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Posted on Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Osborne: 'Carefully considering' Ann Arbor schools superintendent position

By Danielle Arndt

The man Ann Arbor school board members say is the right man for the job is thoughtfully weighing the move with his family, which the Board of Education voted 7-0 to offer him Friday night.


Ann Arbor superintendent hopeful Brian Osborne, superintendent of South Orange-Maplewood School District in New Jersey, listens intently to a question from a community members during a Q&A at Skyline High School on Wednesday, July 17.

Courtney Sacco I

After a speedy but vigorous three-month search process, Ann Arbor Public Schools trustees are certain they've found a highly qualified new superintendent for the district in Brian Osborne of South Orange-Maplewood School District in New Jersey.

Osborne had nothing but praise and gratitude for the board in a statement he made to late Saturday.

"I think the Board of Education ran a very thorough, complete, rigorous and transparent process," Osborne said. "It's community is lucky to have a board that takes its job so seriously. I’m very honored and humbled by the confidence the board has shown in me by their actions. I look forward to further conversations with them and to carefully considering their offer with my family."

The Board of Education is still waiting for an "I accept" from Osborne, indicating he intends to come to Ann Arbor, if a contract can be agreed upon.

In a phone call following Friday's regular board meeting, Osborne told President Deb Mexicotte he was looking forward to engaging in contract negotiations, but did not say that "yes" he accepts and is looking forward to being the next superintendent of the district.

Mexicotte said Friday that Osborne is the right fit for Ann Arbor and that for him, she personally is willing to wait. "I won't wait forever, but a few days? Of course," she said, adding this is a big move for him, his wife and two children, who are in grades 3 and 6.

Osborne said Wednesday during his Q-&-A session with the community that Ann Arbor is someplace he can see being a father and a husband and that if he accepts the position, his children will graduate from the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Osborne has a clause in his current contract with South Orange-Maplewood that says he must give 90-days notice prior to leaving his superintendency there. This clause was a concern and point of contention for a couple trustees Friday.

Trustee Susan Baskett said she at least would like him to clear his schedule to be here for opening day for staff and for the first day of school for students.

But Mexicotte said in an interview Saturday there would be a transition period with any candidate, which is why the board opted to appoint an interim superintendent, David Comsa. She said the district is in very capable hands with Comsa and the rest of the leadership team during the transition. She added Osborne will still be working very hard for the district even while he is in New Jersey.

"If 10 years from now, the case is as we've hoped with Dr. Osborne still here and we've built a stronger district financially with improved outcomes for all students, I expect we'll look back on this three- to fourth-month period of transition and not think anything of it," Mexicotte said. "While we are hungry ... to get on with the work and so excited that that work may be with Dr. Osborne, we also know that we are taking the long view, and so is he, to make a match that we both believe will be a long and fruitful collaboration...

"So if I had to choose, I would rather he takes the time he needs on the front end ... to be in it for a long haul of excellent leadership than moving too quickly."

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


Ricardo Queso

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

I can see the union bots have been turned on.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 8:39 p.m.

Perhaps the Ann Arbor Public Schools' "transparency" was too much for Dr. Osborne and he could see right through the BOE and our community and is thinking, "Why would I enter into this?" Let's hope he turns us down the offer and we ride it out for a bit and get a few of our issues resolved before bringing in an outsider!!


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

jcj is right on. This stonewalling is evidence the Board did not approach the search properly and is not executing proper management of our scarce resources. They should be embarrassed by the obvious Osborne "snub". Drop him from the line up and drop the board too. Let's get some real management ability running the show.

Wake Up A2

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

Since we are almost at an end, here are a few questions that Ann Arbor needs to ask: 1) Why is it we field a small number of applicants for our school district? 2) Why did only one current superintendent make the final 7? 3) Why does this town have a problem with promoting from within? 4) What reputation to we convey to other districts that keep people from applying? 5) Has some of these questions caused the high salaries we have to offer just to get them and keep them here? 6) We does the various boards over the years continue picking 3 year people? What mindset do they all have in common? 7) Why do each one of our "new" superintendents do "their homework" and make changes at the start and continue from there?


