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Posted on Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Superintendent candidate to enter negotiations with Ann Arbor; home district approves pay bump

By Danielle Arndt


Ann Arbor superintendent finalist Brian Osborne, superintendent of South Orange-Maplewood School District in New Jersey, answers questions during a Q&A at Skyline High School on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

Courtney Sacco I

Previous coverage:

Editor's note: The amount of Brian Osborne's salary increase in his home school district has been corrected in this story. This figure was reported incorrectly in the Orange-Maplewood Patch.

The Ann Arbor Board of Education voted unanimously Friday to enter into contract negotiations with the superintendent candidate it felt was the best match for Ann Arbor: Brian Osborne.

School officials and a representative from consulting firm Ray & Associates called Osborne Friday to inform him of the board's 7-0 vote to offer him the position. He did not immediately state that he would accept the position, provided the parties can reach an agreement. However, he expressed he was looking forward to the negotiations, board President Deb Mexicotte said.

Jeanice Kerr Swift, the assistant superintendent of instruction, curriculum and student services for Colorado Springs School District No. 11, was the other finalist the board interviewed and considered for the position.

Board members also praised Swift as an extremely high-quality candidate and were appreciative of her time. Trustee Christine Stead said Swift was very warm and welcoming, enthusiastic and polished, and "did every aspect of the interview process very, very well."

Swift told in a phone call Friday she was grateful and honored to have had the opportunity to meet with the Ann Arbor schools community and staff.

"It was a wonderful experience to participate in the process and I of course wish the community of Ann Arbor, Dr. Osborne and the schools team all the very best as they start this next chapter," she said. "I know it will be a great chapter to continue to enhance the education of children and the excellence that the district is already known for."

Osborne did not return multiple phone calls from reporters seeking comment Friday night.

Trustees also voted Friday to give Mexicotte the authority to, along with AAPS' legal counsel, enter into contract negotiations with Osborne on behalf of the board.

The contract will be brought back to the full board for approval following the negotiations, which will include items such as salary, benefits, longevity incentives and possibly some "relocation needs that are unique to a husband and father bringing his family across the country," Mexicotte said.

"We have to be very sensitive to those (needs)."

Mexicotte said this process will play out during the next few days to, perhaps, a couple of weeks. "But we are very hopeful that we are going to come to a really satisfactory contract ... and see Dr. Osborne in our community this fall."

If Osborne turns down the position, although that is not what the board expects will happen, Mexicotte said trustees will reconvene and come back and discuss in open and public forum what to do next.

Osborne blew trustees away this week with his background; breadth of knowledge; commitment to transparency; quick-study skills in learning so much, so quickly about the Ann Arbor Public Schools; his thorough and straightforward answers to questions; and his "tough truths," board members said Friday at their meeting. They also said the feedback from the community was overwhelmingly in his favor.

Mexicotte called Osborne a realist and an optimist, and said she personally would use the same terms to describe the community of Ann Arbor — realistic and optimistic, she said.

But what sealed the deal for Mexicotte was three things that reverberated throughout all of Osborne's rhetoric Wednesday when he was in town for his final interviews: innovation and excellence in teaching, equity in access to educational opportunities and improving outcomes for all students, and meeting financial challenges.


Trustee Simone Lightfoot

Danielle Arndt |

"These were the three things he highlighted in his 90-day plan and at every forum he spoke at," she said. "And I thought: 'These are the things I care about, that the community cares about.'

"... He talked about how these are what the threads of his career have been, and how they dovetailed with what he sees Ann Arbor needing right now."

Trustee Simone Lightfoot liked that Osborne was more willing to admit tough truths: "I thought his direct honesty was refreshing."

However, Lightfoot was the only board member to express some resistance to hiring Osborne, despite thinking he was the best fit of the two finalists.

She described her hesitancy as stemming from a feeling that he may not be "hungry" to be here in Ann Arbor.

