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Posted on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

Read bios of Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent candidates

By Danielle Arndt

Six Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent candidates were publicly announced Friday. Biographies were collected from each individual and released by the school board.

The district is in the midst of its fourth superintendent search in the past decade and officials hope to soon select its sixth superintendent since 2002.

Current Superintendent Patricia Green resigned April 11, toward the end of a regular school board meeting. It was an unexpected announcement of her retirement, one that shocked both the school board and the community.

Read about the background of each superintendent contender below or download a complete biography.


Ben Edmondson

Benjamin Edmondson
Edmondson currently serves as the principal of the Ann Arbor Public Schools' Roberto Clemente High School. Edmondson holds a B.A. from University of Virginia, a M.Ed. from Ohio State University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University.


Richard Faidley

Richard Faidley
Faidley is the superintendent of schools for the Derry Township School District in Hershey, Pa. Faidley holds a B.A. from Mount Marty College, M.A.s from Iowa State and Northern Arizona University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from University of Arizona.


Sandra Harris

Sandra Harris
Harris is a retired superintendent of the Oak Park School District in Oak Park, Mich. She worked in the Ann Arbor Public Schools as the director of personnel, vocational coordinator, high school assistant principal and a teacher. Harris holds a B.A., M.A. and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University. She also previously served as the superintendent and assistant superintendent of Lincoln Consolidated School District in Washtenaw County.


Henry Hastings

Henry Hastings
Hastings serves as a full-time instructor at Eastern Michigan University. Previously he served as a visiting assistant professor and adjunct professor at Oakland University and Wayne State University. Hastings also has served as a teacher at Chadsey High School in Detroit as well as a school counselor. Hastings holds an A.B. from the University of Detroit Mercy, a J.D. from Michigan State University and an Ed.D. from the University of Michigan from the Rackham School of Graduate Studies.


Brian Osborne

Brian Osborne
Osborne serves as superintendent of schools for the South Orange-Maplewood School District in New Jersey. Previously Osborne worked for the New York City Department of Education as the chief of staff, teaching and learning. Osborne holds an A.B. from Colgate University, a M.A.T. from New York University and an Ed.D. from Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Jeanice Kerr Swift

Jeanice Kerr Swift
Swift serves as the assistant superintendent of instruction, curriculum and student services for the Colorado Springs School District in Colorado Springs, Colo. Previously she served as executive director of K-12 schools for the Colorado Springs School District. Swift holds a B.A. from the University of Texas, an M.A. from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the Morgridge School of Education at the University of Denver.

The candidates will be interviewed July 8 and 9 at the Courtyard Marriott in Ann Arbor. The interviews are open to the public and have been tentatively planned for Monday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Board of Education intends to select a new superintendent at a regular meeting at 7 p.m. on July 17.

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



Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

None of the above


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 1:28 a.m.

Brian Osborne is the best candidate, but he probably wouldn't survive AAPS politics and bureaucracy. I'd go with him, however, vs an insider, as he is the strongest candidate.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

Why is he the best candidate? He's mixed up in the same Broad Foundation educational mumbo-jumbo as the current superintendent.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 8:25 a.m.

The AA voters and our community leaders need to find a way to crush the AAPS politics and bureaucracy, and demand positive changes. We have to remember that the process and system to educate our kids is what we are trying to protect. Right now, the AA BOE continues to damage this system and process. A new supt. alone will not change this trend. We as a community need to rise up and demand the change to facilitate the hiring of the right candidate.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

I'm not sure why Ann Arbor continually goes outside to hire superintendents, but they now have a chance to go with an insider: Ben Edmondson; who has grown in the Ann Arbor district and has a lot to offer. With an administrative staff that is twice what is needed, I would think Ann Arbor would see the wisdom of hiring someone who knows the district and has the experience with key personnel to make good things happen. It would surprise me, but it would be the correct decision.

Debbie Harris

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

I'm Curious Goober....What Is ThIs Experience With Dr Edmondson You Keep Referring To, And Who Is Included IS "Our"??


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

Based on our experience with Ben, we should seek other candidates.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

It will be important to hear the interview questions and the interview responses. A good set of probing questions will be important in determining whether folks have the skills to manage our district well. If the interviews are public, I hope it will be possible for to publish a summary of questions and responses for each candidate. We have had a tendency to hire folks who talk a good story. It seems important this time around to hire someone who has a deep hands-on understanding and enjoys doing the very challenging work of administering a complex public school district. We have not done a very good job in the past of hiring someone who is good with the nuts-and-bolts of finances and buildings, as well as the people side--students, staff, parents, the board. Given the unfortunate departure of Randy Trent, having someone with a good understanding of the nuts-and-bolts of managing the budget and buildings for an entire district will be all the more important.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

Agreed. Previous actions in previous jobs can tell a lot about the candidates.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

Wow, The candidates are sure educated, with all the letters after their names and everything. But do any of them possess the most valuable thing that one needs for this position that no amount of education can teach, common sense? It's one thing to be book smart and it's another thing to have common sense.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

Ben has a ton of "common sense".

