We need a superintendent with depth in both of these areas and, more importantly, someone who can deal with the financial mess we are in.

Boo Radley

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

I don't know anything about him, but if he is unqualified, he should not be in the #2 position.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:50 p.m.


Ron Burgandy

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

You really have to question the sanity of anyone who would want either the job as Ann Arbor School Superintendent or as Mayor of the City of Detroit.

C. Montgomery Burns

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:06 p.m.

Superintendent Gary Chalmers of the Springfield School District is the obvious next choice.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.



Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:04 p.m.

His family could not accept the notion of living in a city which flaunts its fantasy as a "tree town" yet serves out money for foreign artwork over trees, transportation, police and fire. A city with a reputation like that is often called 'wonderland'. Isn't that so, Alice? It may not ever be bankrupt, but its policies and philosophies already are. Your School Board desperately needs some new DNA.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:54 p.m.

Disappointing, but it's becoming increasingly common to use outside offers to improve your own situation at your current institution. I don't know about school superintendents, but in academia it's increasingly the norm. I suspect that the relative meager pay increases over the last few years have something to do with it. When 5% raises were the norm, it was possible to reward a high performer with let's say 8% increases for a few years, while an underachiever would get only 2%. So after three years, you have about a 20% spread between the two guys, based on performance. In today's salary environment, you'll get perhaps a 5% spread in that ime. So the only wayto get that salary bump that reflects your high performance is to go out nd get an offer elsewhere, which is typically 20% higher than your current salary. And your current institution has to match it, or you'll leave. And, in most cases, they have o, or they'd be stuck with only the underachievers. It's a game that plays itself out that way quite often, unfortunately.

Blue Dog Red

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 10:38 a.m.

A very good point. Very true at the U.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

It also sets him up nicely for his next interview, since he is "too good" for Ann Arbor.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

Now you see why UM keeps their President searches private.

Jack Panitch

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:29 a.m.

Under the Open Meetings Act, the interviews and choices have to be done in the public view. I don't know what exempts the UofM from this law, but I'm pretty sure that the AAPS is not exempt. So, I definitely see your point about the advantage of doing things behind closed doors, but BOE trustees can't do that without violating OMA.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:25 a.m.

Fair point!

Top Cat

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

I'll take the job. If they liked Mr. Osborne's accent they will like mine even better.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

It's just too bad we don't have any qualified educated professionals in Ann Arbor! I guess we did not make that list!


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:17 a.m.

Don I was referring to the endless top ten list always published here. I know we have numerous persons capable of doing this job, that would have already invested their lives here.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

jcj - We don't know who did and did not apply, the full list is secret. Two local candidates made the list for interviews. What we don't know is who else local was on the initial list of applicants. So we don't know if there were people who were local who were not interviewed from the list.

Danielle Arndt

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:34 p.m.

The South Orange-Maplewood Patch posted a story today as well about Osborne's decision that was recently updated with this quote from the NJ BOE president: "The Board is thrilled that Dr. Osborne has decided to stay in South Orange-Maplewood. ... Many Board members, including myself, had numerous conversations with him over the last several weeks urging him to stay. I'm pleased to see that Dr. Osborne's statement reflects the focus of these discussions and his commitment to continue the important work that we have underway in our district." Read the Patch story here:


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

Isn't it arrogant to name yourself "voice of reason"? Just saying. And, our neighbors in Saline are killing us academically. They are graduating more students, AND, more importantly, they have the highest rate of HS graduates who GRADUATE FROM COLLEGE! AND - Saline gets MUCH less per pupil than Ann Arbor - a "hold harmless" district of Proposal A!


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:40 a.m.

Good point Bob. I agree. Our particular school seems so focused on equity issues that that was the only reason I was aware of that my kids had so many subs, aside from teacher illness, funerals, and doing the individual reading tests with kids. I'm guessing certain schools focus on it more than others. Either way, we hired highly qualified teachers and the number of hours subs spend with the kids while these highly qualified teachers are in meetings means we are not getting our money's worth.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:05 a.m.

