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Posted on Fri, May 17, 2013 : 10:54 a.m.

Ann Arbor school district launches survey on qualities wanted in next superintendent

By Danielle Arndt

The Ann Arbor Public Schools launched a community-wide survey Thursday to learn what parents, teachers, administrators, students, support staff and the general, tax-paying public would like to see in its next superintendent.


Superintendent Patricia Green addresses the Pioneer High School Class of 2012 during commencement at the Convocation Center at Eastern Michigan University.

Melanie Maxwell I file photo

Ann Arbor Superintendent Patricia Green will leave the district July 9 to retire after a 43-year career in public education. She has been with AAPS for just under two years. She submitted her resignation after 1 a.m. at a school board meeting on April 11.

The district's survey, posted on the Ann Arbor Public Schools website, is simple, consisting of only two questions. The first asks participants to identify themselves and their relationship to the district, and the second asks people to select 10 characteristics from a list of 33 qualities that they believe are most important in choosing a new superintendent.

The survey does not give participants the opportunity to prioritize their selected qualities in a ranking order.

The Board of Education posted the open superintendent position on May 10 and the application period ends June 14 — the same day the online community survey ends. The job has been advertised as paying $180,000 to $220,000.

Three days after the posting for the leadership position went up, the Ann Arbor Administrators Association released a list of 17 traits its membership hopes to see in the next superintendent, and a doctoral degree was not one of them. The AAPS community survey does ask about candidates who possess a Ph.D., giving the public a chance to weigh in on whether that is important.

The Ann Arbor school board also approved a "profile" or set of characteristics it was looking for in a new employee. The superintendent is the sole employee of a Board of Education.

The Ann Arbor Public Schools is in the midst of a financial crisis, with a $3.8 million deficit for the current school year and a need to cut $8.67 million from next year's budget. Green's tenure in the district was marked by controversy and a perceived lack of transparency and communication with the community.

Which of these 33 qualities would you deem most important when selecting a new superintendent? Have another suggestion not listed here? Leave it in the comments.

  1. Is willing to listen to input, but is a decision maker.
  2. Demonstrates ability to integrate instructional and administrative technology.
  3. Possesses the leadership skills required to respond to the challenges presented by an ethnically and culturally diverse community.
  4. Is able to work with legislators on key topics and can lead an organization throughout the legislative process.
  5. Possesses an earned Ed.D. or Ph.D. degree.
  6. Inspires trust, has high levels of self-confidence and optimism, and models high standards of integrity and personal performance.
  7. Is a strong communicator; speaking, listening and writing.
  8. Demonstrates a commitment to community visibility with high interest in a broad range of community groups and organizations.
  9. Is able to work cooperatively with the board and keeps members informed.
  10. Has successful experience in sound management practices, including appropriate participation of others in planning and decision-making.
  11. Is able to build consensus and commitment among individuals and groups with emphasis on parental involvement.
  12. Has experience dealing with employee representative groups/unions.
  13. Is able to delegate authority appropriately while maintaining accountability.
  14. Has experience in the management of district resources and knowledge of sound fiscal procedures.
  15. Possesses excellent people skills and can present a positive image of the district.
  16. Is a non-traditional or "hybrid candidate" with background in the military or business community in addition to an educational career.
  17. Is strongly committed to a "student first" philosophy in all decisions.
  18. Is capable of developing both short and long-range district goals.
  19. Can develop and communicate a vision of quality education for the future to the board, staff and community.
  20. Has experience in the selection and implementation of educational priorities consistent with the interests and needs of students, staff, board and community.
  21. Is committed to the importance of both the academic and activity programs.
  22. Promotes positive student behavior conducive to a healthy learning environment.
  23. Provides leadership in the planning, implementation and assessment of relevant professional development for all staff members.
  24. Has demonstrated strong leadership skills in previous positions.
  25. Is able to identify and select building and central office administrators who are capable of advancing the district vision.
  26. Has work experience in a similar district.
  27. Is comfortable leading innovation and reform efforts.
  28. Is able to lead a large organization dedicated to goals of continuous improvement.
  29. Has the ability to develop and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship between the business community and the school district.
  30. Possesses ability to enhance student performance, especially in identifying and closing or narrowing the gaps in student achievement.
  31. Demonstrates ability to work with the media.
  32. Makes recommendations and decisions that are data-driven.
  33. Has knowledge of emerging research and best practice in the area of curriculum/instructional design and practice.