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

It's good to see that even as the selected candidate the good citizens of Ann Arbor have already begun to criticize Osborne. From reading the comments about how he should have already made up his mind that he would come before interviewing, etc., it is obvious that many of you have never had to make a decision regarding a relocation in your careers. From the outside this may seem like a very easy decision, I can tell you from experience it is NOT so easy to make a decision to relocate. You have to consider many factors including the impact a move makes not only on the career but also on family and friends. I have been interviewed for and been offered positions that I decided were not the right for me. I have also interviewed, been offered and accepted positions which I felt were appropriate. Careful consideration is just part of the due diligence that a business professional would go through when presented with such an opportunity. Perhaps the good folks of Ann Arbor could allow Osborne to at least make a decision before trashing him further. AAPS needs a good superintendent and leader with support of the community. Let the new individual at least accept and start the job. AAPS needs to stop the revolving door in the Superintendent's office and needs the support of the community.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

@aaparent, my intent was not to be condescending toward anyone but I feel some commenters are not giving Osborne an opportunity to prove himself or fail. I regret that my comments come off in that manner. If anyone was offended, I apologize. I hope that the individual taking the position with AAPS will have the support of the entire community as they face the challenge of making changes within AAPS. I'm certain that some of those decisions will be unpopular and controversial.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

I guess the need for "Mama" to hold your hand never goes away for some people. Most certainly not a phenomenon that's experienced by any of our veterans. Maybe mandatory service would eliminate the great emotional trauma associated with something as simple as moving.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

@Bill -- I see your point and it has been made above by other commenters. It's a valid one. But the way you state it comes across as condescending. You suggest that people who have critical comments may lack the worldly experience (?) you have being offered job positions and needing to spend time thinking and considering your options. The "good folks" of Ann Arbor as you call them are not trashing Osborne, but a few commenters are taking pot shots and expressing their fear that once again -- or maybe for the umpteenth time, they as employees or parents of kids in the district, are going to be let down or betrayed.. The revolving door of Superintendent's office likely wont stop, and neither will the arrogance and condascending attitudes of many people on the BOE or in Balas who think that they can dismiss people, parents, students, teachers, or the buzz word "stake holders" who are upset as crazy or misguided. The blame-the-villain attitude in AAPS has been a theme in school politics for decades. It's not going to stop now. The question I would have for the BOE and for Osborne is what kind of leadership will they show, if Osborne says yes, to help do the right things for kids in the district. The right thing would be a school district that isn't always trying to cover up one thing or another and blame some villain for pointing out a fact that makes somebody feel upset. That is dysfunction, not school business and operations and it has held back the district for years. There was a protest or sit in of some kind in a board meeting in the 1970s when Bruce McPherson was superintendent either before or after Community High started. If you really want to lend a hand in bringing the community together as you write in your comment, you will first need a step ladder to help you come down off your throne -- and take some BOE members with you. The neck must hurt looking so far down at others?

Wake Up A2

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

So all I have to do is move to a new city and that will fix my abilities not to bridge the achievement gap or shrink a budget problem? His old district had the same problems we have and he left it...... Frying pan and into the fire mean anything?


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

What a joke, they offer a position and now he wants to think about it. I would give him 10 minutes, then proceed with another candidate.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 11:13 a.m.

My, what short memories some of us have. Did we forget that the supporters of an insufficiently experienced, unprepared, local candidate who was refused the job just started a petition process to recall most of the School Board? I think any rational person in Osborne's position would take that in consideration. If this group of whiners is going to try to undermine his hiring, they will likely try to undermine his performing the job. Odd that many of the people involved in this petition process and are here trashing Osbourne seem to have forgotten to mention this detail. As for the rejected applicant, he has now demonstrated that he is also morally and ethically unqualified for leadership due to his failure to distance himself from this disgraceful attempt at disruption.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

People have a right to organize a recall. I don't support it, but I respect the right to do this. I think it is a bad idea and not constructive in any way, but it reflects an important problem in the district, which is that people who are angry and feel ignored can feel pushed to take the next step. I have been to and watched more than a few board meetings this year. I am guessing that many of the parents who regularly spoke out at public comments against the Board are involved in the recall. I don't know this for sure What did the BOE members do meeting after meeting to reach out to these repeat visitors to their meetings? Did they decide that because there is not a time for feedback during the meeting, that they would just ignore the repeat criticism which was repeated again and again. Students from the theater build at Pioneer came before the board and pleaded for a staff member's job to be preserved. Why didn't they file a recall petition? Maybe it is because their concern ultimately was responded to, at least in part. Who has reached out to other groups of parents or students who make repeat appearances at board meetings? I understand Andy Thomas writes back to the more than 400 emails and I commend him, but where is the outreach effort? It is possible to reach out to people without it taking up too much time if a BOE member sees that doing something like that really can help. Holding the open coffee times and meetings was a nice idea they had, but it's different than contacting the people who sign up for public comments and asking to meet with them or a group at a time that can be mutually convenient.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

@craigjis, did you ever wonder what happens to superintendents who are hired right before a board is voted out? It is a huge risk that he should consider carefully. Better he knows before he accepts the job than after. I don't think the recall has a chance of succeeding, but it will make an impact on who chooses to run for reelection and how they respond to the community. The days of what is good for Burns Park and CHS are good for AAPS could be fading. I certainly don't see an ethical or moral issue with Dr. Edmondson's desire to enhance his career and serve the community. Nor do I see a problem with recall petitions circulating.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

Warning - capital offense.

