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Posted on Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Fit to serve: Ann Arbor school board to weigh options for interim superintendent

By Danielle Arndt


The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education with Superintendent Patricia Green. From left are Glenn Nelson, Green, Susan Baskett, Irene Patalan, Deb Mexicotte, Christine Stead, Andy Thomas and Simone Lightfoot.

From Ann Arbor Public Schools

Less than two years after completing a yearlong search to hire Superintendent Patricia Green, the Ann Arbor Board of Education will embark on its fourth quest since 2002 to hire a leader for the district.

Green submitted a letter of resignation to the board early Thursday morning. She plans to retire this summer, with her resignation effective 90 days from Wednesday, or July 9.

One of the first steps the board will need to consider prior to replacing Green is appointing an interim superintendent. It's a task that begs the question: where will the district look for a temporary leader?

Ann Arbor Superintendent Resigns

Previous Coverage:

At least one trustee has some concerns about the collective "newness" and lack of experience among the district's remaining central administrators.

"We do not have a clearly identifiable candidate internally … I think that is an area of concern," said board Secretary Andy Thomas. "But for me, the stability of positions in the central administration is always a concern."

He said Ann Arbor seemingly burns through administrators and the current makeup of its central office likely will warrant a different approach than in 2010, when Superintendent Todd Roberts left to accept a position in North Carolina. The board named then-Deputy Superintendent for Operations Robert Allen to the interim position for the 2010-11 school year during the superintendent search process.

Allen also recently left the district to take a job in North Carolina, working under Roberts at the School of Science and Mathematics.


School Trustee Andy Thomas addresses the board at a regular meeting in 2012 at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library.

Angela J. Cesere |

"With the turnover we've had in administrative staff, those who are here have been here for really only a couple of years — or less — and I don't see someone internally stepping into that position directly," Thomas said.

The remaining five top administrators in the district have an average of 2.6 years experience with AAPS. Only Deputy Superintendent for Human Resources and Legal Services David Comsa has been with the district for more than three years. He has worked at AAPS for six.

Deputy Superintendent for Instruction Alesia Flye and Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Dawn Linden both were hired by Green in the first few months of her tenure. Flye has 21 months under her belt with AAPS, while Linden has 18.

Elaine Brown, assistant superintendent for student intervention and support services, has been employed at AAPS for three years. Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education Robyne Thompson started last July.

The institutional memory for the district rests largely with the five other members of the superintendent's cabinet, with the exception of Jenna Bacolor, director of community education and recreation, who also started in July.

Executive Director of Physical Properties Randy Trent and Director of Student Accounting and Support Services Jane Landefeld have 28 years and 26 years, respectively, with AAPS; Director of Communications Liz Margolis has 10 years; and Director of Finance and Chief Executive Officer Nancy Hoover has 6.5 years.

These positions do not require the master's degree in education administration that is needed to become a school superintendent.

Each of the seven school board members also has served the district for at least three years. Trustee Simone Lightfoot, who was elected in 2010 and is one of the newest members, said when the board has more seniority than the administration, it can cause tension and frustration for both parties.

Thomas believes the board should look at whether there are any local retired administrators who might be willing to take on the superintendent's role temporarily. He also suggested asking if the Michigan Association of School Boards had any people that it makes available to serve as interim superintendents.

"I certainly don't have any candidates in mind who might be good," he said, but stressed the importance of an interim. Thomas said he or she can help keep key initiatives going during the transition period, help make decisions as needed and provide some overall supervision to the district that allows the board to focus on engaging in another search.

Board President Deb Mexicotte said how experience is weighed and valued can vary greatly from person to person.

"I think the idea of who would make a good interim superintendent is going to be different with each trustee," she said. "And that's why the board has to meet. … For example, Alesia Flye may be new to us but she's had years of experience before coming here. And she may or may not be interested in being an interim. But you have to look at the scope of somebody's experience to determine whether they would be appropriate or inappropriate."

Mexicotte said what was appealing to the board about Allen when he was appointed to the position during the search that hired Green was that Allen had no interest in filling the position permanently.

"If he had been interested, we probably would have appointed someone else and allowed him to apply … because sometimes that can be seen as an unfair advantage," she said.