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


Charles Curtis

Mon, May 20, 2013 : 5:17 a.m.

If the district truly want community input, I would think the survey would have been sent out in an email blast to all student families. I have not seen it, but I get other useless emails from district. Using the link here (thank, it is a poorly written survey and as other have said going to provide almost useless information. Qualities you would like need to be prioritized, not select 10. Must be the same people who do budgeting, writing the survey...


Sun, May 19, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

It's not about qualities, it's asking them this question during an interview: What would you do with $5,000? Choices are: A- spend it on food for the BOE, after all it's only pennies, B- give myself more pocket money, after all, I am the superintendent, C- use it as a hiring bonus for one of my four new executive assistants, Or, D- none of the above. Ding ding ding- the answer is not A, B, or C. Can you guess?


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 11:04 p.m.

Just hire a conservative, maybe they can run it like a business.


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

#12 - the rest won't matter if we end up with an emergency financial manager...........


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

Common sense, fiscally responsible, and approachable.


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 12:28 a.m.

ROFL - The Survey REQUIRES you to pick 10 and only 10. You can't pick 2 or 3 and you can't pick 11. So if you have only 2 or 3 on the list that you feel strongly about, you still have to pick 10. My picks would be (14), (16),(28) and (32). Until I can put in only those 4, I will not take the survey. Also there is nothing to keep anyone from "stuffing" the ballot box. You can take the survey as many times as you like.

Angry Moderate

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 8:19 p.m.

What is the point of asking about qualifications when we all know they won't ever consider a white man, no matter how qualified he is? Besides, they're missing two of the most important qualities: "has some personal connection or experience within 50 miles of Ann Arbor" and "willing to seriously negotiate with the union."

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 7:58 p.m.

"Ability and desire to pack and bring your own lunch or dinner for long meetings"


Sat, May 18, 2013 : 10:28 a.m.

Likes apples, can potluck when asked...


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 7:09 p.m.

If I had a way to express that choice, I'd say that a Ph.D. or Ed.D. degree should disqualify a person from becoming the new AAPS superintendent. Something about being steeped that long in the Education establishment seems to remove all traces of business sense and the ability to manage adults.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

My son had a BAD girlfriend. Really bad. How could it get so bad? I could go into any bar and find at least a tolerable woman for him in short order. That is what this situation reminds me of. All these expert people and organizations coming up with a really bad choice. Walk up to strangers on the street offer them the job. Couldn't do worse.

Top Cat

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

The School System will just waste a lot of time and money and still make a bad selection. It would make more sense to just hold an archery contest and aware the position to the winner.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 7:06 p.m.

Hey, an archery contest to award a prize worked out just fine for Merida in Brave. And everybody involved in education knows that Disney movies reflect real life.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

The survey insisted that I click on ten items. No more. No less.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

Initially, I had only checked six boxes, but the form made me check ten before it would let me submit.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

The survey is a sham - you MUST pick 10 in order to complete the survey, so the results are going to be useless. Everything will get some votes, it will all be a wash. I also notice that having a local connection/knowledge is not even a choice despite the constant call for that quality in a super. The survey is a smack in the face for those who actually want some input.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

People please remember, it's not just the super, it's the BOE.

Wake Up A2

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

Go ask the district staff they are leaving if they are any good.

J. A. Pieper

Sat, May 18, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

And the parents!


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

Make them all solve a story problem! "If I sign a five year contract, and quit less than two years into it, how much of my salary should I return"? Extra credit for answering in bureaucratese. Bonus points for refusing to answer any questions and hiding in your office.

Usual Suspect

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

Or hiding in another sate.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

What we need is someone that is willing to meet with the parents and tax payers in the district ( not isolate themselves!) Someone that is willing to work for an honest wage Someone that would actually be willing to stay around for more than a couple years!


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

I want a superintendent with an extra $100M to donate to the school system. Plus they should like cats.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

This is not involving the community in the decision making process. Instead, members from each group of stakeholders in the community should be included in a hiring committee. The principals have publicly asked for this, and the teachers have publicly asked for this, but the board has ignored them so far - just like Pat Green had a habit of ignoring her key stakeholders.

Usual Suspect

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

When do we get the survey for what we want in a Board of Education?


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

From the AAPS Web Site: The next Ann Arbor Public School Election for the Board of Education will be held on November 4, 2014. 4 trustees will be elected.


Fri, May 17, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

That's done with your vote. Problem is, too few people vote.