@aamom, The problem is less with the equity meetings and more with the scheduling. Why it is necessary to pull a teacher out of the classroom for a day of presentations on ANY subject is beyond me.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:53 a.m.

They save a lot of time and money by not focusing on the achievement gap all the time. If we could get back all the substitute teacher hours my kids have had while their teachers were at "equity meetings" (with no visible improvements in the classroom, I might add) I'm sure the majority of the class would be performing even better. Some subs are okay, but mostly it is lost education time.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:29 p.m.

Do you think demographics have ANYTHING to do with that? Saline makes CHS look diverse!


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

It is bewildering to me that people continue to attribute differences in test scores, grad rates, etc to school quality, while completely ignoring all socioeconomic, racial, and family systems factors.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:06 p.m.

This guy does have a brain!


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason. He didn't want AA, and we didn't need him. Next!


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

I agree. You drink and drive you will get in an accident sooner or later. You play with fire you will get burned sooner or later. You try to drag someone here from another part of the country and they will not stay long, if they come! Saying things happen for a reason is true, but it is also a convenient excuse!


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

If there are any relatively local candidates with experience, who were not "asked to leave" other districts, get a different search firm to find them. I agree with the January 1 start date. The BOE needs to review ALL applicants, and not rush to a decision. Quit slobbering over applicants. Seriously.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

Something Groucho Marx said about not wanting to belong to any club that would have him as a member comes to mind.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

As I've stated several times before, the job offer should have been made with a deadline, given that a contract would then be negotiated. Start again. Have DonBee determine the criteria and lead the process.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

How much did the search firm charge ? How much will they return to AAPS due to their failure? Twice. Their vetting process is professionally unacceptable. Swift is the only saving grace for the firm and the BOE. She would probably still take the job., too Sure, she is number two. But number one choked so is one still preferred?. Assuming she can start right away, and suffer the ugly noise of critics like self for awhile, being the embattled underdog could prove to be advantageous for such a horendous mess as the AAPS is in. A continuously positive, patient, and matronly drive to "fairly" solve the structural finances while gently steering backstabbers and naysayers into cooperation or out the back door and then circle the humanist wagons around to wage war against the outsiders (Napolean) might draw in a majority "team" that actually works to cement her administration as being the best choice after all. Everyone will chide and test the underdog but if the underdog succeeds the public is enamoured (ie. Reagan). Of course the BOE could pull another "not our fault and we know better than peons" and repeat the process all over again - with the same search firm no doubt.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

Just as likely that we are the failure, not Ray. Sorry that they can't find someone both smart enough to do the job and dumb enough to want it.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

Whenever I interview a candidate in the private sector, I always ask them what about THIS job interests you, what about THIS company, and what about THIS location (even of the candidate is local). They seem like pro forma questions, but the authenticity of the answers is very telling. That said, interviewing is also a two-way street. The applicant is interviewing the employer even as much as the employer is interviewing them. The more disturbing element to me is what a qualified, experienced administrator saw here that he didn't like and didn't think he could fix.

Jack Panitch

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Sorry: that should be @Kara

Jack Panitch

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:20 a.m.

