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Posted on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor school board receives 63 superintendent applications - 18 more than previous search

By Danielle Arndt


Outgoing superintendent Patricia Green, left, and AAPS Board of Education President Deb Mexicotte at a previous school board meeting. The board is preparing to narrow down new superintendent candidates on Wednesday. file photo

The Ann Arbor Public Schools fielded 63 applications from individuals interested in becoming the next superintendent of the district.

That's 18 more applicants than the 2010 search, which resulted in the school board hiring current district leader Patricia Green.

During its most recent hunt for a new superintendent, the board received 45 applications and interviewed six front-runner candidates before identifying three finalists.

As Green prepares for her departure from the district July 9, the Board of Education will begin combing through the potential candidates and narrowing them down.

Green submitted her letter of resignation to the board on April 11. She plans to retire after 43 years in public education.

Ann Arbor Superintendent Resigns

Previous Coverage:

The Board of Education will meet in executive session at about 2 p.m. Wednesday to hear from consultants with Ray & Associates, the Iowa-based firm hired to conduct the district's superintendent search.

Ray & Associates was contracted at a minimum cost to the district because AAPS used the firm for its previous search and Green, the candidate the firm helped Ann Arbor officials identify, is leaving within two years of her hire date, evoking a "satisfaction guarantee" clause in the firm's former contract with the district.

The idea behind the closed session meeting is for Ray & Associates to bring forward 10 to 12 candidates — "maybe more, maybe a few less" — that consultants have properly vetted and measured against school board trustees' criteria in the superintendent profile they developed back in April, said board President Deb Mexicotte.

Mexicotte said the candidate pool is very robust and above and beyond what the district received last search. She did not have a breakdown of where the candidates were from, but said there are applicants from all over — including here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Midwest and continuing across the country.

"It is an excellent pool of candidates. And not just in that it's large and extensive, but it's excellent in quality," she said, adding that it's not that the previous search pool was bad. "But we didn't just get about 20 more marginal candidates. We got 20 more very strong, very high-quality candidates."

The board intends to select its semifinalists for superintendent during its executive session at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. Trustees also plan to release the names of the semifinalists during their regular meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the fourth floor of the downtown Ann Arbor District Library. The executive session will be at the library as well.

The only reason the board would not release the names of the semifinalists Wednesday night would be because some of the candidates could not immediately confirm that they wanted to remain in the running or wanted their names made public, Mexicotte said. She explained that the board or Ray & Associates will contact the potential semifinalists Wednesday to confirm their candidate status.

"They may not have made their boards aware they were looking. No board president wants to find out in the newspaper ... that just isn't courteous. So we'd give them time," Mexicotte said, adding that is the only reason the names may not be released Wednesday. "But we're expecting to be able to contact everybody."

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



Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

Enough with the complaints about the BOE! Puh-leeze! This is a perennial gripe and, frankly, from the rest of us who never or hardly ever comment (and should probably refrain from reading these things, but they can be pretty entertaining, kind of like rubbernecking), it's beyond really old - just stop! Consider this: The BOE is our elected body. If you don't like who was elected, then go out and run yourself, or go door to door for your favorite candidate at the next election. Consider this as well: No one wakes up and decides to do a bad job that day. Let's give the BOE and everyone else about whom the Usual Suspects in the Commenters Complaining Department gripe about credit for deciding to at least try their best that day. Oh, that's right, that would be thinking kindly - and I guess many of the A2 dot com commenters just don't go for that... It's just Flame City all the time. The GOOD news with this story is that so many candidates have submitted their applications - I find this amazing, especially given all the gnashing of teeth and hostility surrounding many of the issues facing our public education system. Hopefully it's a good pool of candidates, and hopefully as well the eventual Superintendent is not only talented, but has a thick skin and walks on water in his/her spare time.

Danielle Arndt

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

Just a quick note on the salary for the next superintendent, the board set the salary scale lower this search than they did in the 2010 search (which then the salary was set at $245,000). The range this time is $180,000 to $220,000. Here's the previous story on this topic:


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

The problem of course is they will not offer $180,000 but will offer the $220,000 as an initial offer. That is the problem with announcing a salary range as the center piece of your ads.

Arno B

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

Those two in the picture seem deep in thought. At a quarter million per year it is not surprising that large numbers are comning out of the woodwork.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

Dear Board of Education, A little piece of advice....if the term "visionary" is used anywhere in any of the resumes, please place it in the shredder and move on to the next. Thank you.

Charley Sullivan

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

I was about to say "cue withering comments" but apparently they've already started . . .


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

BOE Bewildered Oblivious egotistical


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

Let's try to hire someone this time who isn't a cold so and so who is willing and happy to meet with both parents and teachers. The current one refused to meet with either. How about one that actually visits the schools and knows what's going on in ALL the schools, not just Skyline and Burns Park. Let's get real people.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 4 p.m.