But the board has done a number of different things over the years to find new superintendents. George Fornero, who led the district prior to Roberts, was an AAPS administrator who was appointed to the interim position and then later offered the position permanently.

When the board hired Roberts, there was no interim superintendent appointed. Instead, Roberts was casually recruited by the board to fill the position quickly upon Fornero's resignation.

Roberts had lived in Ann Arbor for quite some time and was commuting to Birmingham schools, where he was an assistant superintendent, Mexicotte said. Roberts had children in the Ann Arbor Public Schools and his wife worked at the University of Michigan.


Deb Mexicotte

"So as far as local goes, you couldn't find any better than Roberts … And yet in three years, he still took a position elsewhere," Mexicotte added. "So there are no parameters for looking into the future. No employee can guarantee everything will stay the same for them over the years. People's circumstances change.

"… Ann Arbor is a top-of-your-game kind of district. Our superintendents are head hunted all the time. The idea that we can somehow bullet-proof this process is a fantasy idea," she said of superintendent searches.

School officials said to their knowledge in the past 25 years, the Board of Education has never brought in an interim superintendent from outside the district, such as a retired school administrator as Thomas suggested.

The district has brought in retired administrators to fill other positions though, including finance director and director of special education, officials said.

The practice of hiring a retired superintendent or school administrator to serve as an interim superintendent is not uncommon. Dexter Community Schools currently has a retired superintendent from Riverview, Dennis Desmarias, leading its operations as the board seeks to replace Mary Marshall, who left in December to become the superintendent of Pentwater Public Schools.

The first decision the Ann Arbor board will need to make is whether to look for an immediate replacement or "to sit for a while because we think the timing is bad (for a search) and we think we might have an interim candidate," Mexicotte said.

She said if the board launched the process this week, it could have a superintendent selected and in place by July. But it would be difficult, she added.

"We certainly could hit that timeline with more local or internal prospects, but the second part is … deciding right away what geographic talent pool we want to tap — whether it be national, Midwest or just Michigan," Mexicotte said.

There also is the possibility that Green's resignation, because it is occurring within a two-year timeframe of her employment date, would fall under a "satisfaction guarantee" with the search firm the board used in 2010. Under the guarantee, the board would be offered a do-over superintendent search at little or no cost to the district.

Mexicotte added while Green is cutting her five-year contract short, the average length of a superintendent is 3.6 years — "so she's not that far off."

Green is not penalized for ending her contract early, school officials said. She will not receive a retirement package from AAPS, nor is she eligible for a pension through the state Public School Employees Retirement System due to the length of her employment in Michigan.

A report from "District Administration" magazine shows the average tenure of an urban district superintendent in the U.S. was 3.6 years in 2010, the most recent information available. That's up from 2.3 years in 1999.

According to the American Association of School Administrators, one of the key elements in running a successful district is stability. The AASA says a "revolving door" is counterproductive and that even a three-year time period is inadequate.

Margolis said there have been no discussions at the cabinet level about how Green's retirement will impact the work loads or responsibilities of the remaining central office staff. She said Green will be at AAPS for the next 90 days and everyone's focus right now is on presenting and passing a budget for the 2013-14 academic year.

Margolis said that focus will not change. She expects it to be "business as usual" at the Balas Administration Building while the board sorts out how to replace Green.

"That's all in the purview of the board. ... We're not involved in the (replacement process) unless they ask us," she said. "The board is legally responsible for hiring and overseeing the superintendent, so we would only weigh in or offer suggestions at the request or initiative of the board."

The board has not set a date yet for when it will meet to discuss the superintendent hiring process. It's next scheduled meeting is a study session at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Huron High School.

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



Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

Will we insist that the new superintendent be physically fit to serve?


Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

Could you please explain? Have we had one/some who were not?


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 10:41 p.m.