Debbie Harris

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

@Craig....No One From The Recall Petition Is Trashing Osborne. The "Rejected Candidate" Has Moved On, Hopefully Enjoying His Summer And Preparing For Upcoming School Year. You Are Assuming He Is Involved In The Recall Petition. He Is Not. He Thanked Us For our Support And That Was It. Did It Occur To You That A New BOE Could Benefit Osborne's Success? We Believe It Will. The Petition Had been In The Works And Was Actually prompted By Comments On This Venue. It Is Not In Retaliation, We Asked A Local Candidate Be Considered And 3 Were. Move On...Its Very Unethical For Someone To Call A Person Morally And Ethical Unqualified When You Don't Know Facts or Truth. Please Stop Connecting The "Rejected Candidate" With Any Further Actions By A Group Of Involved Parents. We Can And Do Have More Than One Cause. Please, Move On. There Are Bigger Issues In This District That Need Addressed. And For The Record, We Will Support Dr Osborne And His Hiring. We Are Adults, We simply Want A Cohesive, Capable, Engaged Board To Oversee This District And Our childrens Education. You Are Free To Disagree, But, Your Personal Attacks On A Previous Candidate Are Unjust And Counterproductive To Moving forward. That Chapter Is Over, The Board Has Voted Unanimously For Dr Osborne. Our Issue Is With The Board, Not Dr Osborne.

Wake Up A2

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 10:35 a.m.

As I pointed out to you two weeks ago: You are getting Pat Green 2.0! Same issues in his school district as Ann Arbor and if you read from his hometown newspapers, he never solved any of the issues. Once again, what did Einstein say, do the same thing over and over and expect different results....


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 10:26 a.m.

The SOMSD BOE only raised Osborne's salary because they are corrupt (they'd been told it was illegal to do so). His salary is to be cut 20% next year, by law. Ann Arbor holds all the cards here and should not back down.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 10:07 a.m.

@A2anon - A2anon makes a good point that is pretty obvious. Online commenters, some who use alias names for good reason, being school employees, for instance, are not representative of the whole community. But these commenters are a part of the community, just like A2anon and the others who are trying to cover up for the rude words. I think that when you have a public interview process, the down side is that certain things are in public view that can give a bad impression and make a candidate and board vulnerable to criticism. The board could have been more proactive managing the communication on this. It would have been easy to predict certain comments and reactions. The board has a history of ignoring certain complaints and over indulging others. I think some of the comments defending the board and criticizing less polished comments are as offensive as the pot shots taken at Osborne. Ann Arbor school "stake holders" have a long history of not being able to play in a civil way in the sandbox and justifying poor "manners" and control as passion for kids. A new superintendent needs to be able to handle this aspect of the job and I think the commenters give Osborne a fair and open preview of what will be a part of his job, something that has contributed to driving away other superintendents, and I am optimistic that if he wants the job, he will have some new ideas about how to manage the board's ineffectiveness and the need for "stake holders" to speak out. The BOE has contributed to the anger in the comments here by ignoring people or making people feel ignored too many times and on too many occasions. The public commentary at the board meetings is not that different from these comments in I see the biggest problem as the BOE or Balas adminstrators never really responding to "complainers" in a way that addresses concerns, even if the complainer does not get his or her way. The bitterness is a real and A2anon and others are


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

A2anon - I did the math on the census data to come up with the number of students in each township area of the district by 9 digit zipcode, I did this almost a year ago in response to a question where do the students come from, and why is bus transportation needed. Almost all of the growth in K-12 age population from 2000-2010 was outside the city limits of Ann Arbor, the district draws a larger percentage of students from outside of the city limits, mostly because the housing costs inside of Ann Arbor are prohibitive for young families, so people settle outside the city limits but within the district, look at the housing around the Meijer Store in Scio Township as an example in the last decade. As to the school boundries, the district does not just extend "just a bit" more than 70% of the land area of the district is outside the city limits. In some cases students live 10 to 12 miles from the school they are assigned to attend by the shortest road path. If you look at the district map it is almost 20 miles north to south and a similar distance east to west, while the edges are irregular, the district is much larger than the city limits.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