Lightfoot said Osborne's current school board, in the South Orange and Maplewood School District in New Jersey, voted this week to give him a raise that puts his salary for the 2013-14 academic year at $100 above what Ann Arbor schools set its salary range at for the position. So Lightfoot said she got the impression that things for him leaving South Orange-Maplewood are not as settled as trustees would like.

According to Maplewood, the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to award Osborne a "bonus" that increased his salary from $208,000 to $220,001. Patch reported that salary would drop to about $167,500 after Osborne's contract with the district expires in June 2014, due to the New Jersey governor's recently initiated cap for superintendent salaries.

A June report from says one quarter of New Jersey's superintendents planned to retire or seek employment elsewhere this summer. That figure is twice as high as last year's attrition rate, reported.

The AAPS board voted in April to set its superintendent salary range at $180,000 to $220,000. Now-retired Superintendent Patricia Green, whom Osborne will replace should he accept, earned $245,000 per year.

Lightfoot said another aspect that concerned her is the possibility of Osborne not being able to start with AAPS on the first day of school due to a 90-day clause in his current contract with South Orange-Maplewood.

The clause, Mexicotte said, calls for Osborne to give a 90-days notice prior to leaving. But Mexicotte said the board knew this was a possibility when it set out with its quick-timeframe search and talked about it again when discussing an interim superintendent.

Trustee Andy Thomas, who was out of town for the meeting but participated via a telephone conference call, said Green also had a 90-day clause in her contract, but her former district worked with her to set a more reasonable end date. He said Green was still available to the district and "made good use of that time."

Additionally, Osborne outlined in his 90-day entry plan — which he presented to the Ann Arbor community on Wednesday — a pre-entry plan he dubbed "S and S: Study and Skype." He said this would include Skype conversations with principals, board members, secondary student leaders and parent leaders, as well as studying and researching district policies, data, state laws and more.

Another concern Lightfoot raised was about a comment Osborne made to another trustee on whether an adjunct professorship at the University of Michigan was something he could obtain while superintendent of the district. Mexicotte said, while she was not the trustee he asked about this, it is her understanding he asked whether that was something that could potentially benefit the district.

Stead said she is "not afraid of ambitious people" and doesn't share Lightfoot's concern about this.

Lightfoot said in an interview following the meeting, she was satisfied with the board's decision to offer the position to Osborne, despite the concerns she raised. She said no one is perfect and added those concerns are "able to be overcome."

"I'm good now because I was good with the candidate," she said after the meeting. "He had always made my top four from the very beginning of the process. My concern is I'm not sure we had the best pool to begin with."

So because the board already might have to wait 90 days before Osborne can join AAPS, why not start another search and take our time? Lightfoot asked.

To her, a better, more perfect fit for Ann Arbor would be someone who had "knowledge of what our issues here in Michigan are." Lightfoot said the candidate would not necessarily have to be local or just Michigan-based — they could have been from Ohio with some Michigan experience or worked in both Michigan and someplace else — "just some sort of understanding," she said.

On the issue of Osborne obtaining an adjunct professorship, Lightfoot said she simply saw it as his interests possibly being elsewhere.

"That's unique, and my thought was how does he not see the gravity of this in the community?" she said. "… He's a smart guy, a Harvard guy. I think he'll be OK, but that wasn't about our district to me, that was about him."

Mexicotte says just the opposite it true.

"Our superintendent would be part of a professional community of learners," she said in a post-meeting interview. "... This is exactly the kind of relationship in the education (world) ... that brings benefit to our standing not just in the community, but in the state and nationally.

"It's the kind of thing that is often in superintendent contracts. And the kind of service and aspiration and inspiration we would expect from a community leader in a town like Ann Arbor."

Osborne is very interested in working with stakeholder partners whenever he can to build relationships and create additional "synergy" around the district's educational leadership in the state, Mexicotte said. She added AAPS already has partnerships with the University of Michigan that could only grow and improve if Osborne were to take on an adjunct professorship there.

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



Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 4:14 a.m.

