11 Ann Arbor schools to receive new principals next school year
Ann Arbor Public Schools will have nine schools with new permanent principals next year and two middle schools with new assistant principals, all of which are coming from other Ann Arbor schools.
The district is facing many principal retirements at the elementary level, which led to the unusual number of schools getting new leaders next year, district spokesperson Liz Margolis said today.
Here are the schools and their new principals for next year:
- Ann Arbor Open School — Kit Flynn, the media specialist at Ann Arbor Open.
- Bryant Elementary School — Roberta Heyward, the interim principal at Bryant and a teacher at the school.
- Burns Park Elementary School — Virginia Bell, assistant principal at Huron High School.
- King Elementary School — Kathy Morhous, principal at Burns Park.
- Mitchell Elementary School — Kevin Karr, principal at King.
- Carpenter Elementary School — Charles Davis, the lead teacher at Haisley Elementary School.
- Eberwhite Elementary School — Bill Harris, the district’s assistant director of special education.
- Haisley — Kathy Scarnecchia, special administrator working on the Mitchell/Scarlett - University of Michigan Partnership and former principal at Mitchell.
- Thurston Elementary School — Natasha York, a teacher at Carpenter.
These two schools will get new assistant principals:
- Forsythe Middle School — John Reece, assistant principal at Pioneer High School.
- Scarlett Middle School — Edward Broom, interim principal at Mitchell, who returns to his previous position at Scarlett.
Reece and Bell's positions at Pioneer and Huron will not be filled, as a part of the district's budget cuts for the 2011-12 school year. Margolis said she expects the media specialist position at Ann Arbor Open and the assistant director of special education position will be filled. She said whether the teaching positions are filled will come down to staffing and enrollment at Carpenter and Haisley, which should be determined soon.
The new principals were hired after a two-day interview process, Margolis said. The groups who interviewed the candidates were comprised of school staff, parents and administrators. There were 20 total candidates interviewed, Margolis said.
“The group interviews worked extremely well as the interview teams sought out the best candidate for their school,” she said.
Former Ann Arbor Open principal Naomi Zikmund-Fisher resigned from her position at the end of February after going on leave at the beginning of 2011 to return to graduate school. Flynn filled the principal position until the beginning of February when Tamber Woodworth, former principal at Pioneer High School took over the position until the end of the school year.
All of the principal positions that were not reassignments or new hires were vacated by retirements, Margolis said.
The changes at Mitchell might be the most striking in a year that the partnership between Mitchell, Scarlett and the U-M School of Education is set to begin.
Scarnecchia will only serve as the principal at Haisley and will no longer be working on the Mitchell/Scarlett-UM partnership, Margolis said. Scarnecchia has “done the leg work” in getting the partnership off the ground and Margolis said Karr has lots of experience with the U-M School of Education to bring to the school.
In his letter to the Mitchell community, Karr said he was anticipating filling the leadership void left by Scarnecchia and Broom and looked forward to being a leader in the partnership.
“I understand that the leadership void left behind will need to be filled,” Karr said. “I intend to do my best to fill that void, working with you to make Mitchell School the best it can be.”
Meanwhile, Scarnecchia will be moving to a school she already has lots of experience with having attended Haisley when she was in elementary school.
She said in a letter to the Haisley community she looks forward to using the experience she has gained while working with leaders at U-M in her new position at Haisley, a place already close to her heart.
“Those are wonderful memories for me,” she said of her time at the school, “and I look forward to leading Haisley School and making it a place your children will remember for many years to come."
This is another major shake up of principals in the district, and Margolis said it was a positive statement about the district that all of the positions could be filled with people already in the district.
She said the reassignments would help get people in positions where they could best serve the district.
Margolis said some of the people who were reassigned approached the district asking for a new challenge and the district approached others and asked them to take over a new position. She said the group interview process allowed many schools to pick the leader they thought would best fit that school.
“We’re really proud that we have such a stellar group of people to bring into the leadership ranks, it really bodes well for the district,” Margolis said.