@a2teacher- I feel terrible for the many good teachers in this district who see, hear and know about a lot of things that happen inside of buildings that are wrong. I feel sorry for teachers who are silenced when they know about corruption at worst and ineffectiveness at the least. I hope A2politico does some more digging. Pat Lesko's FOIA of the credit card statements was an important public services. I bet teachers in the district knew the gist of the credit card statement issue before she published it. Teachers who are strong in our district should be rewarded. There are some teachers and principals though who really take the easy way out, don't grade students' work and don't care, but I see those teachers as the minority. The teachers who are excellent in AAPS are the best resource the district has I hope the more don't lose their jobs.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

@A2anon - sorry to add to your frustration. I certainly appreciate the countless and thankless hours the BOE members spend. Leadership and effective leadership is another issue and I think -- hopefully this will sound nuanced -- they need a lot of improvement and contribute to some and not all, but some of the criticism they get. The school board trustee job in Ann Arbor is too much like being a club president, where board members feel fragile and take things personally, whereas if it was viewed as an elected office -- which it is -- there would be less expressing feelings and hopes and dreams. I really doubt commenters would be the obstacle for Osborne, if he decided to say no. I agree it is a big move for a family and maybe he felt committed to the idea of applying for the job, but didn't think through all the pieces of actually getting the job and moving. He made some comment during a Q/A about Ann Arbor being a place he could be a good husband and father I thought that was a nice comment and admirable, but it concerned me a bit to hear it and made me wonder if he and his family were not on the same page about moving.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

Ugh, I'm remembering why I rarely post on these topics. What is most telling to me is that if you read these boards prior to an election, you would be close to 100% wrong in predicting the candidate / issues / millages likely to win or lose. In fact, if you bet on the opposite of the opinions of posters, you'd be in good shape. The people I know in real life have a much more nuanced view of the schools and the BOE than you suggest. They are at times critical of BOE decisions and processes, and at the same time enormously appreciative of the huge number of hours and thankless effort the board members essentially volunteer. They don't fall so simplistically into pro- and anti- groups. Hopefully Dr. Osborne will choose to come here, and he will learn that in person, we are opinionated, yes. But decidedly less hostile that posters at large.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

@A2Anon-there are a lot families who send their kids to AAPS who might lottery in to Skyline, for example. There are people who may live in Milan (your comments make it sound to me, and maybe I am interpreting you incorrectly) that people from Saline, Ypsi and Milan are trolling the boards day and night to pounce on Ann Arbor. While I agree that no one would every think an online forum is a representative group, necessarily, based on statistical random selection in a study, for instance, I completely disagree that these online forums give a distorted view of Ann Arbor multi-dimensional thinking. There is not one type of person in Ann Arbor who thinks one way, though all of us tend to surround ourselves with more like-minded friends than friends who are too different. Osborne is getting a great snap shot in all the online commentary and from the live blogs of what his life and family's might include joining the Ann Arbor school community. If he is really the strong communicator he appeared to be and devoted to the values he said he felt fiercely about, these online comments won't scare him off. The BOE rarely responds to repeat visitors to their meetings, based on what I am told. Nothing stops any of the trustees from setting up a specific time and date to talk to some of our community members who take time to speak at meetings regularly and share feedback. The BOE needs help with communication and can't hide behind an illusion that Ann Arbor is full of crazy parents, but the crazy depends which side of things you are on and it's pretty much a moving target in this town. I have lived here for a long, long time...and I think the online forum here does provide a snapshot of different points of view and is a valuable community service.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

Don Bee, I really wish people would stop attributing opinions to me that I do not hold. "As much as I might wish they did???" Please. First of all, I have no idea where you get your "facts...." MORE than HALF the students are not in Ann Arbor, where all the density is? I know the boundary maps -- they extend out just a bit. And more importantly, I'm not talking about AAPS comment threads specifically. We have the same haters on this thread as just about every political A2 thread ever, and whether or not people actually have kids in the schools, or live in the city, seems to have no relvence whatsoever in regards to their massive NEED to make their angry opinions known, always..... trolling for controversy. I maintain my original point, and I know nobody in real life that disagrees with me on this point. These boards do NOT accurately reflect or represent the majority of people who live here.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

a2anon - Remember the school district boundries do not stop at the city limits, as much as you might wish they did. Roughly half of the students in the district come from the surrounding townships. Just because people don't live inside the city limits does not mean they don't have children in the schools and pay taxes that support the district.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

aaparent, I know a fair number of people who post here all the time are not actually "members of the community" as defined as actually living in Ann Arbor. Posters from out of town take up a significant amount of e-space here, complaining about everything to do with this town, it's governance, and it's citizens. I think the community would be much better served if there were also online,, and "papers." I am bewlidered by people who hate this town so much and yet spend enormous amounts of time and energy on this site, bashing it and trying to undermine everything. Their voices may be few, but the are so frequent and aversive, they have turned off most of the people I know from reading and/or commenting here.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