3. As many commenters have already mentioned, AAPS is a difficult organization to run. This is because Ann Arbor is a very PC kind of town, where everyone is overly outraged for any number of PC reasons . . . . unless, of course, the offending PC reason actually takes away from their own kids . . . in which case, parents will throw PC to the wind and advocate (selfishly) for their own special interests. We have all seen this in action and know how this works in the AAPS. This results in budget paralysis as BOE reflects the interests of their collective lobbying groups. Recommendation: with ANY major fiscal decision that needs to be made, ask the following question: is this decision in the best interest of ALL AAPS students, or is this decision a concession to a relatively small special interest? We must insist that BOE members ask and then answer that question (publicly) before they vote on any budgetary item. 4. The official BOE message is that we have cut all the fat and are now down to the bone. Well, I'm sorry, but many of us in the trenches can still identify significant fat that can and should be cut (see #3). I guess it all comes down to electing a competent BOE.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 10:40 p.m.

A couple thoughts from an a 28 year Ann Arbor tax-payer, an AAPS parent (3x) and an AAPS teacher: 1. For the past two decades, superintendents in Ann Arbor have had a tendency to come, do their damage and then leave town with their tails between their legs. They are a very expensive quasi-necessity, in that they do set the tone of the administration, which filters down to the schools. While past superintendents have had very little effect on what I do in the classroom, they do affect the tone of my school. Recommendation: go slowly in replacement & use local talent as an interim. Teachers will continue to provide the continuity students need and deserve. 2. The BOE is how local control actually works in running our public schools. The good news is that they are elected and can be voted out. The bad news is that most of the residents of Ann Arbor are either more interested in the injustices that happen in Nicaragua rather than the injustices in our public schools, or are just plain preoccupied and/or don't have a dog in the fight. (You know, the usual problems in a democracy.) This results in special interest blocks electing "their guy or gal" to BOE positions, which then turns into organizational disfunction. Recommendation: aside from urging quality candidates to run for BOE and making sure you cast an informed vote - I'm not sure how to address this problem. (Unless it's making sure that WE ALL call the BOE and make our voices heard.) - #s 3 and 4 in the next post


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

* not that there's anything wrong with worrying about injustice in Nicaragua.

Wake Up A2

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

You could bring back Micheal White. He would clean house. I hear the Pioneer Student Counsel want to have a statue in his honor for making the school clean,safe and run like a watch. Now look at Pioneer with a Pat Green choice........


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

Financial management, knowledge of the history of this district, and continuity are extremely important for AA schools at this point. If we are lucky enough to find good top administrators (super and financial) at this point, we should offer them good incentives to stay for five yrs. Not a top salary the first year, but, say 25,000 for each year they stay with 50K at the end of yr. 5 and for every year thereafter. AA is an incredibly hard district to govern. Most of us don't even know what the top person is supposed to be doing; it is certainly not meeting with every (group of) parent(s) and teacher(s) who call(s) for an appointment. Channels, people! Do you think corporate presidents with a budget this large are able to meet with everyone who calls? It sounds as though Green did the important work of trying to right the financial obfuscation that has gone on for decades. She was doing what she should have been doing. The commenters on don't seem to realize that there is a ~200 million dollar budget to be managed, and supervising the way these dollars are spent in the best interest of all our students is job one. I think we drove her out - all of us who think we know everything about everything and clearly don't. We will have a hard time finding someone of her caliber now.

Ann Arbor Parents For Students

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

Over the past 4 days, I think this is the point everyone is trying to make; the BOE drove her out. If the board is micro-managing your every move and you see shenanigans going on that you disagree with, and you are powerless to do what is right, yet totally accountable, no amount of money is going to convince you staying. Zero Based Budgeting is really important to do. This was Pat Green "dying last words" and a huge hint!


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

Since the board just signed their rules of playing nicely together in the sandbox, it might take a citizens petition or a recall campaign to ask some of the long-serving and most dysfunctional BOE members to step aside. It is easier to comment online than do the hours of work board members do sitting in meetings. What will happen now at the next BOE meeting is more of the same. Mexicotte will preside over the chaos and dance around the points, and Nelson will pipe up and tell her she is marvelous. Stead will try to ask a rational question and then chicken out. Patalan will do the same. The other board members who persist with rational questions will be accused of being upstarts or disloyal trouble makers. The clock will now run out and a budget has to be voted on pretty soon, correct? The superintendent just jumped ship and the BOE president is saying that we will all hold hands and call those consultants for a refund. This is Ann Arbor, so if things follow history, the next thing that happens will be BOE appoints a committee to study the issue and procrastinate.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

commenting online is easier than running for a spot on the board and it doesn't seem like we have a lot of candidates. There was an idea proposed by Floyd in the other story posted today that there should be an action-based committee made up of the stake holders in the district to have a single vote for interim leadership. That sounds more effective than having the BOE as it stands now deciding the future direction of the district.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

