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Posted on Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

Shannon Blick named principal of Ann Arbor's Lawton Elementary School

By Amy Biolchini


Shannon Blick

Courtesy of AAPS

Shannon Blick has been named the new principal of Lawton Elementary School in the southwest side of Ann Arbor, district officials announced Tuesday.

Blick is the principal at Wildwood Elementary School in the Wayne-Westland Community Schoolsdistrict. She has served as a teacher and as a principal in that district for a total of nine years.

In addition to a bachelor's degree in elementary education and educational specialist certificate in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University, Blick has a master's degree in elementary reading and literacy from Walden University, an accredited online university based in Minnesota.

She will begin her position with Ann Arbor Public Schools Sept. 16.

Blick’s starting pay is $98,575, according to district officials. Elementary principals at AAPS earn salaries in the range of $96,975 to $109,515, according to the Ann Arbor Administrators Association.

The principal position at Lawton has been open since late July when former Principal Amy Conway resigned for a job as an assistant superintendent of school improvement for Gibraltar School District, which is near Detroit.

Conway was employed by AAPS for three years, which she spent at Lawton.

Conway’s job was posted July 30. Superintendent Jeanice Kerr Swift interviewed candidates for the Lawton principal job Aug. 27.

The Lawton principal position was the only principal position that AAPS had to fill for the new school year.

Five other schools have new leaders for the 2013-14 school year: Principal Hyeuo Park at Bach Elementary School, Principal Chuck Hatt at Burns Park Elementary School, Principal Melita Alston at Pattengill Elementary School, Principal Che Carter at Clague Middle School and Principal Cory McElmeel at Skyline High School.

Hatt and Carter were both internal hires, while Park, Alston and McElmeel worked for other districts at the time they were hired by AAPS.

Amy Biolchini is the K-12 education reporter for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Fri, Sep 6, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

I am a parent of two daughters at Wildwood Elementary and after reading the comments here I just want to see that Shannon Blick is wonderful. We have been lucky to have her as our principal the last 3 years and I am very sad to see her go. She has brought many new ideas/programs, is very engaging with the students, and great at addressing parents questions and concerns. I wish we could keep her and whoever replaces her at Wildwood will have big shoes to fill. AAPS will surely benefit by having her there.


Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 2:18 a.m.

For goodness sake, give the woman a chance. No one is ever good enough for some AAPS parents. She may turn out to be a wonderful addition to the district. Seeing how many complaints there are with everything under the sun, internal hires with close ties and many friends may not be the best option. If some teachers are so fabulous, wouldn't you rather see them stay in the classroom, with your children, where the impact is a direct one?

Wake Up A2

Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 7:42 p.m.

Could be could have someone like at pioneer, with no discipline policy. 10 experience as a teacher used to be a minimum qualification. ...just breathing.

Fat Bill

Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

Is it conceivable that the leadership of the district is attempting to change the culture of AAPS somewhat? Promoting from within while admirable sometimes slows down the influx of new ideas and fresh perspectives.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

If she is great, that will be super for Lawton. If not, they will know what several of the other elementary schools are dealing with currently.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

I think this woman is an excellent choice. She did her time at AAPS, then went on to become "battle hardened" in the Wayne-Westland District. Let us all hope she only has to use 1/2 the experience she gained at WW, one can only imagine a school day there. I see images of "The Blackboard Jungle" flash by when I think about WW, even at the elementary schools. What? You never saw that movie? I'll bet it is available on ALL the online services.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

Where do you see that she started in AAPS? All I read is that she was in WW for 9 years.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

Congratulations Lawton!! This will surely be an improvement!


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 11:21 a.m.

There are many well educated and success individuals who have received undergraduate and graduate degrees from online universities. Don't be critical of this fact until this person's performance is evaluated. Regarding internal candidates; ther may have been several, however this article did not mention this fact. Guess my psychic abilities aren't as good as others on this "blog" site.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 11:13 a.m.