@Kate -- the Board asked this question of all candidates. July 8, 2013, Deb Mexicotte: "What is it about Ann Arbor that specifically makes you want to make this change at this time in your professional career?" Brian Osborne: "So, Ann Arbor is a place where I think public education is at its best. You've got progressive core values in a community that is oriented toward taking care of all kids. You've got great outcomes for a very many kids. You are struggling with achievement gaps that are pernicious and lasting that are in the 40, even 50, percentage points on any given metric which is a concern and something that I'm really committed to work on and have been working hard on in my current job. You're also a place where as what I think Christine [Stead] called in her blog "a donor district" got some really serious financial challenges ahead of you which will I think in the next three to five years really define what public education is about, not only in the State of Michigan, but Ann Arbor, as such a leader across the nation sort of where public education goes in the United States. Also, I'm a dad. I've got kids who are going into third grade and sixth grade, so I have been looking at potential places as a parent where I would be able to live, work, lead, become part of the community, send my kids to school, and Ann Arbor is just the kind of place that resonates with me. A lot of similarities with South Orange Maplewood, a lot of similarities with Oak Park Illinois where I grew up. Also, the University, I think, just adds a level of incredible opportunity and excitement, there are such incredibly strong thinkers there, and I've learned a lot from Deborah Ball from [inaudible name] who has moved on, but there's other people in that university which really, I think, make its connection and potential for thinking through what education needs to become really, really strong."


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

Could it be the controversial Superintendent of Syosset P.S. from NY who just resigned under the pressure of an 18 YO student being elected to the School Board and asking lots of valid money questions? She was there for years until Josh was elected and started asking questions. I know she is looking for a place to go and would be a perfect fit for the secret politics that plague the area inside the freeway ring. I'm just curious if she will pop her head up in this circle of applicants. She would fit right in. Something tells me a surprise is about to be sprung on A2 who ever it may be.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

If the board is smart, they will start over. They will start by developing 3 or 4 key criteria for the next superintendent - not 30 or 40. Then they will take out an Ad that lists those criteria, not a salary range. They will take time to actually walk through all the applications that come in, instead of letting an outside firm do the vetting and make a decision based on an open public process (like made the last one). If it were mine to do, I would set a start date of 1 January for the new Superintendent, setting an expectation that can be met and time to let the process work. But, it is not mine to do, and I suspect the board will now be in a pants on fire hurry.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

You're killin' me right now. Best laugh I had all day. You expect this out of OUR school board?

Linda Peck

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

Let's try to find someone close to home who is committed to our town. It just make so much more sense.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

Is there a compelling reason why the Deputy Superintendent is not promoted to Superintendent? It seems the logical thing to do and would have saved a lot of money thrown away on paying a search firm and the interviewing/vetting process. I've lived here for a very long time and have always felt that Ann Arbor is really full of itself. This is just a small city like so many in this country. We're really not that special like we'd like to think. Time for a reality check and for Ann Arbor to get over itself. AAPS is not the University of Michigan, they're just our neighbor.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

Questions for the AAPS Board to consider following Dr. Osborne's decision: 1). Did the current state of closing Public School Districts in Michigan, play into Dr. Osborne's decision? 2). Financing for Michigan Public Schools in general is in flux. Ann Arbor, Brighton and former Ypsilanti/Willow Run P.S. either has reported or formerly had financial issues and ran deficits. Does New Jersey Governmental use different financial guidelines (besides Proposal A) to finance its' Public Schools? If so, did this play a factor in Dr. Osborne's decision? 3). Does nearby major city of Detroit's Bankruptcy play any factor into Dr. Osborne's decision? Studies of other municipalities (Jefferson County, AL, Stockton and Alameda, CA) provide statistical evidence property values, wages and other financial matters are impacted in other communities --outside or nearby the Chapter 9 municipality declaring bankruptcy. 4). Did Michigan's Right to Work Law have any factor in Dr. Osborne's decision? Years ahead will provide evidence if the RTW law could lead to exodus of educated families (and by result their children) from Michigan, resulting in a decline of median wages. Teachers can and some will opt-out of representation dues, yet will still expect under the Taft-Harley Act disciplinary action representation by the union. Maybe Dr. Osborne preferred not to deal with the uncertainties surrounding this law. 5). Finally, comparison on the next Superintendent candidates should be performed how K-12 education is financed in their respective states versus Michigan P.S. fiscal and public statutory laws. How are charter schools regulated in the candidates' states? Along with how many charter schools exist in the candidates' states in comparison to Michigan currently and in the future?