I hope he takes the position. He is by far the most qualified candidate and the absolute best choice for the job. Well done, BOE.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 6:13 a.m.

This poor guy i don't think realizes what a snake pit AAPS is.

Joel A. Levitt

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 4:22 a.m.

I think that the's coverage of this important selection process has been inadequate. How well have the candidates done in their present positions? Were they liked by their superiors, by their peers and by their subordinates? How do they think the racial achievement gap can be cured? Do they think that the AAPS should be involved in pre-schooling? What role do they see for computers in the school system? Do they believe that we should we have a vocational education program? Which foreign languages do they think should be offered, and in what grade should they be introduced? What thoughts do they have about opportunities the AAPS should offer students for participating in the affairs of the general community? How would they mobilize the resources of the UM and of Eastern Michigan? What else should we know about the candidates? If the has reported on these matters, I have missed it, and I would like to be so informed.

Joel A. Levitt

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 7:19 a.m.

DonBee That the BOE once more did a crummy job does not change the fact that the did too. New Jersey isn't very far away. The candidates were here in Ann Arbor and available for interviewing.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 6:16 a.m.

Mr. Levitt - If you want to blame anyone, consider blaming the BOE. Ms. Arndt and Ms. Woodhouse did a wonderful job at reporting what had been discussed in the various public meetings. If you knew you wanted answers to these questions, there was a way to submit them to the AA.COM reporters and a public forum that each candidate was at that for the first time in a long time was not scripted, you could have asked. The board in the public forums through softballs, and considered any response to be an answer. They chose to ask about the folks like me on Ann Arbor dot com and not about vocational education or the education gap (by the way - there are more gaps than just a racial gap - including an economic gap that runs across all ethnic groups). Don't blame the people who gave you a better view into this selection process than we have ever had before, look to the lame questions asked by the BOE and even lamer follow up to non-responses.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:26 a.m.

Looks like NJ is trying an end run. I say offer him more money the first year, but then less money (but more than NJ) the following years. If the overall income is more than offered in NJ, then we have a chance. But the track record of our school board will be to pay more with increases each following year. We need smart negotiations, not just blank checks.

Joel A. Levitt

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

grye, I apologize, my comment was meant to be addressed to DonBee.

Joel A. Levitt

Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 7:12 a.m.

grye, That the BOE once more did a crummy job does not change the fact that the did too. New Jersey isn't very far away. The candidates were here in Ann Arbor and available for interviewing.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 11:44 p.m.

Once Dr. Os--not to be confused with Dr. Oz--encounters the "left tide" in A2, he'll be gone before his family has a chance to relocate. No matter, he'll be more than duly compensated for zero days of service. And the search goes on . . .


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 6:15 a.m.

very cynical but i don't disagree with you.


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

So much for your plea for getting real....


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

Parents in the South Maple NJ district are posting some amusing comments about Ann Arbor. The observations about Ann Arbor start at the bottom of page 7. They say Ann Arbor parents sound like a tougher bunch than those in NJ, but lucky to have pizza at board meetings, and they might want to trade Osborne for Danielle Arndt's live blogging skills. Some highlights: One commenter: "Wow... They make MSO look like a place of rainbows, unicorns and happiness. I don't envy Osborne that job." Another: "They have pizza at their meetings?!?" And: "Well apparently they go to 1:30am so they must need sustenance." Finally: "If they do poach Osborne, can MOL steal Danielle Arndt?"


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

Do not get in a bidding war over this guy. Our district cannot afford to once again, overpay for someone who has yet to prove themselves to us. Make him a reasonable offer and if he tries to counter, move on. Start the search process over again, if you have to. Us AAPS parents and taxpayers will not tolerate anymore poor and/or rash decisions from the board of education.

Homeland Conspiracy

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

I wish I could get a 13 THOUSAND dollar pay "bump"


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

Apply for better jobs.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

"Due to Governor Chris Christie's caps on superintendent pay, Osborne's salary will drop to about $167,500 after his contract with the district expires in June 2014. The Arbor position has a salary range of $180,000 to $220,000."