Maybe the school employees see corruption behind closed doors that the rest of the public isn't privy to. But the favorite pastime of the commenters is to teacher bash and blame teachers for all the problems in the world.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 5:47 a.m.

Tic-Tac-Toe "Greetings, Professor Falken". Falken types in 'Hello, Josua'. "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?" How can one accept a position before the position details have been contracted out? "Osborne told President Deb Mexicotte he was looking forward to engaging in contract negotiations, but did not say that "yes" he accepts and is looking forward to being the next superintendent of the district.". Makes perfect sense.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 2:34 a.m.

Why not vote for three candidates in sequential order and determine the best fit from 1 to 3. Next negotiate three separate contracts and consider witch person best fits the cost and value to the school system?


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 1:54 a.m.

"It's community is lucky ..." Dr. Osborne can't possibly be qualified for the position. He improperly used "it's" when it should be "its." /s


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 9:55 a.m.

That stuck out to me, too. But perhaps the statement was issued verbally and it's's mistake.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 12:13 a.m.

Geez, just read all of this negativity. If I were him I would think long and hard about coming to this district. He is being very thoughtful of weighing all of his options. Give the man a break!


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 8:23 p.m.

Dr. Osborne, Just be aware that the comment section on this site tends to be much more vitriolic, angry and judgmental than Ann Arbor itself, by a huge margin. Also much more right-wing than the very progressive A2. Note that there is no requirement that you actually live here to post here, and we have a number of people who detest Our Fair City and spend loads of time here letting us all know that and creating general havoc. Maybe all news boards are like this, I don't know. But rest assured, these boards do not represent.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 1:34 a.m.

Bob, what are you talking about? I've never complained of any of those things. I don't know the frequent posters on But what I DO know is that they do not, in any way shape or form, even remotely resemble any of my friends, neighbors and colleagues.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 10:49 p.m.

Yes, all those progressive folks getting in a tizzy because we are sending too much of our tax money to other school districts where their property values are lower. And all those progressive folks who dare not cross Platt Road for fear of being accosted by thugs and gangstas from Detroit. And all those progressive folks who desire a cop on every corner and all the deadbeats and junkies be incarcerated for the rest of their natural lives. And the progressive folks who object to the smelly homeless people enjoying our downtown. Just calling yourself progressive does not make you one.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

Anyone giving odds on if he takes the job how long he will stay? My bet, we will be looking again in 3 years. Too bad in a town that is always on a top 10 list of some sort we don't have anyone smart enough to do the job. Is he that smart or are the locals too uneducated?


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

Given what has to be done with regards to the budget, contracts, consolidation, redistricting and other things that needs to be done, I doubt anyone could could last beyond 2 or 3 years if they do the job right. However, Dr. Osborne says he wants to stay 10 years. I hope he is right, and I am wrong, but it will be one of the toughest jobs in town for the next couple of years.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

I am going to chill out until Wednesday or Thursday on this, I would hope others would too. Taking a few days to work though all the details of the move, family issues, and other things only makes sense for Dr. Osborne and his family. If we want them to stay in the area for the long term, letting them settle the issues they have as a family is important. I suspect they need to look at the real estate pages, talk to someone about their current dwelling, etc. If there is no word by Mid-week, then it might be time to get worried. The question anyone should ask is: "If I had a family and a job, and I was offered a new job that forced my family and I to move away from everything we knew, how fast could I settle the family issues?" I truly doubt this is anything but working through family and move issues. If Dr. Osborne is the communicator that everyone expects, there are probably dozens of people he needs to talk to in his current community to explain his decision to as well as the family issues. If he did not take time, then I would be worried. Really worried.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 3:37 a.m.

interesteda2 - Have you ever had to decide to pick up and move for a job with a family? Even if you were committed and thought the family was all on board, I suspect you would have found that they had second thoughts about moving, friends, neighborhood, the bedroom your children grew up in. There are hundreds of things that are intangible until you have to actually have to agree to move. When you are public figure, the numbers increase because people have reasons for you to reconsider. Then there is the contract, what is included and what is not? Finding a house? - It takes time. In short deciding to move is a complex dance, even if you - yourself are fully committed to the move. I would rather let him work it out with his family, rather than have the family end up unhappy with the move and constantly pulling him back toward New Jersey. Give him time, I doubt Dr. Osborne lacks commitment, now he has to deal with all the surrounding issues, this is a good thing, not a bad thing.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

You are forgetting that he has spent a significant amount of time, applying for and interviewing for this job. Shouldn't he have been ready before this point? This isnt speed dating where you talk to 15 people with no commitment.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 5:35 p.m.