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

Well Claude, it appears you agree with Governor Snyder's point of view about the State of AAPS: "According to reports, Snyder was asked whether the budget crisis and massive cuts on the table in Ann Arbor indicate the state's funding model for public education needs reform. Snyder said funding issues should be discussed in the next few years, according to an Associated Press report, but blamed declining enrollment and bad financial planners in some districts, citing the Ann Arbor Public Schools' decision in 2004 to build Skyline High School — despite knowing negative demographic trends." The AAPS disagreed with the Governor's line of thought: "But AAPS Communications Director Liz Margolis said Snyder's depiction of declining enrollment and poor planning for the future in Ann Arbor is "absolutely not true." She said across all grades, Ann Arbor schools enrollment has remained stable throughout the past 10 years, with even a little bit of an increase in total enrollment across all grades." Wonder did this back and forth between the Governor and AAPS play any factor in Dr. Osborne's decision to decline the offer, along with any of the factors mentioned above. Quotes cited are from this June 7, 2013 Ann article:

Claude Kershner

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:08 p.m.

Reality check Ypsi: the Ann Arbor Board of Ed's incompetence is not reflective of legislative policy. They blew this one entirely on their own.

Jack Gladney

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

I am sure that unions strong-arming employees for their dues money was at least number two on Brian Osborne's list of "real" concerns wiith taking the post. We need to repeal RTW before we hire or lose more anymore superintendents.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.

Those are great questions, but none can be addressed by our local Board of Education.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

What an embarrassment for everyone involved.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:07 a.m.

It was a free repeat search, and a big waste of time. Yeah, it's kind of a big deal to have to do it over. Again.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:16 p.m.

Not at all. We weren't the right fit for him and number two might work out fine. Or number three. It's no big deal (except for the expense).

Jack Gladney

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:15 p.m.

To quote the famous World War II naval radio operator, Phineas J. Farkwau, " . . . - - - . . . "


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

I think that he was fishing for more pay from his district and showed them that he was looking elsewhere. He had a spouse who didn't want to move and young children to consider before he even applied. It all comes down to the money - corporate greed even in education and our board just keeps feeding fuel to that fire.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:06 a.m.

Unless that pay cut is repealed. if not, Osborne may suddenly find himself having "completed the work he started", and job shopping.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:15 p.m.

Shopping around and "fishing for more pay" is what millions of Americans do all the time. It's part of our freedom. It's naive to call it greed.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

@bluejunk: You realize that his pay increase is only for this year, right? Next year he gets around a $50,000 pay cut.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

"It all comes down to the money - corporate greed" Wait - wouldn't you have to be part of a "corporation" to have "corporate greed"? Otherwise, isn't it just "greed"? But what the hey, if you can blame the corporations for this, feel free. Somehow we can probably hang it on Snyder and global warming too.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:50 p.m.

Corporate greed? Your hatred has made you completely irrational. How 13 people gave your ranting a "thumbs up" I don't know. It isn't "greedy" to make as much money as you can. So long as you do so in an ethical manner there is no issue. Obviously for aspiring autocrats like you it is. But for us liberal-minded folks it isn't.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

I certainly hope the school board restarts the process than try to make a deal with candidate Number 2. I just don't believe her mojo would fit with the community.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

@Jack Gladney, i always thought of Mrs Costanza and the "The Doll" episode with her, lol.

Jack Gladney

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

Agreed. When I hear her voice I think, "George Costanza's mother." Bad vibes.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

I am not so surprised when this extended beyond 72 hours. After all, there are real housewives from New Jersey (professional career women as well) who would find Ann Arbor a wee bit lacking. In Maplewood, you're only 6 miles from Mr. Taubman's fabulous Short Hills Mall. In Ann Arbor, it's nearly 50 miles to Forbes/Cohen Somerset Mall, meh.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 9:53 a.m.

