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Posted on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

Community members question 1st of 2 Ann Arbor schools superintendent finalists

By Danielle Arndt


Colorado Springs Assistant Superintendent Jeanice Kerr Swift presents her 90-day entry plan for the job of superintendent to the Ann Arbor Board of Education on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, at Skyline High School.

Danielle Arndt |

Previous coverage:

Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent finalist Jeanice Kerr Swift has almost finished her day of meet-and-greets and interviews in the district. The public now has an opportunity to ask questions of Swift, and will be covering it live.

Swift, assistant superintendent of Colorado Springs District 11, is one of two candidates who advanced to the final round of interviews in the district's search to find its next superintendent. Former Superintendent Patricia Green retired last week after two years with AAPS.

The second finalist, Brian Osborne, superintendent of South Orange-Maplewood School District in New Jersey, will tour AAPS tomorrow, before the Ann Arbor school board prepares to make a decision on a new district leader Friday.

Swift had her final interview with the board at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, during which she presented a 90-day entry plan for how she would tackle becoming acquainted with the district, if she was selected to assume the role of superintendent.

The community Q-&-A session with Swift will begin at 7 p.m. at Skyline High School. Follow along with the meeting in the live blog below.

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



Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

Since both selected candidates are from out-of-state, the question about how often they'll be commuting back home, spending time away from Ann Arbor's schools, needs to be addressed.


Thu, Jul 18, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Thanks DonBee. I was "out of town" and totally missed that one. Hmmmmmm.........


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

4Bells - It was in the first round of interviews. Dr Osborne expects to enroll his two children in the district by this fall. He indicated he thought a 10 year stay in the district was about right. Dr. Swift indicated she would move here.

Danielle Arndt

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 10:38 a.m.

Thanks everyone for the kind words and expressions of gratitude. I'm happy that so many of our readers are finding these live blogs valuable throughout this superintendent interview process.

Resident A2

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 10:15 a.m.

Thank you, Danielle, for your blog. It was very helpful in getting a feel for how the perspective superintendent sees her job. I know it is hard to capture word by word in a meeting like this. You did a good job.


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

Thank you Danielle - Were the answers really that generic and non-specific? I am just checking, to make sure before I comment on my opinions. I am sure you were accurate in your blog, but I am checking to see if there were more specifics to the answers.

Danielle Arndt

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 3:48 a.m.

Don, there were some questions for which Swift gave specific examples about her work in the various areas that the question posers asked. However, it was a little difficult to capture the details of these examples during the forum. I tried to note when possible specifics were given. And then I also tried to boil down Swift's longer responses as much as possible to give the community a bit more of a summary or straightforward answer to some of the questions posed. But this live blog is by no means a transcript of the entire community session. There will be a story running in the morning with more from my one-on-one conversation with Swift and some reaction from a few community members present.


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 12:46 a.m.

@Danielle- thanks for spending the time blogging. It's helpful to read what the candidate says. Swift sounds like a very devoted and committed person. It is a strength she is willing to meet people and connect, go out into buildings. I don't have a good sense yet of her leadership style, her priorities or values. But it seems like she would be a steward for the board's agenda and a much more pleasant one than Dr. Green was. When AAPS closed schools in 1987 there was a committee that met and a process was put in place that was similar to what Swift described. It was still painful and the district was in the hands of a consulting company that used a computer program to draw the boundary lines, which were then tweaked by Balas and the board based on parent input.


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 12:38 a.m.

Thank you, Danielle!

Basic Bob

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

Is it too late to point out that Dr. Edmondson got his doctorate 5 years before the finalists?


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 3:42 a.m.

Yes it is too late, he isn't a finalist.

The Infinite Jester

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 12:19 a.m.

What does this have to do with his experience necessary to be superintendent?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 11:42 p.m.

It might be fun to find the disertations from the finalists and see what they had to say in those documents.