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Posted on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor elementary principal remains on paid leave after 4 months of investigation

By Danielle Arndt

Previous coverage:

Carpenter Elementary School students will start class this fall under the supervision of an interim principal while district officials continue to investigate claims of harassment involving Charles Davis Jr.


Charles Davis Jr.

Davis was in his second year as principal of Carpenter when he was placed on paid administrative leave in early March. An investigation has been underway for nearly five months.

A letter from Human Resource Director Cynthia Ryan, informing Davis of his leave of absence, states there are allegations that Davis violated the Ann Arbor Public Schools harassment policy and "other potential violations."

Davis earns a salary of $96,975 as Carpenter's principal.

District spokeswoman Liz Margolis said Thursday there has been no change in Davis' employment status with the district; he remains on a paid leave of absence until further notice.

The district does not comment on personnel matters, Margolis said. The investigation by the human resource department is ongoing, and there is no time frame for when the investigation will be completed, she said. She added that from what she has been told, interim principal Ed Broom will be listed as the interim building leader on correspondences with parents about the beginning of the school year.

Broom has been an assistant principal at Scarlett Middle School for the past seven years. He was temporarily placed at Carpenter in March upon the news of Davis' leave. Jaye Peterson, a physical education teacher at Scarlett, will continue to serve as acting assistant principal at Scarlett in Broom's absence.

A May 2012 memorandum from central administration to Davis shows a history of concerns and complaints about Davis from teachers at Carpenter.

The memorandum describes a conference that took place in April 2012 and involved Davis, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Dawn Linden, Ryan and Davis' union representation. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the series of allegations regarding Davis' leadership at Carpenter.

In the document, which was obtained by, Linden detailed discussions of the meeting and the various allegations. The allegations included sharing negative impressions of teachers' job performances with other staff, being dishonest with staff members regarding changes to teachers' grade-level placements, creating a climate of fear and intimidation at Carpenter and making inappropriate comments to colleagues that contained foul language.

The memorandum suggests Davis pursued and questioned staff members seen talking to each other and their union representation.

"Teachers reported closing their doors and refraining from conversing together due to concerns about how their interactions will be viewed by you," Linden wrote in her 2012 memorandum to Davis. "In response, you shared that some teachers are rebelling against the high standards that you have set this year in your building, and are embellishing and in some cases being completely untruthful about your interactions.

"During our discussion, we talked about your intent versus teacher perception and the implications of 40 percent of your teachers sharing feelings of intimidation and fear."

Linden also warned Davis in the memo that he should "take great care" in conducting himself professionally and with integrity.

"... It is expected that you cultivate a positive school climate based on trust. School climate hinges on the perceptions of your constituents. Setting high standards and holding staff accountable are not exclusive to respectful relationships," Linden wrote. "Be mindful of your interactions and exercise sound judgement. ... You are in the process of defining your leadership style and this feedback should be seen as an opportunity to fine-tune your approach in building your team and enlisting them to help you achieve your vision."

In his most recent performance evaluation, which was in June 2012, Davis received an overall rating of "effective." He was scored on 43 performance measures and received an "effective" rating in 35 areas, a "highly effective" rating in one area and a "minimally effective" rating in seven areas. He did not receive any "ineffective" scores.

Linden, who conducted his review, recognized Davis' efforts to create a new vision of "becoming exceptional" at Carpenter Elementary. She also congratulated Davis on leading his staff toward an increased use of student achievement data in instructional planning and delivery, for improving grounds and building cleanliness and for reducing the number of student suspensions from 2010-11 to 2011-12.

AAPS hired Davis prior to the 2005-06 academic year as a resource teacher at Stone High School (the recently renamed Ann Arbor Technological High School). He spent three years as a math teacher at Stone before teaching fourth and fifth grade at Haisley Elementary School. During the 2010-11 school year, Davis served a stint as interim principal at Haisley, after which he was named principal at Carpenter.

Davis received all complimentary teacher evaluations dating back to December 2005.

