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Posted on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Ann Arbor schools names new Pioneer High School principal

By Cindy Heflin


Cindy Leaman is currently principal of Clague Middle School in Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor Public Schools photo

Editor's note: The spelling of Cindy Leaman's name has been corrected in this article.

The Ann Arbor school district has chosen Cindy Leaman as the new Pioneer High School principal.

The district announced the appointment of Leaman, the current principal at Clague Middle School on its AAPS News website Wednesday. She will begin her new duties Jan. 7, the district said.

Judy Hayes, current assistant principal at Clague, was named the Interim principal there.

"Cindy Leaman was everything I was looking for in a principal for such a significant position," Superintendent Patricia Green said in an emailed statement. "She has all the qualities that I believe Pioneer High school needs. I respect her work, her achievements, and her leadership. She will do an outstanding job."

Leaman came to Clague as principal in 2007. Before that, she was principal at The Dearborn Academy, a public charter school. She also served as principal at St. Paul on the Lake School in Grosse Pointe Farms, and at Most Holy Trinity School in Detroit.

Leaman is a former high school teacher and coach. She holds a bachelor's degree in education from Michigan State University and a master's degree in educational leadership and educational specialist degree from Wayne State University.

Assistant Pioneer Principal Kevin Hudson has been serving as interim principal since former Principal Michael White retired at the end of the 2011-12 academic year to take a job in Illinois. District spokeswoman Liz Margolis said Hudson would return to his role as assistant principal.

In September, the district said it had narrowed its search to two candidates.

The district said it had notified Pioneer and Clague families about the appointment. Pioneer families will have a chance to meet Leamon after winter break at two scheduled meet-and-greet events at Pioneer.



Thu, Jan 17, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

Why is my Pioneer student coming home telling me students are taping spoons to the walls in protest? There are rumors that Leaman wants to ban winter coats and backpacks from classrooms... and spoons?!? I'd love to hear more about this craziness from a non-teen source.

Tivon Kareem

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

Cindy Leaman is a phenomenal leader who is fair, hard working and has set excellent standards for educational progress. I'm sure she will do a wonderful job at Pioneer. She will be missed at Clague. Congratulations Cindy!


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

I was told right after winter break there will be two open houses to meet the new principal. One is for the staff and the other parents and students.

Wake Up A2

Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 10:32 a.m.

Word on the street was she was not one of the two finalists for the job, which means they just picked somebody to fill a hole. Another casual observation, all sexism aside, as I pointed out several times in the past, have you noticed that Green has picked all but one male for the top cabinet positions and current rounds of principals under her tenure. No Indian, Korean, Hispanic or other minority which makes up Ann Arbor and who should have a voice.....


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

Word on the street can mean anything from "my neighbor said" to a ground swell of legitimate concern.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Was wondering why they casted a wider net yet wound up with someone in the district. Did she somehow change since the first round or did she not apply the first time?

Spicy Whitey

Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

Are we all just going to ignore that it took AAPS this long to find a principal for Pioneer, despite knowing about Michael White's retirement since around March of this spring? It seems to me that putting a new principal in halfway through the school year is ridiculous. Pioneer students have been with Mr Hudson for almost a full semester now, and to be honest, he's a good principal - perhaps better than Mr White was. As a student, I'm a bit reluctant to welcome a new principal. It's not as if she will be able to change much or do much that others haven't; Pioneer administration has a set way of doing things, even if it seems confounded and messy. It'll be interesting to see how well Ms Leaman fits in at Pioneer.

Spicy Whitey

Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

Mr White also came to a school that wasn't faring too well. He did what was necessary, and admittedly, maybe a bit too much, but Pioneer is doing better than it was. We don't need another disciplinarian; this time around, we need someone who will be willing to listen to the student body. As for fitting in, that is as much up to the administration/teaching staff as it is up to the students. I'll keep with my original statement and say that it'll be interesting.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 3:54 a.m.

Did Mr White"fit in "? I think not ! He brought his own way of doing things. You might be "reluctant" but you better get used to it.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

Wow Dr. Green. Very bad move. My experience with Ms. Leaman has me frightened for the Pioneer students and parents. If you are a black student or one with academic challenges, be prepared for a miserable experience. She tends to stereotype and pigeon hole these kids - almost like she wants to drive them away.

Tivon Kareem

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Sometimes you have to make tough decisions as a principal. I've seen her do nothing but speak up for our African American students, parents, and teachers. I've seen her attend after school tutoring programs on her own free will, at Arrow wood apartments (predominantly African American), go out of her way to help all students, and meet with parents. I've seen her attend Michael Henderson's funeral after he graduated from Clague, which was special to me because I coached him. I've seen her care and give much needed attention to African American students in need. She doesn't take any nonsense from students who are satisfied with under achieving, or misbehaving to gain comedic experiences in class while the teachers are trying to teach. She has been tough with the African American students that required toughness. She has also been tough with students of all ethnicity backgrounds at certain points of time if they needed it. Thats what makes a good leader, pushing students to be great and not accepting low standards. I love her style as a principal and I know she will do a wonderful job with all of the students, parents, and staff.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

Oh please!