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:18 a.m.

How about we offer more for the first year then more than he would make in NJ the following year. There is no legal requirement that pay must always go up.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

Maybe the problem here with the adjunct professor topic is that if it is only the case that Osborne asked about it to one trustee, Susan Baskett, that she misunderstood what he meant. At the very least, I think this should be clarified because the way it has been raised first by a commenter earlier in the week who was then appropriately deleted, and then at the board table last night and now responded to by Mexicotte -- leaves many unanswered questions. I apologize if my comments add to putting it in a negative light. I actually think that establishing some connection to the UM School of Ed, if set up in the right way, could be a good thing. The way this has come into the public discussion is problematic and the best way to address is for the board president or a designated board member to be very clear. There was clearly some tension about Baskett's role of sharing information during the live blog record of the board meeting.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

This choice is equally as self-serving as Dr. Green. He's leaving New Jersey due to a salary cap and wants an adjunct professorship at the University of Michigan. As for a spouse, AAPS should not be in the business of procuring a job for anyone's spouse.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.

If you were asking about something that might be controversial, wouldn't you mention it to only one person who might be receptive rather than to several people who are judging you?

Danielle Arndt

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

Somargie, if you read the story through to the end, you'll see that the inquiry about the adjunct professorship was actually for him. He is interested in the benefits and partnerships this could bring to the school district/community, according to board members. But I want to stress here that this inquiry was something he made to one trustee, and is not something he 100 percent is planning on doing. He just asked about the possibility of it at this point.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.



Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

Here we go again...another bad decisions for AAPS. They chose someone who is leaving New Jersey because of an upcoming salary cap of $167k on Superintendents and he wants to pursue an adjunct professorship at the University of Michigan. The best thing for the long-term vitality of AAPS for its students is for this "best choice" by a school board who should be recalled is for him to turn it down


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 9:03 p.m.

Somargie - We don't have a basis of fact for the comments about the adjunct role, no one is fully aware of what was really said or what the context was. The board has not informed the community of what was or was not said. So right now I am going to discount this comment from a trustee. Until they provide the rest of the story. If Dr. Osborne wanted to teach a summer course on being an administrator or a supervising teacher at the UofM, I don't think it would hurt his ability to be the superintendent and I also think it might help him build a better relationship with the school of education at the UofM. It might also keep him in the community for more years as the AAPS superintendent. I know when I am going to teach a new class, I typically try it out on the people that work for me, which would not be bad think for the staff at AAPS either.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

There are so many problems with the true understanding of this school board about education. There MUST be a fundamental change in the way we deliver education to our students. Unless this new superintendent has nerves of steel, an iron will, and a solid knowledge base about learning, nothing is going to change in Ann Arbor. We MUST focus on learning, we MUST demand that all teachers and administrators get on the same page, and teach using research-based and data-driven methods. We MUST demand that everyone play by the same rules, and we MUST demand true accountability from all. Fancy words from superintendent candidates cannot fix what is wrong here. This school board needs to wake up, and realize that they are responsible for our children and our learning outcomes. It is going to take determination. It is going to take work. I am not sure that anyone, including the proposed new superintendent really understands what has to happen if we are to survive. Nothing less than the future of our children, our schools and our community is at stake. at this time. Wake up people, put on your big-boy pants, and get the job done.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

I agree with DonBee below: It sounds like you favor online education for all: cookie cutter lessons delivered by a robot. In education one size does not fit all. However, you are quite correct in your assertion that the BOE is responsible for our children and learning outcomes. That being said, please trust the teaching to the experts: the professionals who spend their time with these very children. Mr. Osborne says his 90-day pre-entry plan he dubbed "S and S: Study and Skype." "He said this would include Skype conversations with principals, board members, secondary student leaders and parent leaders, as well as studying and researching district policies, data, state laws and more." Note he did not mention that any teachers would be "skyped" in this plan.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 9 p.m.