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


Burr Oak

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

Guess what? This isn't the only principal in the district who has created a climate of fear and retribution. I think it's great that the teachers at Carpenter were brave enough to pursue their issue. Other teachers have fewer tools: the traditional AAPS principal evaluation was a hand written affair, delivered to the principal, and not sent to Balas. This year, a more discreet form was supplied, but there was no space for comments. Why would one expect to see a response from the 'cabinet' which is exactly that: workers in the Balas who rarely or never actually set foot in the buildings, much less develop any kind of trusting relationship with teachers. If the Board surveyed teachers about their principals, they might have a better understanding about the state of morale here and what kind of superintendent they should be seeking. However, that is not likely to happen. That is why we have unions.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:16 a.m.

just get this investigation done.just because someone is at least a decent teacher doesn't make them principal material.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

AAPS please make a decision fast. We need to know if davis is being reinstated so we have enough time to remove our child and find another school before the year starts. I just had a funny thought, the $32K that we taxpayers have given him while he has been on leave is probably the only money he received from us that wasn't wasted. It might actually be worth it to pay him to stay OUT of our kids school.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

It is ok to be "prejudice" here if that is the underlying issue. Meaning having a pre-conceived bias without a clue. Difference sensitivity is ingrained in everyone. That is how nature works. Believe it or not, diversity is intelligence itself. Survival. Easy to prove. Imagine "A" is the only letter in the alphabet. You will soon figure out that to communicate some form of "change" in "A" is absolutely required. Like grouping "A" into "different" patterns using spaces. AAA A A A AAA (SOS in Morse Code). Some lifeforms have to ability to reproduce without a partner (cloning). Most must use a diverse genetic outsider. Why? Nature's survival program. It Forces newborns to be unique. Despite each parent's bias their children get a new chance to adapt to their world. While done learning in their own family tribe by age 4 kids are still adaptable and schools can improve their chances of future survival - or not. For thousands of years natural and forced tribal differences were used in organization. Why? Same survival logic. Peoples diversified on purpose. Even used different dialects. The Scots got "color less" eyes and hair from invaders (more blue/green/blond/red). Used tattoos, tartans, and clans to survive. Some rituals worked others did not. Daaahling. Girrrrrl. Your royal highness. Rule hierarchy and pay differences? Same pre-conceived "biases". Brain specialization ? Same thing. Diversity is Intelligence. Dealing with liberal A2's prejudice is difficult - it doesn't exist. Knowing "prejudice" is still required for its advancement. IF Davis is different - Great! celebrate! AAPSs needs intelligent change despite any not-a-tribespeople here. IF the Davis style is "effective" then work it. Win. If not for you move on to one that is (or you become the tribal problem). IF Davis is detrimental to kids "betterment" or truthfully "good" teacher efforts,


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

As a tax payer I am PO'd with the WASTE of money. If he is found to have done everything that he is accused of, can we get our money back? As a parent of a child still at Carpenter, I am scared that the board has wasted so much time making a decision that the next principal will be just as unqualified as davis has been. Very poor management by AAPS. Poorly managed indeed!!!!


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 3:47 a.m.

I've volunteered at Carpenter on various projects, and the staff has been some level-headed folks. There's been some turnover at Carpenter AND the 40 % reporting fear/intimidation. Excluding those who would have retired anyway, I wonder what the percentage would be if the ones who left were factored in, for an overall "dissatisfied" percentage? Would it top 50 %? What exactly was being feared?

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:21 a.m.

Vindictive treatment, demeaning comments made to staff & parents, there is a sense of walking on eggshells under his leadership. What more do you need as far as an explanation of what is feared?


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 2:27 a.m.

This is union power run amuck. Fear and intimidation in education. Go to war and you'll know real fear and intimidation. Paid leave? Just a reason to drag this on, and on, and on and on. No decisions necessary. No accountability for either party necessary. Just waste the taxpayers money, because they can with impunity. Must be nice to have unlimited resources and time to waste. Welcome to the Ann Arbor Public School district.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 1:57 a.m.