I can't imagine that Robert Allen would come back---he just left---presumably for compelling reasons. As far as Galardi and Dickenson-Kelley are concerned, they'd and say no anyway---they gave a lot to the AAPS. But there is no denying that both, while not perfect, made longtime commitments to the school district and served most staff and students very, very well. And it seems like more and more people are realizing that the BOE has to go----some have been on the board for 10+ years and look where we are!


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 5 p.m.

I like the comment from Freight Train, which stated, "I have only seen positive leadership in Roberts. He issued few policies that wasted my time. If district policies do not translate into more positive student interactions and encourage collegial growth then they should not be policies that consume the time of teachers and students. As a teacher I need time to plan and time to connect with my students. Time is worth more than any business profit. Virtually all district policies serve to consume my time and remove me from my students and colleagues." Any superintendent will face major budget problems. Let's hire someone that values and supports classroom teachers.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

Re-reading this story and Mexicotte's comments, I think the BOE should reorganize at the very least and appoint a new president. I did not realize Galardi was a divisive leader or had mixed reviews. I have only heard positives. I have not heard as many positives about Dickinson-Kelly. It will be pretty awkward to have Green at the high school graduations this year. It might be a better idea to have her leave sooner than July so the spirit of cleaning up the mess can kick in ASAP. DonBee's idea about a team approach might be the most practical and efficient. Is Robert Allen returning an option or did he buy a house in N. Carolina?

Wake Up A2

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

Better to put the breaks on some of her discussed changes as well, like moving RC to Pioneer. She will be gone and two programs will go down the drain with no one left to take the blame.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

The BOE should crawl on its hands and knees and beg Bob Galardi and Leigh Ann Dickinson-Kelley to come back. Together, they should be given one-two years ----and pretty much free rein----to get the district back on track. They were both overlooked in previous superintendent searches because the Board always thinks this district is too good for people who are already here and the BOE knows it can control outsiders better----or so they thought. I agree with Floyd and aaparent that we need people who know the district inside/out as Galardi and Dickinson-Kelley do. They are both widely respected and well-liked. There is no one perfect out there, no one who will make everyone happy. But our kids don't have time for someone with a learning curve to figure out this mess. Both administrators mentioned above always, always put students first and have experience with all facets of the district. They probably won't do it, as both have been treated badly by the BOE, but they should be asked/begged to come back.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 5:40 p.m.

Both were overlooked in previous superintendent searches because they had limited support in the district.I am so glad someone else threw out the fact that Galardi operates under one mode - stroke my ego! Let him remain where he is currently serving as a consultant, to the combined school district to our east. He thinks he is doing a great job there, but the staff involved sees right through him! As for Dickinson-Kelley, elementary people under her supervision were not disappointed when she left, it took too long! She spearheaded the placement of the Carpenter principal who has been put on administrative leave. she was also promoting (actually promised) a current Balas person an elementary principalship, and there is not one person at the elementary level, or the middle school level, who wants him as their principal! Not to mention the fact that he too, wants out of Balas and no one wants him on their staff!

Freight Train

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

Bob would not be a great choice. He needs his ego stroked to feel important. Remember, he was also the guy who thought science education was not needed in the elementary schools. He said he was not taught science in elementary school and he turned out well. He made this statement at a district science meeting and I don't think a single teacher looked him in the eye after that.

Wake Up A2

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

Respected? Did you ever sit next to the staff at Pioneer the last year of Bob at Pioneer?


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

Maybe, once the crucifixion-by-anonymous-posters subsides (as if that's likely) it might just be understood that Ms. Green was targeted by certain board members from Day 1 -- for no other reason than personal dislike and to gain political capital. (Witness the "you-don't-take-me-seriously" whining at nearly every board meeting.) It may also be discovered that there was a certain level of ineptitude among certain administrators and in the district's management system that Ms. Green attempted to rectify. This community made it impossible for the superintendent to do her job. But keep piling on, folks. See how that works out for you.