Hillaria TVM - I think we disagree here. I don't want every class and every teacher to teach the same way. I want us to seriously look at a German style education system. Some students are going to go to college and succeed. Some are not. Some jobs require college, many do not. We need skilled machinists, and carpenters, they need to know math, but in a different way than engineers. Right now the common wisdom is every student should be headed to college and we should funnel every student to college and the schools should only focus on that goal. I think that is wrong. Probably 40% of the jobs need college - Yes many of them are the highest paying and best opportunity, but the other 60% do not - many need strong foundational skills in math and reading. Education is important, but college for many students is not the goal, and they should have classes that keep them interested and focused on good careers that fit what they want to be and do. Many young males are being left behind because they don't want to go to college, they do want to make money and have a good job. Thousands of jobs in the state go unfilled because we don't turn out the technician class from schools anymore, we don't honor those jobs anymore in schools, we look down on them. Maybe it is time to admit that some people need to work harder, not smarter - and that schools need to support that, like they do in Germany, where it is honorable to attend a technical high school and become an apprentice.

Gretchen Ridenour

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 4:18 p.m.

Clarification: I am in agreement with HillariaTVM.

Gretchen Ridenour

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 4:15 p.m.

I couldn't have said it better!


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

There are 0 useful suggestions in your statements. You also kritik normative rhetoric (agree) but then say things like focus on learning, get on the same page....

Chase Ingersoll

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

So, the final selection is "bailing out" of New Jersey due to a gubernatorial salary cap that would reduce his pay dramatically in 2014? Yet, he's using a recent, temporary pay increase to negotiate a higher salary here? Just askin'..................


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

Talker - With benefits and retirement an average teacher costs the district $104,000. So even at $220,000 - the salary would cover 2 teachers. With allowances, benefits, retirement, car allowance, moving, some support for buying or selling a house, I suspect the first year will cost less than $400,000 or about 4 teachers. With no moving expenses in 2014-15, I would expect the contract to be about 3 teachers worth of money. I hope this helps.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

So New Jersey residents know when they have to limit how much they pay school superintendents. Then there's that city about 30 miles to our east that spent too much. At the rate Ann Arbor property taxes are going up, will aging baby boomers decide it's not in their interest to remain homeowners in Ann Arbor. Then will the smaller generation after baby boomer provide enough demand for those houses, let alone for the luxury condos some developers think we'll buy for twice the prices of our current houses. When city council or the board of education or the DDA want to spend behind our means, Ann Arbor could have severe money problems and have to cut back drastically in the future. I understand that real estate developers get paid up front on the projects they develop. At least there it's banks that could take a hit. But if things don't turn out as some would like, the city and school taxes would also be less than projected through rose colored glasses. I doubt that any superintendent will provide more value than 5, experienced teachers.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

All well and good, but then must the Board still offer him substantially more than what constitutes, along with his current raise, only an interim salary level?

Basic Bob

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

The recent temporary pay increase is not a factor in the negotiations because it is dependent on the AAPS offer. He is moving out of state due to the impending cap, so he might as well move here before all the other well-paying jobs are taken.

Usual Suspect

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

Why is it I don't have much confidence this will be handled well on our end?


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

Good on the Board for choosing to come together to support a candidate! It is very good to see the Board working together for the good of the district. And I'm very sure that Brian Osborne is up to the task of bringing a group of university town folks together for the good of their children. Of course a university adjunct professorship would be something that would seem like a win-win to everyone--what a great collaborative model--a great expansion of the Mitchell-Scarlet partnership and of the idea of AAPS as a learning community for everyone. Great modeling from the top by Osborne! And great leadership from Deb Mexicotte and the Board to bring everyone together. That bodes very well for Dr. Osborne's tenure here in Ann Arbor. Very much looking forward to this next exciting chapter for AAPS.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