Silly Sally

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

It would be wonderful if the Ann Arbor School Board was race and colorblind and directed the search committee to choose the best candidates. But, once again, the final 6 appear to be statistically skewed. One group that is only 1/8 of the population, and only 6% of PhD's, yet comprise 33% of the final Superintendent candidate pool. Why? This same statistic anomaly happens each time, and can't be just a random chance. These individual candidates may be great, but is the school board having its own sort of affirmative action policy and excluding even better candidates from consideration?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

Silly Sally, I'm going to pretend you're not just trolling and ask this question: If all 6 candidates were white what would you think? Do I understand correctly that you think because 2 of the 6 candidates appear to be African American, it can't possibly be that the BOE was "colorblind" and simply picked the best candidates from the pool of applicants? I know you're justing being silly but I'm responding anyway.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

I av to believe that here was at least a few other non- returnees out there. I don't care if they're orange or purple, makes no difference. In fact, if you look at the bios, without pics, you can easily see who likes to talk about the self, who has a lot if titles but no substance, and who might have a bucket list. I do agree with DonBee, that Hastings could be a change agent we need short term, and a mentor for Flye. But what if Flye leaves in the meantime? Then were back to square one after two years. I say enthusiasm with experience, with Osborne or Swift. Let Harris go back to her committees and look at her awards from her rocking chair.a retiree couldn't handle the BOE or the parents in this district.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

Silly Sally, it would also be wonderful if you could be race and colorblind. Isn't it possible that these were the most qualified, dynamic candidates? Who cares what color or race you perceive them to be?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:43 a.m.

Just on this limited data, it would seem Dr Edmondson and Dr Osborne seem to have the strongest match in my opinion .... Although the others have their strengths as well. It will be interesting to see how the interviews go. I would prefer an external candidate given the current situation, however. Hmmm.

Tex Treeder

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:51 a.m.

Wow, this is such an easy choice: Benjamin Edmondson. Dr. Edmondson was the principal where my child went to school. I was impressed each and every time we met. He had no problem taking care of business, clearing out deadwood and letting the school know who was in charge. His ties to the community are strong and will be an asset as he moves into the superintendent's job. He has had a vision for each school he's led (and yes, he's led them, not just administered them) and has been successful in implementing that vision. As for the others: Faidley: jumps from job to job Harris: tough to un-retire, particularly to a job that will require energy and commitment. Plus her experience is much weaker than Dr Edmondson's, for example. Hastings: has experience, but not necessarily the right experience for the job Osborne: some relevant experience, but A2 isn't NJ Swift: once again, some relevant experience, but not what I'd like to see As I said, an easy choice. Board of Education, are you listening?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

So where was Edmonson when Pioneer and Skyline needed new leaders? Was he above those positions? Only interested in helping a certain population? And he's part of the problem with the AAAA, correct? No more favors because of who you know in this district. Fresh blood, clean house.

Basic Bob

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

The last thing we need is a superintendent who just wants to make everyone happy. When Dr. Edmondson came to Scarlett, there were a few people who didn't like change, didn't like someone else to be boss, and liked the previous do-nothing principal who let the do-nothing teachers rule. If some people are unhappy with his leadership, it is probably because he is doing his job.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.

Good info on Ben. Hopefully more of the public will let us know if he is the right person or not. I too share the experience that he is not.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

Be careful with your comments. deleted my comment for making others aware that Ben does not necessarily have the relationship with others that we need in this position.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

What are Edmondson's feelings toward Glenn Singleton and his race-baiting courageous conversations? If he is pro-Singleton, then that is all i need to know and would hope he is not chosen. I am hoping BOE wont be fooled again by the siren call of "i can fix your achievement gap".

J. A. Pieper

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

tryingtobeobjective hits some important issues we have to think about. He has been applying for positions all over the states, until he couldn't because of custody issues. So, he is not limited to applying in Michigan, preferably local. Also, if you specifically talked to some of his current staff, there are other issues we really don't need in our district leadership.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

Mr Treeder - While Dr Edmondson is a great human being, can he divorce himself from his work on the various union contracts (AAEA when he was a teacher, and AAAA as a principal) and do what will need to be done to fix them for the future as the superintendent? That is my only worry about Dr. Edmondson. If he cannot then we are looking at the annual budget dance.