Jim Osborn

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

Educating children is not the same as running a business, and the district needs to be run as a business, with the customer the children.Presently, it is run as a failing business that will then fail the children


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

I wouldn't let the search firm that hired Green anywhere near the next search, even if they were willing to do it for free. They are incompetent. The cost of bringing in a commuter superintendent that drives away the only reasonable interim / permanent replacement in Robert Allen then quits a few months later is unfathomable, and this search firm's name should be published and black listed. Only now does it become clear why she did not replace Robert Allen's position, it was part of a diabolical plot to leave a scorched earth school district with no leadership behind when she left. Perhaps the most important job of any leader is succession planning, and Dr. Green did just the opposite--drove away any tenable leader. Might as well dump this mess on the folks in Lansing right now and let them own it. Clearly, Ann Arbor with its failed search firm and failed school board is not capable of running their school district under the current economic model being preached out of Lansing.

Silly Sally

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Whoa, I agree. I had been wondering why there was not Mr. Roberts in the wings.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

Here is an idea, some people will hate. Bring in an Interim on a two year contract that is a strong business person. Let them get the financial house in order. Knowing that at the end of the two years, most people will dislike them. This person may not have an education/school background and that is ok. Someone with a thick skin and strong business and budgeting background. At the same time let Alesia Flye run the education side of the house, if she does well over the next 2 years, then she gets the Superintendent seat at the end of the two year period. She ends up not taking the heat of getting zero based budgeting in place or re-working any contracts that need reworking and can focus on getting a real math program in place in the schools, as well as getting the millions of dollars of new computers and technology rolled out and integrated into daily school life. She would report to the new interim superintendent and it would not be a "CO-" situation, but she would know up front that she is in line for the job, if all went well. Ms Margolis could be the public face of the administration, going to schools and after-school events, for a period of time, being very visible in the community and filling in that gap. The district talked about succession planning when Dr. Roberts left and we are right back where we were when he left, no plan in place, no successor identified, no on the job training, nothing. Typical AAPS and BOE. Maybe they can do something un-typical this time and make a difference.

Macks Pizza

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 7 p.m.

Liz Margolis does not need anymore responsibilities. She does not know how to stay in her own lane. She is in her position because of Bob Galardi and the old boy's club. I really question her credentials.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

I like your plan, but leave out Margolis, she will not fill any gap. Her current job is exactly what you described, and as a district employee, that is as far as many of us want to see her go.

say it plain

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

Yes, sounds good @DonBee! But I think that the AAPS and BOE wouldn't do something so outside the 'typical' as to look to someone with no official "credentials" as an education-specific administrator. It seemed that some people had good things to say about Nancy Hoover the current Finance Officer? I don't know anything about her, and of course we are all speculating on what any of these folks would find acceptable. But maybe the BOE could ask Hoover to become the interim super (with Margolis as spokesperson if Hoover is similar to Green in being unable/unwilling to communicate!), and if she has desires to be full time that could be worked out or if she has no such desires or it is deemed that the implementation of zero-based budgeting--which Dr. Green said as her parting wisdom *must* be done and Hoover was the person she charged with doing it so there is an air of continuity and saving face for the BOE in that move!--is too "off-putting" for her to continue in the role of super she could fall back into the financial-operational shadows. Obviously our biggest pressing concern--despite the BOE seeming to be very concerned about twelve other things at any given moment--is the budget deficit. And obviously we need to implement accounting that is transparent and allows us to justify each and every expense instead of deciding on whim and partisan basis what should be continued and what should be cut. Yes, a finance person of some sort running things for a while seems of utmost importance!

Steve Bean

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

That's a decent idea, DonBee. The jab at the end wasn't of value, though. Getting the financial house in order might be more than is possible as it's likely to get more challenging over the next few years with revenues dropping.

Chester Drawers

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

This is EXACTLY what I was thinking before I read your post! My plan didn't include any promises to Dr. Flye, but that piece sounds fair and reasonable. This "Bring Back Robert Allen" movement is pretty scary-this is the guy who hid (or worse, didn't realize!) the fact that staffing was way over budget. Took him 6 months to bring this info forward.