Wow - some people need to get out in the real world. There hasn't been one business day since he was offered the position. Dr. Osborne is currently under contract with the South Orange Maplewood School District. He also has a pretty good working relationship with his current BOE. Don't you think he owes his current employers phone calls and a chance to work out a brief exit plan? I live in his current district and while I don't agree with him on everything, I think he's been a very good SI and most people in town respect him. I'm quite sure he will take the job - with the public circus that was this search process nothing else makes sense.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

Crazy, isn't it ?

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.



Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

Maybe he's waiting to see if the New Jersey Superintendent salary cap law will be overturned or if AAPS will somehow grease the wheels with UM to get him that adjunct professorship he mentioned. Either way, it's another bad choice by the AAPS school board. In a climate where the state repubs in collaboration with charter school owners are deliberately seeking to discredit & defund public education by withholding public dollars to impose a charter school takeover which its citizens voted against...we need a superintendent who has the commitment, educational knowledge and political savvy to stand up for Ann Arbor's public education and accountability for the long-term not a carpetbagger using this as a springboard for something else or to evade a salary cap.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

Be fair: it's a fantastic photo of someone "carefully considering."


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

Carefully considering what he is getting himself into. Like a recalled BOE and a totally dysfunctional Balas as well. I will support him if he privatizes Balas.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

The time to decide if you actually want a job of this caliber is BEFORE you apply for it not AFTER you are offered the position. Otherwise you are wasting a lot of time and money for everyone involved. Not to mention it is unfair to the other candidates that are truly interested in taking the job. This isn't an entry level just out of college job where it is acceptable to take interviews simply to practice your interview skills or to prove you could get the job if you actually wanted it.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

Ok! I am clueless on this. When "I" apply for a job, I am absolutely proof positive that I want it and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to accept the position. Even if it means selling my home and losing 60k on it so that I can find a place in A2 and be close to my job. Which is precisely what I did just over a year ago! This guy is a clown. He is posturing for a sweeter deal. This should send up RED FLAGS everywhere. If he is going to play this game NOW, what can we as A2 taxpayers expect in 6 months or even a year. Move on and find someone else. This guy is a tool.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

Should have just left it at "Ok! I am clueless".


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

Osborne proving he is a smart and tactical thinker. He got the offer Friday night. He and his family have ALREADY decided what they are going to do. Now he is focused on how he can negotiate a transition from one district to another. Our BOE needs to be patient and do it the right way so we can keep a Superintendent for more than a couple years. It is just as important for Dr. Osborne to take his time and do it right. I expect that he will be here for the start of school. Even if not officially and full time until November.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

Maybe he reads and is having second thoughts?

Dog Guy

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

I certainly would take my time in deciding whether to dive into the AAPS board/administration snake pit.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

But then again he may have something to kill off those snakes and give us something that is lot nicer to play with then the vipers we have now killing off AAPS.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

Chill out people! Dr Osborne got the offer late on Friday NIGHT. He can't take the weekend to discuss it with his family and get a read on Monday on how soon he might be able to transfer (sooner than 90 days, hopefully) if he accepts? Unbelievable. Ann Arbor drags the process out for weeks on end, and he wants a couple days and people are hysterical.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

Agreed. I think the weekend is completely reasonable. I would think it is courtesy to inform your employer you are leaving before you announce it publicly. He can do everything graciously. If he does not accept, it will be a really interesting result- and could definitely impact him negatively in the future. Why go through the process in the first place? And his salary will drop where he is in 9 months when his contract is up.