How bizarre. With all the other principals at high schools, there has to be at least someone able to transfer to fill in. Or would this be a decrease in salary? No wonder the AAPS can't find anyone to run the schools. They keep running away. Makes you wonder why.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

Ann Arbor, What is UP with you?! Mr. Davis is AWESOME! He was a great interim principal at Haisley Elementary and were so sad to see him go but also happy for him to have the chance to be a principal at Carpenter. This really blows my mind. I don't know What is going on over there but I can say that he is a good man and this is totally lame. Seriously. People, he's nice, he's a hard worker, maybe not a touchy feely BS'er but he knew EVERY kid's name at Haisley and worked his butt off to get us grant money for a new parking lot. Mr. Davis, you are welcome back at Haisley any time! Stay strong. :)

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 1:22 a.m.

Okay, Jenny, you take him back at Haisley! Problem solved!


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

Bravo, totally agree LXIX!


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 1:07 a.m.

First off, Mr. Davis we love you and miss you dearly. The children love and continue to ask for you. The 40% that are so intimidated should self evaluate and understand that kids are suffering as a result. I've worked in a professional environment with all different management styles. Everyone is accountable and held to a standard that talki g to like a baby isn't going to cut. The interim prin is HORRIBLE...get him out bring Davis back!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

I completely agree. Mr. Davis was a great principal! He knew the name of every student in that building and clearly cared for them. The parents that I spoke to felt/feel the same way. Not sure who all the unhappy parents are; I have not met them.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

Really, you struck my previous post, but are allowing Reallypeople's comments to stay up? We all know that the only person who would write this stuff, "mr. davis we love you ..." and ..."the interim prin is horrible" could only be davis himself. To a person, I have not met a parent at Carpenter who would not take Mr. Broom over davis any day of the week. Reallypeople must be davis himself


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 3:49 a.m.

The interim principal is a smart, wise, caring, experienced professional. They are lucky/blessed to have him there.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

I have been on unpaid medical leave for more than 4 months because of a work related injury


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

"The allegations included " o sharing negative impressions of teachers' job performances with other staff, = Suppose the "impressions" are true. Confiding in a colleague So and So teacher is a slacker. Should he be fired for that? o "being dishonest with staff members regarding changes to teachers' grade-level placements, " So Davis changed the school organization to test teacher abilities without updating some staff member first. He is the Boss there. That is his job. Which staff member had a pressing need to know to give him permission first?. o "creating a climate of fear and intimidation at Carpenter and making inappropriate comments to colleagues that contained foul language - Grow up. This isn't a church. Some people really do use swear words. Maybe listen to those kids ! o "In response, you shared that some teachers are rebelling against the high standards that you have set this year in your building, and are embellishing and in some cases being completely untruthful about your interactions." - What if that is the truth? And these teachers without any "news" history of their "favorable ratings" might actually be the horrid ones everybody is complaining about. Stuck out to the last pasture in one of the tougher schools. If they can't perform then its career curtains for them in Ann Arbor Public Schools.. Shoulda been a lawyer.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

are you his union rep?

Shawn Letwin

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 10:45 p.m.

With two separate unions that represent the management (principals) and the workers (teachers) (and maybe more with clerical, janitorial, etc.) surprises here.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

"...n his most recent performance evaluation, which was in June 2012, Davis received an overall rating of 'effective/' ..." Clearly Davis should go back to work and the handful of intimidated teachers relocated. Or Davis had has a recent upset in his private life that needs to be resolved Or (most likely) There is something seriously wrong with the AAPS promotion and grading system. Who is responsible and were is the outcry about that ? No administrative checks and balances in Balas?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.

Forty percent intimidation rate for teachers is a significant number, not a handful. Getting paid to stay home and deal with your private life? Unheard of in the real world. He apparently has friends somewhere in high places or he would be gone by now.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

As a parent, I also found Mr. Davis to be very unprofessional, rude and intimidating. I had concerns involving a teacher that was his friend. I approached him by sending a quick email asking when he had time to meet to discuss some negative experiences in the classroom. It was made very clear to me that he did not want to hear about it. He responded in "Mr. Davis fashion"....and copied the teacher!! I later found out several parents had already voiced concerns about this teacher long before I ever tried speaking to him about it.


Fri, Aug 9, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

Wow...I could have written this myself!


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:02 p.m.