@ Danielle and -- thank you for the excellent news coverage and live blogs. Thanks to Kellie Woodhouse for filling in when Danielle was gone. @ Ruth Kraut and @DonBee posted in last night's story some salary details about NJ that I would like to understand better. The adjunct faculty idea for Osborne or his spouse: This needs elaboration or it will continue to be a criticism (maybe rightly so) if he accepts the job. Also, I believe Mexicotte works at the UM in student affairs and it should be clarified if that is a conflict of interest if she facilitates any networking on this point. Do other board members have UM connections? My understanding is that a lot of people can work as an adjunct at the UM and it doesn't mean much in a practical way, other than they can teach a course or a seminar, like a visiting scholar who returns. Some adjunct faculty are more like permanent employees in non-tenure track positions. Some friends told me that the UM that the School of Ed has a different set up in some areas and adjunct could mean something like working on a grant temporarily or working on a project. If Osborne wants to affiliate with the School of Ed and use resources that would help the district, that could be a plus, not a sign that he is only ambitious. If it is for his spouse, it is not unusual for one partner in a relationship who is sought after by an employer to ask about employment possibilities for a his/her mate. If he is so great, wouldn't we want his spouse and family to love it here, too? I think ambition is a good quality and should not be seen as a liability unless it is a more negative mix of self-interest + ambition that makes a person not care too deeply about anyone other than his or her own gain. Green was criticized for her self interest and commenters criticized Edmonson on this point. I have not read a criticism of either Osborne or Swift about being self-interested and insincere.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 10:41 p.m.

@ Donbee- thank you for the information. I found these 2 links online, one an opinion piece and the other an article about a superintendent in NJ who decided to take the pay cut.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 8:49 p.m.

aaparent - The issue with salaries is easy to explain, I think. Up until next year, the local school board can set superintendent and other senior administration salaries as they choose to do. As of the end of any contract that existed on the day the law went into effect, there is a cap on the salaries for those senior officials, based on the number of students enrolled in a district. Dr. Osborne's contract expires in June of 2014, so his capped salary would be 167,500 in the 2014-15 school year. This is a new state law in NJ, trying to fix what was seen as run away salaries for top administrators. His district is close enough to the bottom of the range for that salary, that a loss of 125 or so students could make the new cap for his district 157,500. In the coming school year, the board can vote him any salary they want, but they cannot extend his contract without activating the cap. So they have to wait until the current contract expires or is close to expiration to offer him a longer contract, and then the total compensation, not just salary has to abide by the new rules. I was not specific on dates yesterday, since I did not have the expiration date of his contract handy at the time. I hope this helps.

Danielle Arndt

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

Thanks aaparent. And I think your point about Trustee Lightfoot mentioning it in a public meeting and therefore the board needs to take responsibility for the information is a fair one.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

@ Danielle- thanks for the info. I am not trying to assume anything, but once the information is out there, it's important for the board president to be very clear on what was a discussion point and in what context vs. what is a component of a job package and cannot be discussed. Since Lightfoot mentioned it in a public meeting and then trustees commented on it in your article, it's important for the board to take full responsibility for this information and handle it. I think my comment raised the question of what exactly the topic of being an adjunct includes and if it is not known or cannot be disclosed, then instead of board members defending how hypothetically it could be a nice benefit, the board should be clear on what is being discussed. I am asking what role any board members might have if any in pursuing a connection to the UM or if this was simply something said in conversation that is being blown out of proportion. I raised as a point of information that Mexicotte works at the UM in a staff (?) position and wondered if other trustees had a UM connection. I do think that being careful about conflicts of interest is reasonable to ask about but I am not stating that I think something improper is happening. The board would be best served by more transparency!