Wow, what is with all the ire, looks like she is in an uphill battle like the Carpentermprincipal was. As for internal candidates that Lawton sent to the Board, you certainly can't have a Lawton teacher become a Lawton principal.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 5:11 a.m.

An online university degree. Those in leadership roles in education should have some respect for education.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 5:55 a.m.

How is an online degree any worse than sitting in a lecture hall where the prof only knows you by your student number? Where catching the prof after class to ask a question is tougher than just sending an email? Do you really know what online classes entail? Somebody who understands the benefits of our current technology capabilities and how much it can enhance education is a benefit. This isn't the 1990's.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 4:10 a.m.

So somebody who has already been successful as a principal isn't better qualified than candidates without that Leadership experience? This push to promote from within is fine except when you have better qualified external candidates!


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

Yeah, I don't know how this is getting looked over by posters. They got someone to move to a parallel position because she had experience here and wanted to be here. Maybe the pay is better, but it's not a school level or administrative promotion. When you can get someone who has already been a principal, why would you hire a teacher? Shouldn't a teacher at least be an assistant principal first?


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 3:01 a.m.

I am a parent at Lawton and am very dissapointed that the district did not select one of the two exceptional internal candidates that we sent to the BOE from the initial interviews. I know I am not the only Lawton parent that was really excited about having an internal candidate (principal experience was not nearly as important as their leadership skills and respect they had built from the AAPS teaching community).


Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

Of course I am going to give her a chance, and I know the Lawton community will welcome her with open-arms. My dissapointment had nothing to do with Mrs. Blick (who is lovely) rather I was expressing my dissapointment with how little the BOE listened to the recommendation from the parents and teachers at Lawton when they interviewed the candidates.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 4:19 a.m.

GIve the woman a chance... with all the negative energy around her hiring, I doubt that she will get a fair shot. Who knows, maybe she will be the best principal the school has ever had? Give her a chance and your support, and maybe you will be surprised.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 2:35 a.m.

Regarding her education ... She has a Bachelor's in Ed from EMU and a Master's in Educational Leadership from EMU (credential for this job). And then she has a second Master's in reading/lit instruction from Walden. No shame in that!


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

correction -- Certificate in Ed. Leadership (not sure if there is much difference between a Cert. and a Master's


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 12:39 a.m.

@Amy: Front page caption says "southewest". Yeah, it's nitpicking but since this is about a Principal we've got to get rid of the typos.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 2:19 a.m.

@Amy: thanks for fixing it.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 12:35 a.m.

A third-rate online graduate degree? Graduate degrees in education too often are cynical exercises in professional credentialing with negligible academic content. A degree from Walden is a joke


Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.

K-12 education master's degrees are under-resourced by the institutions that provide them. Nowhere is this more true than with online degree programs, particularly those offered by wholly online for-profit "universities" such as Walden, where under-qualified and harried instructors juggle large numbers of students and are not able to provide the kind of instruction and critical evaluation that teachers merit. State education regulators are under pressure to improve teacher quality. One of the easiest paths is to toss the problem into the laps of teachers themselves, with little assistance. No satisfactory solution is currently available for teachers who face the need for additional credentials to stay current in their profession, who must juggle family and their teaching obligations, and who must absorb tuition costs on a slender salary. But Walden, and others like it, offer no reputable solution. The quality of the content and instruction is inadequate. Nor is this to say that all bricks-and-mortar places are doing a better job, because many are not. This is truly disheartening. Continuing professional development of teachers should take place in a face-to-face environment, just like the classrooms they lead each day. We should expect better professional preparation of our school leaders.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

There is nothing "third-rate" about an online program / degree or classes. There is usually more work assigned with online coursework. The individual effort is many times more intense. The individual using the online route to further their education is usually juggling full-time employment plus family responsibilities. Their coursework is completed late at night and on weekends. Your comment was highly offensive and disrespectful of a valid option to further higher education.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 12:09 a.m.