Let's get real people. I want someone who is willing to meet with each parent, teacher, and student individually for a 10 minute meeting each. This superintendent should only require four hours of sleep per night and should feed off of liquified compost bits fed intravenously. This candidate should average 102 smiles per day and should attend all school functions (if s/he cannot in person, then via Skype). In the probable situation where multiple events are happening at the same time, the superintendent should clone him/herself and have the clone attend the events. The public should not learn about the clones, but the new superintendent just needs to figure out how to make that happen. When the new superintendent exhales, his or her breath should flow over the crowd, raising each person's IQ and making a crisp twenty dollar bill appear in the back left pocket of each crowd member.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

Our BOE is similar to the 'cold' concept you so state and not capable of finding this type of candidate. These traits, which I support, are foreign to our BOE. Meet with parents and teachers? Foreign concepts to our current BOE.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

When you get 63 applications for a job, usually you're paying too much.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

Yup, I was going to write that myself, but you got it in.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.



Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

"...that consultants have properly vetted and measured against school board trustees' criteria in the superintendent profile they developed back in April, said board President Deb Mexicotte." So, does this prove that the public meetings were purely for show? I doubt that the list of criteria will be made public, and I suspect it is like the last set, a long scattershot list that requires someone to be able to do everything. Danielle - This is one that getting an FOIA in on would be useful. Same for the results of the poorly designed online survey. All - I have to wonder how many of the candidates are the pool of usual suspects that Ray&Assoc. keeps around for this and how many are new to the specific offer. The ads that were run were a travesty, I doubt they drew anyone who was looking for anything beyond a paycheck. The fact that there are 63 candidates, but only 10 or 12 are going to get a look at, and that the consultant picked the list - makes the whole process interesting to me. I have to wonder if Ray&Assoc. get a placement payment, I know they are not getting a search fee, but I have to wonder about the placement fee which is often a different payment then the search fee.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 6:51 p.m.

Danielle - Thank you. It would not be my list at all, and I doubt it reflects what they heard in the various community forums.

Danielle Arndt

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 6:27 p.m.

Hi Don, the criteria Deb was referring to actually was made public. That list of qualities, characteristics and experience was written about here:


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

Did we have to state up front that we would be giving them a $50,000 raise before they even set foot in town? I said months ago that we would have applicant coming out our ears at $180,000. Looks like this uneducated peon might have been right!


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

I shudder at the thought that our AA BOE is preparing to hire a superintendent. I shudder each time I read something that a BOE member said, as reported by One thinks that the school revenue process is rocket science and cannot be understood by us. Oh!? Some of us have advanced finance degrees and extensive experience in the public forums and business. What makes you think we are so dumb? You might be surprised to hear what we do understand. Another thinks that $5,000 is just pennies. While I do agree that $5,000 is 500,000 pennies and I would hate to be the one to have to count and roll them, in these times of costs exceeding revenue, every penny counts. You are the one who led the budget process, but based on the process you just concluded, I am not impressed at all! In fact, I am embarrassed for you. Now, the AA BOE selecting a new superintendent. They have proven that they are inept, clueless and lost. On top of this, they have proven that they are also arrogant, only being rivaled by our government leaders in Lansing & D.C. – both parties! Until our community leaders and the AA voters find a way to force the AA BOE to change directions, I am afraid of the further damage that they will cause to our educational process. Laying off teachers in lieu of keeping principals is unthinkable! Many of the principals have proven that they should not be retained – just ask the parents & teachers who is a keeper and who should be let go. Go figure!

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

How in the world can we trust Mexicotte when she indicates the candidate pool is "very robust and above and beyond..." What does that even mean? If the BOE thinks their community is totally behind them in this endeavor their heads are buried in the sand. BOE, there is no TRUST in your community!


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

It is amazing how a potential $250,000 salary can attract candidates from everywhere. Let us hope that the applicants are as talented as believed by Mexicotte.

Danielle Arndt

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

Just a note on the salary, the board set the salary scale lower this search than they did in the 2010 search. The range will be $180,000 to $220,000. Here's the previous story on this topic:


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

I'm sorry, but when I hear the word "robust", I think of salad dressing, not superintendent candidate pools. You know, like "Robust Italian".


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

I'll believe it when I see it. Talk is cheap.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

Off topic, but when are we going to get the official announcement about the new principals? I saw someone yesterday who is a Bach parent and they got notification that a principal from Dexter was hired and I saw mention of a hire for Burns Park. Did we miss the official press release?


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

I believe this information was sent out to teachers and families of the three schools. Only school still up in the air is Carpenter. Burns Park, Bach,and Pattengill have new principals.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

Let's do this right, BOE. I hope I can graduate without having to worry about all of my underclassmen's future.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

Ray and Associates are part of the problem, an Iowa based company probably doesn't understand Ann Arbor. Secondly, all of these candidates that move on in the process should be local folks, or those who live in SE Michigan. Thirdly, Goober is correct, this BOE doesn't have a very good track record. This might be comical to say the least. If they keep it simple and hire the best local talent, most folks would be okay with that.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

I wish I could give your post a bakers dozen thumbs up!


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

Based on our experience, I believe the judgement of any school board member is suspect. They have proven that they are inept, clueless and lost. They would not know what a good school system supt. looks like, nor have they identified the real criteria, experience and traits that we need in a new supt. to help us lead our schools in a positive direction, for a change. I have zero faith in the AA BOE to make the right decision. I have even less faith in their chosen consultants to help us find viable candidates. Go figure!


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

I inadvertently gave you a thumbs down. I would like to correct that by giving you 50 thumbs up! Not to mention an Amen!