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Posted on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Names pending: Ann Arbor school board decides on 7 superintendent semifinalists

By Danielle Arndt

Previous coverage:

After about seven hours of deliberating in executive session Wednesday, the Ann Arbor Board of Education narrowed down its 61 applicants for superintendent to seven semifinalists.


Ann Arbor Superintendent Patricia Green speaks at the Peace Neighborhood Center in this 2012 file photo. The Board of Education has selected seven semifinalists to vie for the chance to be her replacement. Green retires on July 9 and new leadership will be needed.

Danielle Arndt | file photo

The names of all the candidates and information about them will be released no later than Friday morning, school board trustees voiced in a motion to approve the seven individuals just before midnight.

The individuals' identities were not made public at that time in order to give them an adequate opportunity to notify their current employers that they are being considered for the position. Board president Deb Mexicotte said all of the candidates were contacted, however, and did express they would like to remain in the running.

The board met at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Ann Arbor District Library for the purpose of discussing contract negotiations with three of the district's collective bargaining units, as well as hearing from superintendent search firm Ray & Associates and going through the top superintendent candidates' applications and reference materials.

Trustees were not finished weighing and vetting the candidates when the board had to start its regularly scheduled 7 p.m. public meeting. So trustees recessed their executive session at 7 p.m. to host the regular board meeting. Then they motioned at about 10 p.m. to reenter executive session, which they remained in until nearly midnight when they reconvened in open session to vote on the seven semifinalists.

According to documents presented by Ray & Associates, 278 individuals contacted or were contacted by the consulting firm about the AAPS superintendent vacancy as the result of the numerous advertisements posted and Ray & Associates' recruitment process. The informal inquiries came from people in 43 states. Thirty of those interested people were from Michigan and 26 of them were from Illinois.

Out of those 278 initial inquiries, 61 candidates completed the application process by providing the required materials to Ray & Associates, the firm stated.

On Monday, Mexicotte indicated the district received 63 applications for the superintendent's position. She said two of the candidates may have withdrawn from consideration.

After screening the 61 applicants based on experience, education and the Ann Arbor Board of Education's list of criteria, the top candidates were given a comprehensive interview by one of Ray & Associates' consultants, documents state. After the interview, a thorough investigation and background check of each candidate was conducted using references, state officials and other school administrators who knew the candidate and his or her strengths and abilities, according to documents.

The Ann Arbor school board will host visits to the district and a first round of interviews with the seven semifinalists during the week of July 7. The interviews are being planned for July 8, 9 and 10. Finalists could be selected as early as July 10. The finalists' interviews have been tentatively planned for July 15, 16 and 17.

Mexicotte said the board intends to schedule a board meeting for July 2 to flesh out more of the interview and superintendent selection processes.

Current Superintendent Patricia Green tendered her resignation on April 11. She will retire on July 9, after two years with the district. She was hired in July 2011 on a five-year contract making $245,000 a year. The next superintendent will earn between $180,000 and $220,000, per a salary range established by the board in April.

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



Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

Perhaps Dr. Green could make the appointment of the new superintendent before she leaves while she is appointing everyone else to open positions?


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 6:06 p.m.

This would be consistent with current actions. I wouldn't be surprised if the BOE slipped this in while we were sleeping.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

I am glad they took their time with the candidates, but to spend 7 hours as a group on it tells me one thing is probably true, no one was given the information in advance, so that they could to their own review and ranking. I suspect that the top 7 all came out of the top 10 as presented by Ray&Assoc. I also suspect that there was a bit of discussion but very little time for individual study and reflection. So this will be a group decision by the BOE. If I am right, then the result of this will be based on a consult lead meeting with very little individual reflection on the candidates and probably no actual talking to them, save, a quick, will you remain in the running call. I would not be surprised if they did not select 10 in the early part of the meeting and that 3 withdrew when called during the regular board meeting - but this is pure speculation on my part. I look forward to the names, I intend to google all of them when the names are public.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

"The next superintendent will earn between $180,000 and $220,000, per a salary range established by the board in April." Once again, the same backwards approach as last time, stating a salary range before even beginning to identify the candidates, let alone interview them. At least this time the AAPS BoE stated a range instead of a specific number. Perhaps, however painfully slowly, they can be taught (a little bit).


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

Alarictoo - Identifying a salary range is a very common first step to soliciting applications for a job. This is true in both the public and the private sector. Since the salary of almost all superintendents of school districts is public knowledge by law, it's easy to see what the people in comparable jobs earn now. This is a good-but-not-exorbitant salary for a superintendent, as we can see from the number of interested applicants who met the intial screening criteria.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

What prompted the revered Mr. Trent to leave his children's school district?


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

He doubled down at the right time. His pension is calculated on his last three years of salary. if he takes a cut in salary his pension goes down. now he can draw a pension, a paycheck and pick the better of the two health plans. I have to presume WISD's might be better. they operate in a cloak of secrecy and no one has really considered, or suggested, that they should be cutting their budget like the districts have.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

Just wishful thinking. Mr. Trent deserves the best job he can get and if it is going to give him more family time and fewer headaches, good for him.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Most people don't have a clue of what Randy's job entailed. It would be hard for two people to do the job that he did. Are you saying that an employee needs to stay in a district simply because he has children who attend there?


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Dr. Green. Didn't know you and won't miss you either. Maybe the next superintendent will have a memorable tenure.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

I hope it is not someone with current AAPS ties that is sympathetic to current staff. I'd really like an outsider who can shock the system, be it redistributing or salary cuts. There has been too much of the same or, with Ms. Green, nothing. As in little proactive action.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

Bellboz I agree we need someone from outside AAPS, but disagree about Dr. Green's effects on the district. Given the huge momentum of our union contracts, she accomplished an awful lot in under 2 years.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

Who are they? Where are they from?

Cindy Heflin

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

Carole: The district has not released the names yet, but promises to do so by Friday morning, as the story states.

Jack Gladney

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

Next in our series of People Who Don't Read Headlines and the Stories that Accompany Them...


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.



Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

"Yes, I saw the poorly worded ad for the overpaid AAPS superintendent, and I'm thrilled to be one of the seven chosen finalists. I can do anything for two years. I feel I fit the criteria well- I'm unapproachable, aloof, have no inclination to meet parents or teachers in the community, enjoy traveling to my home state frequently, and I'm ecstatic to be overpaid for something I'd easily do for a smaller salary. I'm sure I'll fit in well. I'm already planning my move to North Carolina in 2015. Maybe Ray and Associates will give you a three-fer."


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 10:40 a.m.

Seems extremely classless to release six names that will not get the job, what is the purpose? At least wait until two or three remain.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 10:33 a.m.

"After about seven hours of deliberating in executive session Wednesday" It should not take 7 hours to do this.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 5:35 a.m.

Didn't a different firm conduct the search leading to Green's hire ?


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 6:38 p.m.

Perhaps the BOE decided that after the last search by this firm, they would review a larger number of the candidates. Last time didn't work out so well as you may know!


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

You missed my point. They have a company they've hired to screen candidates. That company has criteria to evaluate the candidates. The candidates should have been presented in rank order, i.e. "graded" on these criteria, and the board shouldn't have looked at 61 candidates in detail, only the top maybe 20 - 30.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

It should take LONGER than 7 hours to go through as many candidates and make a decision on selecting a number of top candidates to be considered as the next leader of the AAPS. While the BOE needs to take swift action at the same time, this decision is not one that should be rushed. AAPS needs a leader that will take charge of the district and lead the district forward. Hopefully the new superintendent will be one that will stay with the district for more than 2.5 years.