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Posted on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Spokeswoman dispels rumors that Ann Arbor superintendent works 4-day week

By Danielle Arndt

Editor's note: Comments from school board President Deb Mexicotte have been added to this story.

Ann Arbor Superintendent Patricia Green works a five-day week and owns a home in the district, though she does fly to Maryland on some weekends, a school district spokeswoman said Thursday.

Communications Director Liz Margolis made the statement Thursday in response to rumors around the district and comments on AnnArbor.com articles that the superintendent only works four days per week.

Patricia Green.JPG

Ann Arbor Superintendent Patricia Green

School board members say they've heard rumors that Green does not own a home in the district and only works a four-day week spread among Ann Arbor Public Schools families with whom they interact. Commenters on AnnArbor.com school stories also have raised questions for months about whether the superintendent works a full week.

Margolis said Green does go back to Maryland, where her husband lives, on some weekends. She said Green's husband owns an orthodontics and periodontics practice in Maryland.

"She has done this for many years, commuting back and forth to Maryland," Margolis said of Green. "She did this all while she lived in Pennsylvania. … It works for them (Green and her husband). And it's not every weekend. She periodically flies back and (her husband) periodically flies here."

Green did not respond to requests for an interview for this article.

Trustee Simone Lightfoot said it concerns her that people think this and while she has not addressed the superintendent about it personally, she does wonder why this is the public's perception. Lightfoot said when she hears complaints or has questions posed to her about Green, she jots them down on a list of items to bring up during the annual superintendent evaluation.

"I like to keep a list to be fair and to be able to document the things that I hear. … I believe in transparency. And if a concern is raised, there should be an official response to it," Lightfoot said.

School board Vice President Christine Stead said it's discouraging that rumors about Green's work ethic and residency have become talking points for the community.

"She is one of hardest-working superintendents I know," Stead said. "So it couldn't be further from the truth — these accusations about her work ethic."

She said in her experience with the superintendent, Green often will leave a school board meeting at 1:30 a.m., respond to an email at 4 a.m. and be in the office by 7 a.m. Stead said Green also has been known to write reports while on vacation and to be available via phone or email then as well. She's also worked with Green on projects on Friday nights and on weekends, Stead said.

Board President Deb Mexicotte said it's "demoralizing" for everyone in the district to have to discuss these types of issues. She added board members and school officials only have so much time, energy and capacity to give and their efforts need to be focused on the right things, like personnel hiring, student achievement and addressing the approximately $18 million budget shortfall.

"Rome burns while we're squelching anonymous, mean-spirited rumors," Mexicotte said. "We (the board) are her bosses. If we thought she was skipping out once a week ... it'd be our jobs to correct this. But we're satisfied with her performance and say so on a regular basis. … As a community … we need to refocus on what's important."

When asked why it might be the public's perception that Green is unresponsive and not in the office five days a week, Stead said possibly because of Green's management style.

She said Green believes in enabling and empowering leaders at the closest level of accountability to take control of their departments. Green also believes in having an effective chain of command for resolving issues and accomplishing tasks, which often can require more people to be involved, Stead said.

"False information doesn't serve anyone, as none of us are making decisions in a fully informed manner," Stead said. "Being able to validate information and correct any misinformation is an important service for an informed and engaged community. Technology has changed how we communicate with each other so that information can be relayed as personal accounts and in real-time, which can be great. Validating information becomes even more important in this kind of environment."

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for AnnArbor.com. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at daniellearndt@annarbor.com.

Comments

Brad

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

dis┬Ěpel /dis?pel/ Verb 1.Make (a doubt, feeling, or belief) disappear. That remains to be seen.

deres

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

It is that odd for people to feel disconnected from Ms. Green when she does not respond to questions from the local news, asking her about the issues at hand? Asking her spokesperson to respond for her?

sellers

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

Here is the question - if she is doing the job as you would expect her to - who cares if she lives in Alaska, Maryland, Ohio, or even Saline. If she is not available for meetings, or is missing goals or objectives, or does not represent AAPS properly, then she needs to correct that - regardless of where she lives. Why residency in AA is a measure of success escapes me.

tdw

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

I had to laugh,She had a spokeswoman say how much she works.I guess she's working too hard to say it herself

aaparent

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:38 p.m.

This is from yesterday's story and I would like to know more about this: @ J. A. Pieper 10:24 AM on 2/21/2013 *Many teachers and parents are concerned about her leadership style. *She has made herself off limits to us, she has indicated that she does not deal with parents directly, and it is almost impossible to get an appointment with her. *She has come in with her goal (and that of our school board) to improve the district in many important ways, one being the Achievement Gap, and her new baby, the Discipline Gap. * Her priorities deal with looking good on paper, in the data that gets reported to the public and the state. *The Discipline Gap will be solved because we are not allowed to discipline students who are involved with one end of the gap data. Not allowed, and are considered racist if we do. *So now the discipline gap will magically disappear under her watch, but you might not want your child in some classrooms, because they will be afraid of the behavior they experience daily. * No record of it though, only through dinner time conversations with your children. But, AAPS will look great on paper!

aaparent

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

@Danielle Arndt- thank you for following up on questions raised in yesterday's story. In your story today, Christine Stead acknowledges there is a perception problem with Dr. Green's management style, but that her work ethic is strong. I hope A2.com can follow up more on comments from yesterday's article and many others in the past year by people who are informed and work in the district suggest there are policies limiting teachers' power to discipline students or maintain classroom order in a reasonable way and measure learning by students at different levels in a truthful and accurate way. What are these new data measures Dr. Green and the new hires have implemented and what do teachers on the front lines at all grade levels think about these changes? Which changes or data measures do teachers, especially the experienced once, think will really help student learning and which ones will mostly help the district and the administration look good on paper? Could you contact the teacher's union president for comments on these articles or is that something that is not allowed? I'd like to see more official comment from teachers about these educational issues since they are the ones who have the most responsibility over students' learning at all levels in the district.

Napalm.Morning

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

. . .Thank you. . .we do expect some level of forthright disclosure from our public servants. At least we have the facts. . .

grye

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:30 p.m.

In today's environment, people may not completely relocate for a position. Nothing wrong with that a long as the work ethic is good.

Carrie

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

I wonder how you came to that conclusion!

Top Cat

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

In other words, she has made a half hearted commitment to Ann Arbor.