So 4 months collecting an annual salary $97,000 for doing nothing?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

It is very important that teachers feel comfortable and safe in their work environment and their union ensures that they will be protected. However, it is not just the teachers who feel uncomfortable and intimidated - many of the students and parents feel equally intimidated by this principal. As there is no union to protect the kids or their families, we all have to tread ever so lightly about the social tension that has developed since Mr. Davis came on board. The tension and undercurrent of dysfunction is palpable at this school. Nobody wants to discuss this for obvious reasons, but the conversation needs to take place for the sake of the kids. As a parent at Carpenter I have to say that based on my interactions with Mr. Ed Broom, the interim principal, I think he would be just the principal to turn this around for the good of all and I hope he is given a chance to do this. The sooner this situation is resolved the better. Dragging out this process is monetarily costly and hurtful to the Carpenter community overall.


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:22 a.m.

it certainly sounds like there is a disconnect Mr. Davis and many of the people who deal with him including the kids.

J. A. Pieper

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

I hope that you and other parents stick to your beliefs on this issue. It is so important to the well being of the total school, and the bottom line for everyone is that if teachers/children/parents are intimidated and fearful of the building leader, learning will suffer. Sometimes the administrators at Balas do not seem to understand this when it happens at the building level. Maybe now, since they experienced it with the now gone superintendent, it will be different. We had the same kind of principal at my building, and nothing was done about the situation for 15 years. Our building was dysfunctional, and a teacher who was assigned to the building from another school said it was like a cancer, she could feel it every time she entered the building. I would get sick to my stomach each day that I pulled into the parking lot. This is no way for any school in AAPS to function, which is why I understand what you are going through. Do everything you can to make sure this situation gets fixed for your building, the stakeholders in the community ( children and their parents, not to mention the teachers) deserve much better!


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:08 p.m.

Well said and I totally agree. I hope this can be put behind us and the future of Carpenter can be bright.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4 p.m.

"40 percent of your teachers sharing feelings of intimidation and fear" and over the last 4 months he's been paid $32,000 to sit home and do nothing! Seems like they've had PLENTY of time to make a decision about this guy. Do something, please!

Momma G

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

Come on Ann Arbor, quit wasting the money on paying this person. Put him on unpaid leave and recall some of the teachers you laid off. At least they will be there for the students, not for an ego-boost.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

Do they at least make him come in to some office each day, or is he being paid to sit at home? Keep telling yourself "It's all about the children." I'm sure that this endless delay and paid leave helps children to learn.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

"During our discussion, we talked about your intent versus teacher perception and the implications of 40 percent of your teachers sharing feelings of intimidation and fear." FORTY PERCENT? And he's on paid leave?? Sheesh.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Do the right thing! If 40% of the teachers at the school have made allegations or confirmed feeling fear and intimidation by him, that should be enough to fire him. School climate is largely shaped by how teachers feel in the environment; he has negatively affected the school's spirit.No other school is going to want him now, and he certainly can't stay at Carpenter. Please get on with it! Maybe he sues, you reach a settlement and move on. Can't anybody make a decision anymore?


Wed, Jul 31, 2013 : 2:24 a.m.

come on BOE stop dragging your heels.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

@ J.A. Exactly what isn't being said... Let's keep paying him while we find a way to do this without getting accused of discrimination, right?!?! If he was a white male he'd be unemployed for three months.

J. A. Pieper

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

Not when it involves someone of a different race.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Something is definitely wrong if he has been paid for four months of vacation while they "investigate". But then, I'm not surprised by much anymore. There is always an excuse.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Put him to work or get him out of here. We have plenty of qualified educators to fill the void. Enough is enough.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

Good for the teachers at Carpenter for doing something about this situation, unlike another elementary school a few years back who's teachers wouldn't or couldn't.

J. A. Pieper

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:59 p.m.

Would he possibly be someone very vocal for Quad AAAA?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

thecompound: I know who you are referring to. Unfortunately, that principal has been shuffled around and not changed any bad behaviors. And still collects a huge principal's salary and then a retirement. There needs to be a way to get rid of these people and stop the inaction due to threats of lawsuits. The district can't afford to hang on to these bad apples, either financially or educationally.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

Unfortunately Carpenter parents didn't have anything to do with Davis's removal - although many of us complained and some left the school. Everything I've read about his removal refers only to the case the teachers brought against him.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

I agree that the one I am referring to has the same "management" style as this Mr. Davis (fear, intimidation, belittling, etc). The person I am referring to has been shuffled around the district but thankfully he must be close to retirement age.