Silly Sally

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

I like it, I was thinking along similar lines, but not this well thought out.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

Balas and Green mislead all their employees claiming they had to cut 17-20 million dollars and got each bargaining unit to give to help out. Then on Wednesday night the extra revenue comes out and the deficit isn't "so bad" now. The whole group at Balas needs to go. They either can't figure out their finances or they flat out lied to their bargaining unit employees. Either way, they have lost all credibility with those who work in the district. With that being said, the BOE hired Dr. Green and she hired these folks, so the BOE has lost respect of most in the community as well. This interm stuff is important, but they still have a budget to figure out for next year. I am anxious to see these folks try to figure this all out. Let the comedy show begin!!


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 8:28 p.m.

Local - The $17-20 million dollars was based on Robert Allen's accounting. Once he and his resistance to clear account categories and consistent reporting had been gone a month. the amount of the budget deficit dropped by half or more. I doubt this is a coincidence, and think that this plus the "we accidentally hired 25 too many parapros and 5 too many teachers" financial report of February should be a signal to not even consider Robert Allen as an interim superintendent.

Wake Up A2

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Danielle, You missed a few directors with many years is district...

Danielle Arndt

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

Yes, there are other department directors who have been with the district for quite some time. I was just listing the superintendent's immediate cabinet members, as they are the staff who meet most often with the superintendent, provide insights and assistance to the superintendent, and help to carry out the superintendent's and the board's directives.

Wake Up A2

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Well be honest, who wants the job? I mean knowing that you will be micromanaged by the board and will not still have your job in 3 years. Why would you. Anyone who wants it will have to tell the board one thing and do something else. Everyone who has been around the district knows that the rest of the upper end admin is out to keep their jobs at any costs.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

Anyone from the Green administration is tainted goods. Flye would be a proxy Green. Don't forget that Flye is still eating big lunches with the 25 thousand dollar raise Green and the board gave her at two in the morning last year. Bob Galardi, or someone like him, would be a safe, stable choice: the community knows him, so he has been thoroughly "vetted." He actually lives in downtown Ann Arbor, and he has held multiple positions in AA schools through the years which have put him on different sides of the table.

John Floyd

Mon, Apr 15, 2013 : 3:57 a.m.

Several people have told me that they think I wrote Floyd's comment. Let it be known that everything I write is under my full name, John Floyd. The person writing as "Floyd" is someone else.

Macks Pizza

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

That will not be a smart move. Every position that he held in the district was given to him. The boy's club worked well for Robert G. Now, if you were looking for someone to lead the circus, different story. He was ineffective as an administrator in all positions GIVEN to him. It would be of interest to see him interview for a position.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

Yes, Floyd, the community knows Galardi, which is why he should not be considered. You must be a member of his good-old-boys' club, most people are glad he is gone from AAPS and do not want him to reappear!

Wake Up A2

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Green is an alpha, the rest were hired to follow.

Silly Sally

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

Green seemed a bit sexist, for a BOE that syas that it wants diversity, as all of her hires near the top were women. Did she run an old girls club? I want the best people, not buddies.

Wake Up A2

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

Did you see what he did to Pioneer?

Ann Arbor Parents For Students

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

Hire a finance person. Seems like we cannot get the truth about our finances and make sure they implement zero based budgeting so the public can really see where the money goes. Every year we are running a deficit and blaming the State of Michigan for this problem, when it seems to be local. Other districts work with less and the kids go to the same colleges our do. Also, Willow Run, Ypsilanti, etc. just consolidated, so Washtenaw County ISD are healthier and there is no need for a millage increase at the county level!

Ann Arbor Parents For Students

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

J.A. Pieper, the BOE just signed a contract with our unions that we cannot afford and they are now threatening layoff, school closings, etc. Seems like they decided on the 80% of the budget before they held public forums, so--they are just using these forums to get public champions for their millage campaign. Notice what BOE members are visibly missing from the forums-those who think asking for more money after just getting a $80million technology bond passed. Ann Arbor Parents for Students, is about AAPS students first, keeping cuts away for the classroom and maintaining programs that are meaningful and beneficial to our students. We also believe in preserving and maintaining high quality teachers , having parent input and feedback on our principals and teachers.