Yes. Access to a top notch mall is, without question, keeping upper tier candidates from our reach.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

What should be our top 3 criteria?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

Local, local and local


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:51 p.m.

Thanks for a great and productive question. Mine are: Previous similar experience with a large district, have a plan to address funding issues, have gone through re-districting or one of our other "biggies" that are upcoming. And for the record, I think the "second place" candidate will do just fine.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

Local, Local, Local


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

The search firm Ray & Associates should never be contracted with again. They should have done a better job of vetting. Positions at this level are always going to involve family decisions and the potential for counter offers from the current employer. This is a huge black eye for Ray & Associates, the BoE, and Osborne. Osborne should now be stuck forever where he is, the BoE should all go away and Ray & Associates should be out of business.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

@nick, so in fact if you live in Ann Arbor, is their anything positive about our fair City? You seem to have a negative pull on just about anything. Bottom line is, Osborne will come to realize over the years that he blew a golden opportunity. If he could be swayed by an outpouring from his community then we do not need him. Anyone that is any good will encounter this because of selfishness of their community but they also need to recognize opportunity may only come knocking once.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

" It does not appear from anything written that Osborne discovered anything to sour him on the position other than cold feet and a a desire to stay in his comfort zone." Keep telling yourself that.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:32 a.m.

@nick & km...Ray is specifically at fault. Had they done a complete and thorough vetting they would have discovered the family issues and also prepared the BoE for any counters from his current district. This is not a forced position and should have only included candidates that in good faith if offered the job would take it. It does not appear from anything written that Osborne discovered anything to sour him on the position other than cold feet and a a desire to stay in his comfort zone.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:12 p.m.

This is no black eye for Ray & ASsociates. There is no way to know all about a candidate until the process is underway. There is also no way to know how pleased a candidate will be once he/she starts digging in and gathering more information.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

"Osborne should now be stuck forever where he is, the BoE should all go away and Ray & Associates should be out of business." And I want a pony! A2 is not the mob - people can say no to their offers. No good talent would ever agree to be forced into a position. You seem to want an arrangement where merely submitting an application and interviewing obligates him to accept.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

What's the incentive for anyone to be an educator in Michigan? The climate in Michigan in unwelcoming to education and the state puts limits (with proposal A) on local funding of districts. There are students who need educators in every other state - why come to Michigan?

Roger Kuhlman

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

Spending more money on education is not going to do anything except make teachers and teacher unions more wealthy. I think they are doing well enough today. That can't be said of the majority of the rest of the population who do not get special privileges and more than adequate compensation like they do.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:20 a.m.

eom I beg to differ. By interviewing he essentially applied. Just because you are recruited does not mean you don't formally apply.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

jcj What has happened since he "applied?" He has probably looked deeper into what his job would entail here and has reassessed his current situation. It happens all the time.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 10:48 p.m.

He didn't apply for the job, he was found by that great agency we hired. That being said, you make it to the top 6, I would hope you wouldn't screw us in order to find out where you stand in your own district.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

Why do anywhere, Topher? Michigan pays its teachers plenty. Just because the MEA cannot always get its way that does not mean that Michigan is hostile to teachers.(Kinda like cutting off your nose to spite your face.) The world isn't so binary, my friend.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

Topher My only question is has something changed since Mr Osborne APPLIED for the job.

Joe Hood

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:19 p.m.

Macjoint, how much money is needed? Teachers are paid the 6th highest in the nation. Seems like more of a systemic problem. In my humble opinion.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

"A Voice of Reason." Really?

A Voice of Reason

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

Thank goodness that there is a cap on Proposal A. The schools are very well funded and our teachers are paid 6th highest in the nation and our kids score 38th in math and a little higher in reading. More money is not going to solve the problem.

Claude Kershner

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

When and if the next round of interviews occur with an out of state candidate please make sure to ask the candidate if there are any concerns they have about moving and finishing the work they currently are involved in.

Jack Panitch

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:10 a.m.

