Ben Edmondson talks about taking over Ann Arbor's Roberto Clemente Student Development Center
Now Edmondson, 40, is onto his next challenge. He’s taking over Ann Arbor’s Roberto Clemente Student Development Center from Joe Dulin, who founded the school and ran it for 35 years before retiring at the end of last school year.
As for Scarlett, assistant principal Edward Broom has been promoted to interim principal while the district searches for a permanent replacement for Edmondson.
Edmondson and I sat down recently for a question-and-answer on his new job.
Q: Why did you decide to leave Scarlett to go to Clemente?
A: I needed to make a switch. My personality is all about change. I thought I had done all I could do at Scarlett. It’s no secret that I was looking for a change. I wasn’t growing professionally.
There is a great team at Scarlett. The building was primed for me to go. There’s a great team in place.
Q: Why decide to go to Clemente and not somewhere else?
A: I told a superintendent (once) that I would go anywhere in the district but Clemente. Certain people you don’t want to follow. Joe and I are close. He’s my father’s age, so he’s like a father to me. His persona is large.
Joe gave me a call and told me he thought I’d be a great fit. I was definitely honored.
Q: You applied for several superintendent positions, including one in Ypsilanti. Why take a position as a principal?
A: I work well with students. When you’re a superintendent, you’re removed from kids. Plus this is an 8(th grade) to 12(th grade) school. I was an assistant principal at a high school for six months before being promoted. This gives me the total K-12 experience.
There’s work to be done here that will sustain me. I told my wife, ‘I’d cry if I didn’t get this job.’
The first two weeks, I’m going to meet with every student individually and begin to build relationships. I can have some very deep-seated conversations with students.
Q: How do you replace Joe?
A: I bring a different skill set. I’ve reminded people over and over that I’m not Joe, don’t want to be Joe. Now I love Joe, but I’m different.
Joe left a list of 15 things that he felt needed to be maintained here.
I’m not going to make any changes to the leadership team for at least the first year.
I’m going to make changes, for a variety of reasons.