Ann Arbor Parents For Students

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

is healthier

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

AAPS is planning on having a County wide millage vote during the 2014 fall elections, when more people vote. This has been brought up at the forums if you have attended any. All other districts in Washtenaw county turned it down, with AA barely passing it, as reported recently at the Slauson forum.

Silly Sally

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

"Mexicotte added while Green is cutting her five-year contract short, the average length of a superintendent is 3.6 years — "so she's not that far off." So, is this part of the new math? 3.6 years is about 43 months. Green was here for about 21 or so, or roughly HALF, very far off. Oh, so silly, except she runs our BOE. Can Johnny read?

Angry Moderate

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

Why on earth is Deb Mexicotte comparing Green's length of "service" with the AVERAGE rather than with the length of the contract she actually signed?


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

21 is close enough to 43 for government work.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

Roberts was hired quickly, and he, in my opinion, was one of the best. Surely there is someone here in Ann Arbor area who could fulfill the needs of AAPS.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

"If he had been interested, we probably would have appointed someone else and allowed him to apply … because sometimes that can be seen as an unfair advantage," she said. Not a very well informed comment. Interim positions allow a "try before you buy". If all candidates measure the same, the interim could be chosen for stability. That's FAIR to the students and the district. Mexicotte added while Green is cutting her five-year contract short, the average length of a superintendent is 3.6 years — "so she's not that far off." Really? She quit in month 22? 3.6 years is 42 months. "not that far off"? REALLY? Deb Mexicotte's letter singing Green's praises smells bad. Either it was part of a behind the scenes deal or it's a CYA for Mexicotte. When do people resign and their boss writes a glowing recommendation in less than a day?


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

Sarah Palin employment arithmetic?


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

As important as this is, I would be on the phone to Robert Allen and ask him to come back to Ann Arbor. My feeling is that he left because of Dr. Green, not necessarily because he wanted to go. It is interesting that all the experience at balas left during her tenure, and we are left with folks who we don't know can do the job. I like the idea of Bob Gilardi as well.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

Mr. Allen left, in part, because of the disfunctional BOE. He will not come back.

Silly Sally

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

" Why is the BOE asking for public opinion?" Because they are elected to represent us, not themselves or their fiefdom. They work for us, the public and tax payers and parents. You must prefer smoke filled back rooms. Most people do not. Next.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

Local - If you like Obscurity, then by all means get on the phone. I hope everyone likes to file FOIAs to get information and opaque documents.

Ann Arbor Parents For Students

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

No Bob Galardi. Why is the BOE asking for public opinion?

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

Bob Galardi is popular among the immediate community he lived in, most staff in AAPS were not sad to see him leave the district. He is one of the "good-old-boys" and not someone who should lead this district, even as an interim!

Silly Sally

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

interesting insight. But now he may like his new home. The damage done by the carpetbagger


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 11:44 a.m.

Deputy Superintendent for Instruction Alesia Flye is a good choice of an interim even though she has been here for only 21 months. We need someone who has a sense of the district. Bringing in a total outsider didn't work so good the last time. It is a tough job. Finding someone who is the total package is nearly impossible. However, finding someone who has the soft skills to work with an excellent staff and parent population makes it possible to do what needs to be done. A team player/leader is what we desperately need.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

Someone who recently left AAPS to go work with a former superintendent said that the only capable person left in AAPS was Alesia Flye. So, in spite of her lack of time working in this district, maybe she should be the person of choice.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

With all due respect to Mr Ranzini, bringing in a budget and finance person in to manage our schools is exactly the wrong approach. It should be an educator at the top who is in charge of education, and a deputy managing the finances. Budget and finance are means to an end, and should not be elevated above our primary goal, to give our kids the best education poosible - within reasonable budgetary constraints.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

Goober, I am not a finance person, but I see the waste in AAPS from the inside!