@Kate -- Asked and answered. July 8, 2013, Deb Mexicotte: "What is it about Ann Arbor that specifically makes you want to make this change at this time in your professional career?" Brian Osborne: "So, Ann Arbor is a place where I think public education is at its best. You've got progressive core values in a community that is oriented toward taking care of all kids. You've got great outcomes for a very many kids. You are struggling with achievement gaps that are pernicious and lasting that are in the 40, even 50, percentage points on any given metric which is a concern and something that I'm really committed to work on and have been working hard on in my current job. You're also a place where as what I think Christine [Stead] called in her blog "a donor district" got some really serious financial challenges ahead of you which will I think in the next three to five years really define what public education is about, not only in the State of Michigan, but Ann Arbor, as such a leader across the nation sort of where public education goes in the United States. Also, I'm a dad. I've got kids who are going into third grade and sixth grade, so I have been looking at potential places as a parent where I would be able to live, work, lead, become part of the community, send my kids to school, and Ann Arbor is just the kind of place that resonates with me. A lot of similarities with South Orange Maplewood, a lot of similarities with Oak Park Illinois where I grew up. Also, the University, I think, just adds a level of incredible opportunity and excitement, there are such incredibly strong thinkers there, and I've learned a lot from Deborah Ball from [inaudible name] who has moved on, but there's other people in that university which really, I think, make its connection and potential for thinking through what education needs to become really, really strong."


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:43 p.m.

When the reporter for .com asked for questions that we wanted to be asked at the forum, I asked , "Why Michigan?", as in why do you want to move here. I don't know if that was ever asked... or answered.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

GEEZ you would think after meeting such positive and welcoming folks from Ann Arbor, and reading such positive comments on Ann that he would frantically throw his wife, kids, dogs and belongings in the car and head straight here! I feel sorry for ANYONE who takes the position of Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent. Jesus couldn't do a good enough job for all the ornery folks in Ann Arbor!


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

When they close the middle school pools where would He walk on water?

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:17 p.m.

We do expect miracles.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:23 p.m.

dbrown - I am amzed your comment was not deleted. You mention JESUS and we all know how secular this newspaper is........:)


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:18 p.m.

All true, but actually, whiners and ranters are ubiquitous in this country. It is not a specialty of Ann Arbor. If one is to have a successful career in the public sector, one must learn how to walk that fine line between ignoring most of the garbage noise thrown your way, but being responsive to whatever legitimate concerns might exist.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.

Says a lot for Mr. Osborne. He was able to assess the current situation and school board in AA and said: "No thanks, I would rather stay in Jersey". He is a smart man, that's for sure.

Superior Twp voter

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

Yep, agree. People of Ann Arbor couldn't agree that the sun comes up in the east. Like herding cats.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:06 p.m.

Maybe he even read some of the comment section.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

Is anyone uncomfortable with candidates put forth by this consulting firm ? Are we comfortable with the School board decisions as of late ? My children were well served but long gone from the Ann Arbor School System but where is the PTO leadership from individual schools ? Who would parents like to see in this role ? Where is the leadership for the Teachers ? Who would they like to see in this role ? Who would the readership like to nominate ?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:56 a.m.

We won't ever know for sure, but it's possible that Ray and dingdongs narrowed the original pool to include the best three out of state candidates, and the only three local candidates, regardless of the local candidate experience. The local candidates may have been included ONLY because they were local. Could there have been three other candidates that were better qualified to be in the top six that weren't local? We'll never know. How about the BOE look for the best SI candidate in the US, regardless if they are red, purple, or orange, as long as they really WANT the job? Not saying Swift was the right person, but at least you knew she was actively seeking out of state positions besides AA, unlike Osborne. Looks like Osborne went through he process for his own ego and a salary boost. He never intended to come here in the first place.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 10:09 p.m.

