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Posted on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Ann Arbor schools hires Utica principal to replace Joyce Hunter

By Danielle Arndt

Robyne Thompson will have big shoes to fill.

The Ann Arbor Board of Education approved hiring Thompson, a middle school principal from Utica Community Schools near Sterling Heights in Macomb County, to be the next assistant superintendent of secondary education Wednesday.

Current Assistant Superintendent Joyce Hunter, who has been with the district for 37 years, is retiring at the end of June. Hunter has been widely praised for her dedication to the district and her community involvement.

Thompson was hired at a salary of $122,399, the top of the pay scale for that position, according to a job posting on the Washtenaw Area Schools Consortium website. The amount is the same currently paid to Hunter.

Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Patricia Green said the administration went through "three layers of an interview process” to vet Thompson and her qualifications before offering her the position. AAPS spokeswoman Liz Margolis has said the district generally does not comment on the number of applications it receives.

Thompson’s was the only name brought before the board Wednesday. Green said Thompson is taking a pay cut to come to Ann Arbor Public Schools.

In addition to serving as the principal of Jeannette Junior High School in Utica, Thompson also was previously a high school teacher, Green said.

She said Thompson received a bachelor’s degree, majoring in business administration, and a master’s degree, majoring in higher education and business, from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. She received her teaching certificate from Eastern Michigan University and her Doctor of Philosophy in Education from Oakland University.

Thompson’s contract will begin July 2 and expire June 30, 2014. Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources and Legal Services Dave Comsa said the two-year agreement is standard. At the one-year mark, if a notice of nonrenewal is not issued, the contract automatically rolls over for the next school year, he said.

Per the contract approved by the board Wednesday, Thompson will be locked into her salary for those two years, unless the board directs administrators to negotiate a new contract with her, Comsa said.

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


Que escandaloso

Fri, Jun 22, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

It took Hunter 37 years of service and dedication to AAPS, first as a teacher and theegotn as an administrator, to reach top pay. Then in walks a newbie to collect the same paycheck. No doubt Thompson isn't worried about taking a pay cut for now. AAPS has a reputation for paying their administration top dollar even when it can least afford it. Don't be surprised when BOE directs administrators to renegotiate that contract during a late night meeting. If Green really understood the idea of shared sacrifice, all Hunter's assistants would have absorbed her duties at their current pay. What is it going to take for the citizens of this city to stand up for its children? Stop sacrificing in the classroom and start cutting expenses at Balas!


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

So what gets cut to pay her salary? They won't touch Balais. Very sad to read this. Tough economy and Ann Arbor has no clue how to budget.


Fri, Jun 15, 2012 : 8:02 p.m.

Quick - we have to raise the administrative pay scales. After all - all the money has to be gone. We have to be deeply in debt to get the town up in arms to pass the enhancement millage next spring. What else can we do to increase the spending on administration? Hire more people at the top of the pay scale? Raise pay at 1 in the morning? Hire more consultants? Quick spend the money.


Fri, Jun 15, 2012 : 10:50 a.m.

Agree, hired at the top of the pay scale. Most employees have to work many years to obtain the "top of the pay scale" -- I find this totally disgusting in light of the fact that other employees are having their jobs cut, salary reduced, etc. I say, start cutting at the top of the hill -- pay your dues first just like the rest of us. Oh, and yes, please don't give me the "we need to offer this to get the best" -- does not fly in my court.


Fri, Jun 15, 2012 : 4:53 a.m.

on one hand, fewer teachers, bigger classes; on the other hand, over-paid administrators. what's the core value of education??


Fri, Jun 15, 2012 : 4:51 a.m.

she is taking a pay cut to come to AA. You mean she made more than $122,000 as a middle school principal? I think I will apply for her old job!!


Fri, Jun 15, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

Well they certainly slinked this in during a busy time of the year---probably hoped no one would notice.

Dog Guy

Fri, Jun 15, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

Thomas Squires founded Utica, Michigan, in 1817 with the original name of Hog Hollow. AAPS has the trough overflowing to welcome Thompson.


Fri, Jun 15, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

But seriously, why would you hire a new employee at the same salary as a 37 year veteran?


Fri, Jun 15, 2012 : 1:27 a.m.

Quick! Give her a raise!


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.

This superintendent has a "cabinet" of close to a dozen people. Why does she need both a deputy superintendent and an assistant superintendent of secondary education??? Don't forget she raised the salary of the new deputy superintendent in the middle of the night earlier this year. This sort of expensive redundancy should be clearly justified to the public.


Thu, Jun 14, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

Hired at the top of the pay scale for this position...even though yes, it was a pay decrease from her previous position in Utica. Another example of the "shared sacrifice" that Dr. Green and Balas gives lip service to.