Shawn Letwin

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

Separate from the fact that he was offered the job at the end of the day Friday and given the basic compensation package with other key details to be worked out, wouldn't any person take the time to reflect on making sure all of the basis are covered and not rush into a bad decision. It is that kind of pause and reflection that would also be important in making key decisions in the job itself. What I find perplexing is. how is it that a superintendent position requires a job search wherein the potential employer and a "posse" of others descend upon the candidates workplace to further check out the candidate? Never mind that for some reason, the superintendent "candidate" gets contracted to need a 30, 60 or 90 day notice...why? Any professional job opportunity typically requires a day or two to decided who will get the offer, so why shouldn't the candidate have the same courtesy? Step back, take a breather and enjoy the weather! T


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

Actually I think this community discussion reflects a healthy community dialogue and all the possible extremes of such a dialogue. I think most seasoned community leaders understand that or they wouldn't have made it to the "seasoned" stage. Nothing wrong with everyone expressing an opinion, just as there is nothing wrong with a candidate taking time to consider an offer, including the specifics of what such an offer might include.

David Martel

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

I think these criticisms are nuts. Part of an interview process is an applicant interviewing the stakeholders. The last job I took, my out of town travel expenses were paid. I received the offer and accepted 4 days later. Based on this little bit of community response to a desire to reflect on the offer for just a bit, I would be running back to New Jersey in a heart beat. And 90 days notice for this type of position? Not surprising either. Imagine if an Ann Arbor superintendent got up and left with a couple weeks notice. Can't have it both ways folks.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

I posted a comment earlier with a list of the prior quotes in stories from Friday through today from board members, but it got deleted. I think it might be because I ended it with a quote from Jesper's "Call me maybe" song. Looking at the string of quotes from board members from Friday through today ending with Osborne saying, "uh...I need some time to think...will call you soon..xxoo" is an interesting twist, but maybe this has to do with the details and legal issues connected to contract negotiations and who pays for what. It would not be unusual for a job candidate to say he wants a job and would move as a poker face comment. I think it would be more unusual for a job candidate or a college applicant to say "no actually I have other jobs/schools higher up on my list and am not sure if you wanted me, I would pack up and move." I could see that if you want the job offer you would say you would say yes if it's offered..or you plan to say yes, so you aren't technically deceiving anyone.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

On Friday night, Mexicotte said she expected he would answer immediately or in a day or 2. Lightfoot expressed reservations about whether Osborne wanted to be here in Ann Arbor or move on to a new job. Osborne was offered a job on Friday night and has contract details to work out in New Jersey. But the timing is unfortunate that he is acting the part of a hesitant suitor to the board's gushing enthusiasm. I hope that this can work out to help the district move forward. It is possible that this looks worse than it is due to the offer being made on a Friday night, and Osborne having not much else he can say publicly other than it is a lot to make a move with his family. Mexicotte's quotes about Osborne moving his family "across the country" in an earlier story is a bit dramatic. New Jersey is hardly across the country, but understandably, it's a disruptive move for his family and kids. I think it is a fair point though that if he went through this public interview and his family and district was painfully and publicly informed of his interest in leaving, that picking up and getting here sooner than later should have been thought through more. The board needs to do a better job of managing how it presents information to the public. Mexicotte indicated that she expected an answer in a day or 2 (Friday news coverage) and then stretched the time frame on Saturday. Lightfoot's warnings in the live blog Friday from the board meeting, that maybe Osborne does not want Ann Arbor so much as he wants a new job, are interesting to re-read today vs. Friday night.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

Very glad to see that both the Board and the candidate are taking the process seriously, and are taking the time to consider appropriately each other's needs and realities. That bodes well for a long-term relationship. Ann Arbor schools are a big pull for someone with children. Having lived for extended periods both on the East coast and in Ann Arbor, it is very difficult to find better than what is offered in Ann Arbor Public Schools in terms of educational opportunities, and at the University of Michigan in terms of professional opportunities, and in the Ann Arbor community in terms of cultural opportunities. And the general tone of tolerance and down-to-earth approach shown by our community (most of the time ;-) ) is difficult to find in very many other places. I imagine that Dr. Osborne will come to those conclusions. But, if he does not, then he is simply not the right fit for the position. And continuing the search from the position of having David Comsa as interim would certainly be a very acceptable alternative. This is the beginning of the relationship with the new superintendent--it is appropriate for both sides to be thoughtful in developing that relationship as a contract is negotiated. I look forward to the Board representing the realities of the community--and the new superintendent representing his realities and showing his understanding of the community's realities--in those negotiations.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

The Detroit bankruptcy filing is seen by many as a long-overdue sign that Detroit is finally getting its act together and doing what it takes to turn things around. I'm probably one of those folks. For too long, folks in Detroit have had their heads in the sand, refusing to deal with the very real challenges in a proactive way. The bankruptcy filing would seem to be a step in the right direction. Another advantage of Michigan, not to be minimized at this time of year, is our weather. I am having to change my lifelong ideas about Michigan weather. Due to whatever is causing current global weather warming, Michigan is experiencing very mild winters, and probably the most beautiful springs, falls, and summers in the country. Although I don't want us to benefit at the rest of the country's expense due to a planet not taking environmental concerns seriously, it is the case that if you are sweltering in 100+ degree temperatures, Michigan typically offers a very refreshing respite from that.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

The cost of living is so much lower in Ann Arbor than the Maplewood area of New Jersey. The taxes here are much, much lower. His quality of life in those respects will definitely go up. He and his family would be leaving all of the advantages of NYC to move to a state which has many problems. The fact that during his interview process Detroit has filed for bankruptcy is probably something he wants to consider before moving his family.