Certainly not the local candidate, unless we want to see an even quicker slide into a failing school system.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

Some local, humble person, with a passion for education, building consensus, critical thinking, and not a diva. No such person has stepped forward yet. I think the "searching" and" nominating" is backwards. The ad should be put out there, and those INTERESTED should approach the application process. A reader pointed out that this candidate was APPROACHED. We shouldn't be calling them. They should call us.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

You're kind of a one-note wonder Bob.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:39 p.m.

I nominate Dr. Edmondson and Dr. Harris.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.'s poll had the "second choice" candidate as being "none of the above" the last time I saw it. Can we start over? This morning's .com article is unavailable online now, but I was continuing to advocate "local, local, local". Now we are hearing that moving the family from New Jersey is an issue. Surprise, surprise!! It seems to me that we need more candidates from which to choose. Why couldn't "we" pick from 1/2 dozen or so from SE Michigan? Are we as constituents really that awful that people just don't want to work here?? And I do have a dog in this race, 2 dogs to be exact. :-) How are the "search" people hired, anyway? Something seems to be lacking....


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

Disappointing. But the BOE cannot offer the job to Swift. If I were her her, I wouldn't take it. She will never have the credibility she deserves here as the second choice. Time to fire Ray&Associates!! Now we have to have Mr. Comsa run the district for a year until we get a permanent Superintendent.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:05 p.m.

In situations like this, the second choice often steps in just fine and all goes well.

Rick Stevens

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

Smart guy.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

Sounds like developing family issues were a (or the) major factor, and we need to respect this. Stability in the position requires a win-win. This is good evidence that the search team is going after great candidates. There are plenty of candidates who would beg for this job, but that doesn't mean we want them. The best will always have many options. I hope the search team keeps the bar high and is not afraid of getting another 'no'.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:30 p.m.

Are you kidding? This has to one of those tongue in cheek comments. I have some prime beach property in the Okefenokee swamp you might be interested in!


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

Sounds like developing family issues was an excuse. Like I resigned to spend more time with my family.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

This needs to be done over with a new search firm. If the school board simply drops to the second-place candidate, the phrase "second best" is going to be bandied about Ann Arbor very often in the next three years.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

Actually I thought they chose the wrong candidate from among the finalists. Osborne was a strong third.

Kirk Taylor

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

Here is an updated, alternate take of a comment I made yesterday on the previous waiting-for-his-answer story regarding the hiring of a superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools: Even though they [don't actually] come and go so quickly, what does it say when the hiring a superintendent gets so much attention, yet I have never in my life read a story about a district hoping to hire a well-regarded teacher? Teachers, you know, the people who actually work with our children. [Inspired by an Ann Arbor teacher, I would like to add here that typically when experienced teachers are hired in Ann Arbor, they LOSE most of their previous years of experience when they are placed on the salary schedule. That is, unless they are also being hired as the head football coach. In that case he gets to retain all of his previous years of experience.]


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 10:42 p.m.

Basic happens a great deal. Teachers moving from state to state with (perhaps a spouse is transferred) lose their seniority and pay when moving to other states/districts. Experienced teachers shouldn't have to lose their salaries, but they do it all of the time.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

Basic Bob - I am one of those teachers! It does happen in AAPS. AAPS has had this as part of their hiring practice for decades, but not if you are hired to teach because they want you as a coach for one of their football teams! I was hired in a critical position, helping with achievement gap issues, and I gave up all but two years. Now the person they hired as a football coach the same year, he kept all of his teaching experience, above and beyond the step positions for the teacher contract. He was a successful football coach, and a wonderfully nice person. But, it was clear to me at the time what this school system valued!


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

Probably because there is only one superintendent and a thousand teachers. Apples to oranges, Kirk.A superintendent's responsibilities are of a much great range than that of a teacher. I have to wonder why you didn't mention maintenance, janitors, bus drivers, or cafeteria. Apparently they don't merit much attention in your world.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

Please name a well-regarded teacher who has given up their seniority to come work for AAPS. I would love to hear their story.