You have got to be kidding me! Hiring a principal that has a total of nine years total of teaching and being a principal OUTSIDE of AAPS to come in and be the elementary principal. Unbelievable hiring choices this go around.

Burr Oak

Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 1:02 a.m.

I wish her success, but a novice teacher with these very weak academic credentials does not speak of 'Excellence'. Maybe she is better in practice than on paper, but the paper is very thin.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

@grye: And he's been successfully digging us out of the economic hole that his predecessor, a two-term governor, dug us into. And he is successfully extracting us from two wars that his predecessor, a two-term governor, pulled us into.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

Kind of like electing a president that has minimal experience as a US Senator.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 10:51 a.m.

Yeah, it could be the on leave principal from Carpenter that is getting paid to do nothing at this point in the school year.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 4:37 a.m.

So true - give this woman a chance, it could be worse.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 2:42 a.m.

You're right. They should have transferred the principal from Northside to Lawton. Careful what you wish for.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : midnight

Online masters degree? Give me a break. So much for high AAPS standards. What a slap to those who put in the work of going to school.


Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

But, AAPS will happily pay teachers more when they receive online Masters degrees. You cannot have it both ways. In many cases, online masters degrees a viable and cost effective alternative for those of us who have day jobs.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Mr. Tanner - I did not want to put any spin on the school, only provide information on the school. I do not want my opinions on this to have any impact, so I posted the links.'s software does not allow live links in the posts, I am sorry this is an issue for you.

Frank Tanner

Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 4:25 a.m.

Not sure why all the "links" that you can't click on keep getting posted. If you have something to "quote" quote it, and then provide the link if someone wants to click on it.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 2:24 a.m. walden-university-25042


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 1:36 a.m.

Just about every university offers online courses.


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 11:57 p.m.

Congrats to Ms Blick. Hope she is successful in her new position!


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

Is our former principal, Ruth Williams, serving as interim principal until September 16th? Or until Mrs. Blick becomes acclimated to her new position?


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

Blue Eye Girl, Here is a copy of an e-mail that was forwarded by Mrs. Margolis: "Dear Lawton Families, We look forward to our first day of school tomorrow, Tuesday, where students and families will be greeted by eager teachers and perhaps a familiar face. Please welcome back Ruth Williams who will be serving as the interim principal at Lawton until mid September when we can expect our new principal to be officially in place. Ms. Williams was the former Lawton principal and later served as the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education. We are thankful to have her back in the midst and leading our fine staff toward a smooth and productive first few weeks of school. We hope to be able to announce the new principal soon. Enjoy Labor Day!"


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 2:46 a.m.

Gorc is correct, Ms. Williams is currently serving as interim principal. But I do not know the answer for how long.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 2:01 a.m.

Ms. Williams retired over a year ago.


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 10:11 p.m.

Finally, an announcement. Someone following the former principal's shoes from Wayne-Westland! I can't believe AAPS would not promote from within! Crazy!

It's my opinion

Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 9:11 p.m.

I don't understand why the school district continues to fill elementary principal postions from outside the school district. 3 out of 4 elementary school principal openings this summer were filled by outsider. There are clearly outstanding candidates inside the school dsitrict for these postions that have been overlooked. I'm a firm believer in promoting from within.

Momma G

Thu, Sep 5, 2013 : 8 p.m.

It's been proven in years past how good the "internal" candidates have been for Elementary - look at Carpenter for on example and one other whose principal was there way too long and finally retired.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 2:39 a.m.

How many candidates had principal experience? Were there any internal ones?


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 12:28 a.m.

@grye: There were internal candidates, and some excellent ones with over 20 years of teaching experience and excellent reviews. Inexplicable in my opinion.


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

And exactly how many internal candidates were there? The article doesn't mention any. Pretty presumptuous on your part.


Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

The job should go to the person best qualified.