J. A. Pieper

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

I know the school you might be talking about, and we did try! These two principals sound like twins in their behavior! But, a major screw up caused the district to leave him in his position until retirement age! I think the district is being extra careful to make sure the same screw up doesn't happen again. Also, it seems that AAPS lives by a "Once hired, never fired" creed for people in administration!


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1 p.m.

I wasn't there, but if there's much truth to some of these allegations then the perfect job for Mr. Davis would appear to be the recently-spurned Superintendent position. Sure the schools seem awfully expensive for what we apparently get, but frequent public interaction between Mr. Davis and the School Board is a pretty delicious prospect. At least until the recalls take effect.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

That's a great idea. I wish I would have thought of something like that ;-)


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

This seems to be taking a long time. 4 month investigation seems like enough time to make a decision. Here is my best guess. They might not be offenses in which they can fire him, but they know that can't send him back to Carpenter under the circumstances. (And they probably don't have a place to put him at this point in time.) Also, with a 96,000 a year pay out, if fired we could hire back 1-2 laid off teachers for that amount and help bring down class sizes.

J. A. Pieper

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

Silly Sally, he was moved up because the previous assistant superintendent of elementary education in the district thought he was a great guy! he filled in at Haisley for a short stint and apparently handled that job effectively. I was a teacher on a district wide interview committee and he did interview well (some coaching by his number one supporter?). But, as in many situations, his true personality became evident once he had a little power.

Silly Sally

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

Why was he ever moved up to being a principal so quickly with so little expience? WHat was so special about him, as compared to other teachers?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

How many times have we heard various public entities claim "We have cut our costs to the bone – there is nothing left to cut"? And, yet, we then continually read news stories about shameful wastes of tax dollars.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

Anybody else thinking he should throw his hat in the ring for the Superintendent opening? He is local. I bet we could get him cheap?


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

The BOE has been looking for a supt. To no avail. We can't expect them to multi task. Maybe they have taken the summer off!

Howard Beale

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

The school board will probably have to hire another high priced consulting firm to tell them what they should do. I think it's time we replace the entire school board with a consulting firm! Privatize Balas!


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

Can't they give this guy other responsibilities, other than a paid vacation? Maybe he can type or file or work in a cafeteria.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

Wouldn't it make sense for him to not work in the school district when there are alleged harrassment charges against him? I'd want those issues resolved before he was back working in the schools environment.

J. A. Pieper

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

He has been seen working at the Balas Administration building.

Henry Belaus

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

my guess is that the collective bargaining agreement allows him to refuse work at a lower level even if he retains his current rate. also placement in another position within the same building may impede the investigation and allow him easy access to influence others.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

Maybe those jobs are beneath him.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 10:54 a.m.

This is very expensive; paying a $96,000 salary while hiring an interim as well. Why would this investigation take so long? Who is dragging their feet? Of all the places that can't afford dragging this out, it's the school system.


Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 11:18 a.m.

Anyone can sue and for any reason. The threat of a lawsuit should never stop an organization from doing what's right.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

Squidlover has a good point. However to clarify, AAPS has not hired an interim principal. They have moved a resource from another building, Ed Broom from Scarlett, and bumped a Phys. Ed. instructor up to interim assistant principal at Scarlett. So, they have kept additional costs minimized by only having to pay a stipend to the interim assistant principal instead of a full $100K salary plus benefits (so say $130K total) to an additional employee.


Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

I hate to say this, but if you think it has been expensive so far, it is likely going to get worse. If they terminate his employment, Davis will likely sue to school system. If they keep him in a position of authority, the union or another group may sue for failure to remove a source of intimidation and harassment. My guess is that they are trying to negotiate an "exit strategy" that will appease as many as possible. However, this may be dragging out because this whole ordeal will certainly affect Davis' capability of securing other employment in education (not that he should continue to be in education, mind you).

Bob W

Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 10:50 a.m.

Why do these "investigations " take so long. We don't want a rush to judgement either way, but jeez!