Stewart G. Griffin

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

I think at this point we should just place an ad on Craigslist...the candidate pool would probably be more interesting if not better!


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:20 p.m.

Job interviews are supposed to be two-way exchanges of information and evaluation. He didn't like what he saw, but it is taboo for him to say what he didn't like--hence the canned reasons given.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:35 a.m.

Excellent point, Dirt. Presumably, candidates for this position are highly intelligent and have lengthy experience in public education. How, then, does it benefit our students--(remember them?)--to have him keep his professional opinion regarding the shortcomings of the district to himself?


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:01 p.m.

Dirtgrain and Cash Yes, of course. This is the way the process works.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 9:37 p.m.

Bingo. I would hope most of us could read between the lines.

A Voice of Reason

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

It seems that a search firm would have someone sign a binding agreement that forces candidates to really evaluate relocation if a certain salary is offered before final interviews take place. Also, this is why should not be providing moment-to-moment updates on every breath the candidates are taking. The final negotiation and choice should be confidential. Why are the union contracts, which have financially a bigger impact on this district, are not even mentioned ? Where were you Where was the transparency when it involved the biggest budget item and those 1000 employees who have the most impact on our children? The second choice option, even though qualified is now and ever will be, the second choice. Not a great way to start a new role.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 11:02 p.m.

I don't know; I have been "second choice" and ended up with a job turned down by the first choice. It was a position that I really wanted, and I was thrilled with being offered a place with an organization that I admired and wanted to join. If the alternate either has ego issues or was not in the process in good faith, then I would foresee problems; otherwise, I see no reason why not being "number one" should reflect on that person. After all, it is quite possible that either candidate is equally qualified, or at least very close, with different strengths that will meet the requirements and challenges of the work.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

Reason - And the other 'looming dark cloud' on the horizon is the fact that now the search starts over with just over a month before the start of a new school year. If AAPS takes the 2nd choice in the search, then everyone will know it, and how motivated will this person be in their job? If AAPS does start over, I cannot see anyway that this position gets filled in 4 weeks or less.

A Voice of Reason

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

I agree there are other choices, but not before the beginning of the year. I do not think a nationwide search is the best option; too many variables.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

How would you enforce that? Job interviews and offers are two-way streets requiring both parties (employer and employee) to agree to work together. There are always other choices. If they get someone that actually wants to come here, they are a better choice than Dr. Osborne.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

And scene.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.



Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

This Ray & Associates educational executive search firm has really been doing a great job vetting these candidates for us....maybe it's time to start back charging them for our time and expenses incurred during this process. If this guy wasn't serious about taking the job, he shouldn't have applied for the position. Was he just using us as a bargaining chip with his current district or using us to stroke his own ego?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

I'd say the answer to your question is both, unfortunately.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 7:07 p.m.

good point! Nick Saban has done it a few times, as has Les Miles. Granted these are coaches, BUT I am sure people of all professions use one situation to get a "better deal" from their current employer. :)

C'est la vie

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

So he was unaware of "concerns about moving his family from the East Coast as well as a desire to finish what he had started at his district in New Jersey" just several weeks ago when he came here to interview? What a waste of time. Another reason to look for a local candidate.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Or more likely he got a big fat raise to stay....


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.

It could be an emergent issue. Stuff happens.

Michigan Man

Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

Oh my! Ann Arbor Public Schools leadership role seems to be declining in stature. Really hope the search committee handles this selection better than the Bill Martin selection of RR to lead the Michigan football program. Luster and prestige of Ann Arbor going south?

Rod Johnson

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:20 a.m.

"Luster" is a perfectly acceptable spelling. (That's pretty much the only thing Michigan Man got right in this comment though.)

Andy Price

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:14 a.m.



Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:31 a.m.

Wow. That example is really far-reaching. Not applicable at all.


Sun, Jul 28, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

What a complete and utter screw up.