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Posted on Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

Community Q-&-A: Superintendent finalist Brian Osborne in the hot seat

By Danielle Arndt

Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent finalist Brian Osborne will answer questions from the community Wednesday night in a public forum, and will be covering it live.


New Jersey superintendent Brian Osborne discusses his 90-day entry plan for the job of Ann Arbor superintendent to the Board of Education on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at Skyline High School.

Danielle Arndt |

Osborne, superintendent of South Orange and Maplewood School District in New Jersey, is one of two candidates who advanced to the final round of interviews in Ann Arbor's search for its next superintendent. Former Superintendent Patricia Green retired last week after two years with AAPS.

The other finalist, Jeanice Kerr Swift, an assistant superintendent from Colorado Springs, completed her interview and public Q-&-A session Tuesday. The Board of Education is expected to name either Swift or Osborne as the next top official of the Ann Arbor schools at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Osborne spent Wednesday touring the district and meeting with key staff, parents and community members. At 1:15 p.m., he had his final interview with the school board and presented his 90-day entry plan for how he would spend his first three months in the district if selected to assume the role of superintendent.

The community Q-&-A session with Osborne will begin at 7 p.m. in the Skyline High School Media Center, 2552 N. Maple Road, on the third floor. Follow along with the meeting in the live blog below.

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



Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 3:52 a.m.

Dr Osborne seems to be a MUCH stronger candidate than Dr Kerr Swift, in all respects, IMO.


Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 1:01 a.m.

I am impressed he read the story about Carter offering Green a ride in her truck. He seems well prepared and shows that he has some plans or ideas that are more specific than Swift. He got more general talking about his potential personal plans if he and his family moved and about details of his contract, but that seems reasonable to me. If he was offered the job and hypothetically he moved here before his family did, that also seems reasonable It's important to me that he said he would want his kids to graduate from A2 schools and would see that through. . This district is in a period of low morale and stress. I think it would be tough on a family to move and adjust at the same time a parent is laying the groundwork for a new job. Having family move after an initial transition seems well within the limits of a personal family decision. As long as it's a certainty he would move here with his family, his kids would attend public school and he would pay city taxes, the details of his family move are a personal family decision. The issue with Dr. Green was that it was a permanent long-distance hire. She commuted back home regularly, as I understood it. That is entirely different.

West Side Mom

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Right, and he if the new Super and aaparent bumped into each other at the Meijer on Jackson or the Target on Ann Arbor-Saline, that would happen in Scio and Pittsfield Townships, respectively.


Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 11:19 a.m.

Aaparent. I think what bob meant is that township residents pay the same school tax you pay, but pay a different city tax for upkeep of roads, etc. By living either in the city or in the township the new super would pay exactly what you do for school service.


Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 9:01 a.m.

correction: he threw out the idea that a portion of his salary would be held until a deadline was met for meeting goals. I read in a NJ news article that he contributed a percentage of a raise his board gave him to an educational foundation. I would like to know how that works and if that is something other superintendents in his age category do. If I read correctly, he took the NJ job before his PHD was complete and finished his dissertation during early years of his job. That speaks to his organizational skills that he got the work done and took on a new job. His passion, compared to Swift, seems to be about making education provide access and opportunity to all. He seems to be ready to pick up a hammer and get to work than my impression of Swift, who might spend more time preparing the work space and setting things up, which was Green's pattern. It took Green a long time to acclimate, then propose plans, and then upon starting to implement, her introverted leadership style was more evident and not a good fit for Ann Arbor.


Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 8:53 a.m.

@Basic Bob - I think it is preferable a new superintendent pays city taxes to feel the same contribution/pain as those who do. If his kids attended Ann Arbor schools, but family lived in Dexter or Saline or Plymouth Canton, for instance, I would be question it. I read in a NJ news article that his kids attended another school district than the one he was superintendent of. If for privacy reasons, he wanted his family to be part of another non-Ann Arbor community but live in Ann Arbor school limits or send kids to AAPS as an employee, I think that is a lower stake in the outcome of decisions a superintendent might make that impact the district. Ownership and accountability includes being able to face someone at the grocery store or at a Rec-Ed soccer game. If an angry parent imposed on his family time at a soccer game with his kids, for instance, I think he should ask the parent to visit him in his office but claim his family time. I would disagree with a superintendent living in a different city to accomplish that line between personal and professional, given that Ann Arbor is just big enough to make that happen. That is just my opinion. He seems competent, enthusiastic and willing to get to know people in the district. He doesn't want to lock himself in his office and would rename the fictional cabinet to an action-goal-based team of senior leaders. If the senior leaders across the district did not perform to the standards of his leadership model, I infer he would take action if it was the right thing to do for kids learning. At this point, without more specifics, I think that might be the best we can get in Ann Arbor right now. Another positive for me is that he threw out the idea that his salary would be with held until he met goals. That is a real step forward. I assume he referred to Green's salary as "sick" in slang, meaning awesome. It is a plus he said publicly it is a fat salary.

Basic Bob

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 3:26 a.m.

Why is it necessary for him to pay city taxes? There are 50,000 people living in the school district who do not live in the city. Say he wants to buy a home in Ann Arbor Township, would that be a deal breaker?


Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 12:40 a.m.

I don't necessarily agree with him on everything, but this guy did his homework, sounded honest, and his answers had real substance. Danielle, thanks for the wonderful work.


Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

Ditto. Yes. Thanks heaps for the play-by-play Danielle !

Mary D.

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 11:46 p.m.

*superintendents (plural)

Mary D.

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

Danielle, when you heard "soups", it was the pronunciation of "sups", short for superintendent.

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 2:45 a.m.

Haha, well that would certainly make more sense, now wouldn't it? Thanks a bunch Mary! :)

Top Cat

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 11:37 p.m.

Osborne is from New Jersey. He can take whatever a bunch of Ann Arbor hicks can dish out.

Basic Bob

Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 1:32 a.m.

And he can make them cry. That won't go over well.


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 11:32 p.m.

random info salary - Maplewood.patchdotcom Orange maplewood BOE votes Osborne a raise 208k to 221,001 retro to July 1 for exceeding expectations. Plus past bonus awards previously denied by his county super as violation of Osborne's contract. Due to Governor Chris Christie's caps on superintendent pay, Osborne's salary will drop to about $167,500 after his contract with the district expires in June 2014. The (Ann) Arbor position has a salary range of $180,000 to $220,000. ratings 10 is perfect - Zillowdotcom South Mountain Elementary rated 9 623 students 15 per teacher South Orange Middle 8 673 s 11/t Jefferson Elementary 8 503 s 10/t Maplewood Middle 7 753 s 11/t Tuscan Elementary 7 609 s 13/t Columbia High 6 1856 s 12/t Clinton Elementary 6 500 s 10/t Seth Boyden Elementary 6 514 s 11/t Marshall Elementary 6 482 students 8 per teacher


Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 12:46 a.m.

for rating comparison - ann arbor schools and academies 14 schools are rated 10 (the best) includes the high schools 4 rated 9 3 with 8 4 with 7 1 with 6 1 with 5 1 with 4 7 NR