Silly Sally

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

If Dr. Edmondson is so great, and your description does seem good. Why not hire him. The board already knows him, and he is unlikely to leave after 2 years as so many others have done. Ann Arbor Schools need that. They also need to tie the pay with a bonus after 5 years.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

Edmonson has been applying for several jobs outside the community, so his ties aren't that strong to AA. Oh, you weren't aware of that? He also caved to pressure from the AA admins regarding consolidation RC and A2Tech. Oh, you didn't know that either? Guess you don't knew Edmonson as well as you think you do. AA needs a leader who supports ALL students. Kids who achieve and thrive count too, not just those who are struggling. ALL kids matter.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:11 a.m.

Thank you Danielle. I hope we get a better time line on each of these people. How long in what role at what location? My first pass take is: Dr. Edmondson is a fine person - the question is with his close ties to the staff, can he be tough enough in the contract talks? Can he really take on the administration to change the budgeting? If it came to that, could he consolidate Roberto Clemente into another program or building. Dr. Faidley - would he break his pattern of moving from role to role and district to district. What is his feeling on just losing his assistant superintendent and the impact of the top two leaders in his district leaving at almost the same time? Dr. Harris - Can she come back into the pace of an administration after 3 years away? Can she disengage from some of her associations and put full time into the role at AAPS? Dr. Hastings - Can he mentor Dr. Flye to be the next superintendent, and be willing to take a two year contract, as the person responsible for cleaning up the budget issues and the contract issues? Will the board see him this way? Dr. Osborne - Is he ready to leave the NYC area and focus on a smaller university town? Can he adjust to the way the Midwest thinks and does things? Dr. Swift - Why has she been in the final selection several times, but never picked as the winner? What can she do differently in Ann Arbor than in the places she was not the winner, even though she was a finalist? Each of these candidates has different strengths, can the BOE realize that and set a agenda for their chosen candidate that focuses on those strengths, and then look to the cabinet to cover the other issues? I have made my selections, but my criteria vary from candidate to candidate based on what they bring to the table, there is no perfect candidate here, there are a couple of really strong people in Balas that can fill in the holes I see (right now). Can the board see a team approach and do the same thing?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

One thing about Swift- while she may have been always be bridesmaid, never the bride- she hasn't given up. She could have just coasted in her current job until retirement. But here she is, trying again. This district needs a leader who is not afraid of adversity and won't give up and move.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

PeteM - New Jersey is not Michigan and the way people talk, and interact is different. I am not worried about Dr. Osborne's adjustment, if he chooses to make it, I am however worried about how some BOE members may react to his different cultural style. Some may be put off by it, based on my interactions both with senior staff members in schools in that area and my interactions with the BOE members. That is the only reason I bring it up. Any candidate needs to be committed to the area/district with the exception of Dr. Hastings who I see as a change agent and a mentor to Dr. Flye, I would expect him to be here 2 to 3 years and during that time do what needs to be done to put the school on a solid foundation for the future.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

I haven't come to any conclusion, but a couple of comments have pointed out that New Jersey isn't Michigan. That seems to me to be a completely irrelevant point on which to evaluate Osborne. I've lived in A2 all my life, but have relatives out east and know many people here in town with east coast ties (as well as ties to other parts of the country). The U-M recruits nationally -- why shouldn't the school district? Also, South Orange isn't Manhattan. It's a suburb. I agree that any out-of-state candidate should be committed to making Ann Arbor his/her home base.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:13 a.m.

Of course the biggest questions to all of them are: 1) Why do you want THIS job? 2) Why do you want to leave your last job?


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

Hard to tell from the Bio's but I like Mr Edmondson, Mr Osborne, and Ms Swift so far. Lets hope for a miracle. The new Superintendent fires Mr Comsa HR & Ms Hoover CFO. The electorate 'fires' Deb Mexicotte and the BOE for failing to hold Balas accountable and the AAPS Staff votes to 'fire' Ms. Carter. Shame on you all and your petty, small minded political games that have cost AA so much treasure and opportunity. We deserve better schools. I'm hopeful, but it is more likely they will all continue to lie and mislead the new Superintendent too.


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 1:18 a.m.

Im local and it would be my first order of business

J. A. Pieper

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

A local from AAPS won't do any of what you recommend.