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

@Gretchen Ridenour --thanks for that info. I think that the office of New Student Programs is in the division of Student Affairs and former AAPS School Board President from the 1980s, Eunice Royster-Harper is the VP for student affairs. My question is whether Mexicotte is using her salaried job at the UM and connections to help connect Osborne or if Osborne is going to pursue this question himself (I still don't know what exactly the question is) and the issue for being a superintendent is if the board will allow him or his wife to have an adjunct position. While contract negotiations are private, the adjunct position was mentioned at the meeting yesterday and in the story above. It would be good communications practice for the board that once partial information is released, that somebody provides adequate factual clarification, not an emotional reassurance or opinion. Mexicotte's quote in Danielle's article is overflowing with buzz words and short on facts: "Our superintendent would be part of a professional community of learners," she said in a post-meeting interview. "... This is exactly the kind of relationship in the education (world) ... that brings benefit to our standing not just in the community, but in the state and nationally. "It's the kind of thing that is often in superintendent contracts. And the kind of service and aspiration and inspiration we would expect from a community leader in a town like Ann Arbor."

Danielle Arndt

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

aaparent, I think readers should be careful about assuming anyone specifically is doing any networking at this point. I do know Mexicotte was not the trustee Osborne asked about adjunct professorships. Apparently, he asked the question of Susan Baskett during her and Andy Thomas' site visit to NJ. Also, the story should adequately answer your questions about who was interested in the professorship and why. The inquiry was not for his spouse. But thanks for your comment!

Gretchen Ridenour

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

Deb Mexicotte's position at UM is listed as "Program Director Arts at Michigan Associate Director Office of New Student Programs".


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

thank you Ms. Lightfoot for your insightful reservations on this candidate. Why we went outside the state/our city --AGAIN---is not really comprehensible given all the previous superintendents actions. This town is abundant with qualified people who are committed to our community/students.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

How do you know that this town is "abundant with qualified people" who are interested in this job? Do you review all the resumes submitted to the Board? Did you participate in the interviews of all the candidates selected from those reviews? Why are you so certain that Mr. Osborne was not the best qualified of those who actually applied? I do not understand the fixation on local candidates.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

The AA BOE will not learn, will they?


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

I am curious how Osborne responded to the offer and how the negotiations will proceed. Will President Mexicotte be the only trustee talking with him about the contract and the logistics? I hope not. Whatever the process was with Dr. Green, I think the board should use a different process. @DonBee posted some good suggestions for a contract with incentives that would counter the desperation expressed by Trustee Patalan at the end of last night's meeting. I hope that the board follows this recommendation to build in a few key metrics and protection for the district. Green was treated as an executive Goddess of sorts, left to work for too long in a data collection and research phase and then emerge with a set of proposals that did not work in a practical way. The BOE needs to learn how it contributed to that playing out. Now is that window to set things up differently. Can our BOE, many of whom have really big emotions, feelings and concerns they express over and over again, act in an effective way? Can the BOE set this up so that if Osborne accepts the offer, he can have a real chance to succeed when he (if he says yes) will have to oversee a lot of unpopular changes? If Osborne is willing to talk more to the media directly than Dr. Green was, he can do a better job at communicating in a focused way than any board member right now other than Trustee Stead.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

So they are going to reimburse the new superintendent for his moving expenses even though our school system has severe financial problems. I wonder how many teachers got reimbursed for their moving expenses? Superintendent salary talks make me sick because the highest compensated person in the school district should be a teacher not a superintendent. The vast majority of students won't even know or care who their superintendents are. Teachers are the most valuable assets that a school system has; not a figure head superintendent that makes so little impact in the lives of students. Our society has this all backwards!


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 6:24 a.m.

in theory you're right but in reality bosses are almost always compensated higher than employees are.


Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 2:16 a.m.

It is not uncommon to pay moving expenses for a leadership position, let alone the lead position for the school system. The students may not interact with the superintendent but the actions of whoever is in the position is felt by the students.

Jim Mulchay

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

"However, he expressed he was looking forward to the negotiations" - ok, if he stays where he is, what is the fall back plan?

Danielle Arndt

Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

Jim, if he stays where he is Mexicotte said the board will reconvene and come back and discuss in open and public forum what to do next. There is no specific fall-back plan yet as they are not expecting him to say no.


Sat, Jul 20, 2013 : 11:02 a.m.

WOW! Thankyou Danielle for the tenacious reporting ! We are waiting with bated breath and "baited" and laptop.