Max Peters

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

Ummm. When I interview for jobs they check me out and I check them out. Perhaps he might have seen red flags during his visit or been willing to overlook those based on things like salary and benefits. Ann Arbor isn't Gods gift to the world you know.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

If only Mexicotte would be offered a job somewhere else!


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

This is outrageous. As a professional educator, Mr. Osborne should need minimal time to investigate private school options for his children.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

They offered the job after the close of business Friday. It is OK to wait until Monday to accept it, subject to terms. This board bent over backwards for Green - apparently only board members saw her for several months, paid her exorbitant salary, and gave her a bonus for waiving benefits. I think they will do a better job this time, only because Dr. Osborne has lower expectations.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

Basic Bob - Dr. Green met extensively over the summer of 2011 with the Board, the staff who worked full time, and with community leaders, even before she was officially available full time. She didn't visit closed school buildings, but she did meet with leaders from both AAEA and AAAA (teacher and principals union , respectively). What more can be done when school is not in session, and you aren't allowed by contract to ask the rest of the staff to attend meetings?


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

this is not the way to endear ones self to a new community. i guess he needs to get the "little womans and the kiddies permission to move ! if he can't run his own household how is he gonna run the school board? why wern't the out of state candidates asked if they were prepared to move here when the selection was made final ?


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

If the experience of recent Superintendents can serve as guide, Osborne should be reassured he can save time and get a running start by not bothering to check into local real estate. He'll only be here a couple years, and there are nice rentals available.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

Not a first good impression...


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

It's a negotiating tactic.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

It seems to be working.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

How so? His salary is being reduced to $167,500 in June 2014, isn't it?


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

It's what the private sector does all of the time - look at elite private schools and this is what you'll see with a headmaster search.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

It's manipulative.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

From the beginning of this search, Brian Osborne has reminded me of a politician running for a political office. I think he is slick and charming and knows how to talk a good game. IF he takes the position, and I think that is a big IF, I don't think he will keep any of his so-called "campaign promises" that he used to get "elected". Osborne has seemed like a self-promoter from the start. Once again our esteemed school board has been duped. But I wouldn't have expected anything less.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

I feared this as well - we hired the "slick" guy for our principal and it has been a very bumpy ride. I don't want to repeat that mistake on a district wide scale! On the flip side, there is a fair amount of "politician" needed to do this job well - especially advocating at the State level. Osborne is well spoken, highly educated and savvy. All of these characteristics would be assets when advocating at the State level.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

so if he decides to HONOR us by taking the job we have to wait 3 mos before he takes over? might as well make comsa permanent!


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2 p.m.

You'd suggest he not honor his contract? Would AAPS pay his legal fees?


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

seems to me he was just testing the waters and isn't serious about it ! he never should have ran for the job if he wasn't prepared to make the move here !! this is why a local person should have been offered the job in the first place ! hope we didn't pay his expenses to come here,what a joke!!!!


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

Basic I see you did not get the job.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 11:58 a.m.

They paid everyone's travel expenses to come here. I had my expenses paid when I interviewed out of state, didn't you?


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 11:46 a.m.

"this is why a local person should have been offered the job in the first place !" Bingo.

Boo Radley

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 11:24 a.m.

I would think he would have already considered everything about the move, the position, and what it will mean to his family before applying and going through the process. I realize that certain contract details always have to be negotiated and agreed upon, but he should have already known the basics such as salary range and benefits offered by AAPS. He also should have researched the city and the school system to the point where he was very familiar with what he is likely to be facing as superintendent.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

Did he not know he wanted the job BEFORE applying? Did he not do some soul searching and research BEFORE applying? Is it just me or don't most people apply for a job ONLY when they want it? AH, but there is another scenario. leverage for more money where you are at.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

The search firm contacted him; he was not actively searching for a new job.

David Martel

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

I get it. Typically an interview process consists of both parties interviewing each other. Or, at least it should be.