Brian Osborne turns down Ann Arbor schools' superintendent job
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Editor's note: This story has been updated with comments from Deb Mexicotte and Glenn Nelson.
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.
Mexicotte told AnnArbor.com 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."