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 3:04 a.m.

"...If you are a black student..." The black students might have to worry but the african-american students should be just fine.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

Do women know education better than men? All 3 presidents at UM, EMU, WCC are women. Most of the principals at K-12 are women.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

@CLX- do you really think the University Presidents were ever underpaid? They certainly are not now!


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.

Perhaps, but I think it is more than women are willing to work in an underpaid field and to take the hate of people who think that anyone can teach and that teachers are lousy as professionals. As a rule, men do not tolerate the crap that teachers have to put up with.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

I do not have a dog in this fight. But I would not be surprised to find out that those that have been unhappy with her at Clague are people that expect to be mollycoddled.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

Given recent history, I hope she has experience refereeing professional wrestling.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

Pioneer is fortunate. I am sad for Clague but overall it's probably a really good move. I suspect she'll be excellent for Pioneer.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

Condolences to the Pioneers....Hooray for Clauge students!!!! I nominate Kevin Karr for Clague principal! Or have Judy Hayes run it! She has seen it all.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 3:44 a.m.

Kevin Karr is by far the best principal in the district. Ms. Hayes would do well. Ms Leaman was willing to hold people accountable.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 3:03 a.m.

You sound like someone who doesn't know Leaman, Karr or Hayes and has no parental experience.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

You sound like a student who likes having his or her way at school. Naughty. Can't wait to see a stricter person come into play. Clague does have its own issues. Can't wait to meet her on my next round of problems at Pioneer.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

So what's the scuttlebutt from district parents? Good decision? I am not familiar with Ms. Leaman.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 12:30 p.m.

And I'm NOT surprised that in town like Ann Arbor there are people who would think they are so superior to warrant insulting commenters on a blog....yet they waste "their time" posting on said blog. Do as I say not as I do, lol!


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 2:56 a.m.

"...what's the scuttlebutt..." I'm surprised in a town as enlightened as Ann Arbor that you would want to judge a person based not on their own merits, but on the word of an anonymous blogger. Actually, I'm not surprised.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

As a Clague parent for 4 years, I am very glad to see Ms Leaman go. She has never had the best interests of the kids at heart - only her own self-promotion. She has belittled my concerns about bad teachers, kids social interactions, potential bullying, etc. She is rigid and unsympathetic. I am so glad my kids do not and will not go to Pioneer. Sorry Pioneers!

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 10:46 p.m.

I know teachers at Clague who are glad to see her go, so read between this narrow line to figure out what that means!


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

I agree with jamullet. I am also a Clague parent and, having met with Ms. Leaman earlier this school year to discuss a contentious subject, I found her to be candid, sympathetic, fair and a very strong leader. She will be very good for Pioneer, I think. I am sorry to see her leave Clague, though.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

As a Clague parent, I will be very sorry to see Ms. Leaman go. I think Pioneer is lucky to be getting her. This is my 5th year with a student at Clague. Ms. Leaman has earned my respect as a fair and reasonable administrator. She cares a great deal about the kids and works hard to make the school a positive learning environment.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

That it is Vox. As to who should now run Clague - if they keep it in house, they can reduce the administrator count by 1. That would be a good think for the budget. Judy Hayes has the experience to run Clague.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 3:41 a.m.

skfina2 - I also had children go thru Clague, while Ms. Hayes is strict, she knows her job. She was responsible for discipline so many children were not happy with her.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.

"I have had four kids go through Clague. Not one of them ever had anything positive to say about Mrs. Hayes, nor did any of their friends. That would be a terrible option." And in these few words we have a summation almost all that is wrong the public schools today. It's not the teachers. It's not the administrators. It's not even the students. It is the parents who think their dearest and darling can do no wrong and who expect the schools to magically educate their wonderful little children with nether the children nor families responsible for any part of the educational process.


Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 12:28 a.m.

skfina2: '...Not one of them ever had anything positive to say about Mrs. Hayes, nor did any of their friends..." Sounds like she was doing her job.


Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 10:10 p.m.

I have had four kids go through Clague. Not one of them ever had anything positive to say about Mrs. Hayes, nor did any of their friends. That would be a terrible option.

vox rationis

Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

It is "Leaman".

Susan Montgomery

Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.

You missed one correction at the very end.

Julie Baker

Wed, Dec 5, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

Indeed. That's fixed. Thanks!