Freight Train

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

@Ranzini. As an educator I cringe any time someone refers to education in business terms. I understand the importance of budgetary mindfulness and adequate planning and spending, but profit is not involved. Sure, you could create a cute symbolic analogy that is tidy and neat, but it will fail to describe the educational process. I too read Collins' book and I wanted to throw it across the room after the first chapter. In this chapter Collins stresses the importance of choosing a great leadership team with synergistic relationships leading towards a greater end. He talks about the quality of the product being the end goal. Collins states that you should determine who is "allowed on the bus". The bus being the leadership team. As a teacher I get the leadership that I am given and the raw materials (students) that I am given. I have zero control over these variables. In a business model we can get rid of poor leaders and switch suppliers if the raw materials become poor in quality. In education we open our hearts and minds to the students we have and work with/around the leadership we are given. I have only seen positive leadership in Roberts. He issued few policies that wasted my time. If district policies do not translate into more positive student interactions and encourage collegial growth then they should not be policies that consume the time of teachers and students. As a teacher I need time to plan and time to connect with my students. Time is worth more than any business profit. Virtually all district policies serve to consume my time and remove me from my students and colleagues.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

Most educators have failed to address financial issues. Maybe they did not take any finance classes when obtaining their education degrees - both under graduate, as well as advanced degrees.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

@Kafkaland: The "Servant Leadership" style is best described in Jim Collins best seller "Good to Great" which is commonly described as one of the best business books ever written. Collins did his research while on the faculty at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. AccordIng to an article cited in Wikipedia, "Collins used a large team of researchers who studied '6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project.'" In his research, what Collins was looking for was common leadership traits of individuals who had taken below average companies to greatness, with metrics far above their peer group. He never used the term in the book, but others have described the group of traits that he found these great leaders all had, was what is known as "servant leadership.". You can read more about it at and at

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

@Kafkaland: Ballas is chock full of educational experts to draw advice from. Actually the most important criteria is to hire an excellent leader. The most effective leadership style is "servant leadership" so if we could find one of those willing to take the job we'd be very lucky indeed. Facing a budget crisis you also really need someone great with numbers.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 10:37 a.m.

What about Bob Galardi? He knows the district, is well-liked, respected, former AAEA head and principal at two high schools and more.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

Starting a comment by "I dont know the man", then repeating disparaging unsourced comments by another commenter and concluding by saying this is the exact opposite of what we need does not advance the discussion and does Bob Galardi (who I dont know) a disservice. Presumably if he has been hired to consolidate Willow Run and Ypsi someone must think he is competent.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

P.S. The first and most important trait shared by all the "Great" leaders in Jim Collins' research was "Level 5 Leadership: Leaders who are humble, but driven to do what's best for the company."

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

I don't know the man, however I'd say that any leader who "functions on having his EGO praised" is an AWFUL leader, and exactly the opposite of what is required to be a great leader, which is "Servant Leadership". The "Servant Leadership" style is best described in Jim Collins best seller "Good to Great" which is commonly described as one of the best business books ever written. Collins did his research while on the faculty at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. AccordIng to an article cited in Wikipedia, "Collins used a large team of researchers who studied '6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project.'" In his research, what Collins was looking for was common leadership traits of individuals who had taken below average companies to greatness, with metrics far above their peer group. He never used the term in the book, but others have described the group of traits that he found these great leaders all had, was what is known as "servant leadership.". You can read more about it at and at

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

But very few people respect him, he should not be considered for this, even as an interim. Besides, he is working with willow Run and Ypsi in their process of combining districts. He functions on having his EGO praised, not what AAPS needs at this time.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 10:27 a.m.

Facing an $8.67 million deficit, I would advise they bring in a financial and budgeting expert, sooner the better! Alternatively, if it's required under Michigan state law that a public school superintendent has to have a masters or PhD degree in education then I'd look for a retired Superintendent of a district as large as AAPS who lives in Ann Arbor or Washtenaw County, has a good track record and is willing to come out of retirement temporarily. I know of at least one highly qualified person who fits that description but am unsure if she'd even want the job.

Jim Osborn

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Good idea as the district needs to be run as a business, with the customer the children.


Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Agreed. A private sector manager that has experience in "right sizing" an organization and getting finances in order would be my preference. Public sector management seems to be dumbfounded when the rate of increase in their budget is reduced, let alone when they have to face actual cuts.

Silly Sally

Sun, Apr 14, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

Until they get their financial house i order, no educational type will be too interested. I'm sure that this is partly why Green bailed out on us, along with a helicopter BOE that spends, spends, spends. Where is the adult in the room, that just says "no"?