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Posted on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

New Ann Arbor Rec and Ed director starts job Monday

By Danielle Arndt

Jenna Bacolor will leave a 16-year career with Washtenaw County Public Health to become the new director of the Ann Arbor Community Education and Recreation department.

Bacolor is replacing Sara Aeschbach, who retired in June after working for the Ann Arbor Public Schools for 31 years.


Jenna Bacolor

From Rec and Ed

“I have the coolest job,” Aeschbach told the AAPS News during a district retirement celebration June 19 at Top of the Park.

“When I was telling my successor (Bacolor) about it, I almost started crying. It’s been a fantastic opportunity,” she said.

Bacolor was hired at a step-one salary of $96,975, said district spokeswoman Liz Margolis. Aeschbach was at a step eight, the highest step, on the salary scale when she left, earning $109,515 annually.

Bacolor will assume her new role with Rec and Ed on Monday.

While the director is considered a member of the superintendent’s cabinet, the position is an Ann Arbor Administrators Association position. Positions that are part of collective bargaining agreements do not need to come before the Board of Education for approval, Margolis said.

Bacolor holds a master’s degree in public health and social work from the University of Michigan. While working for Washtenaw County Public Health, she served as a program supervisor for the past several years.

According to an announcement on the Rec and Ed website, the strengths Bacolor will bring to the department are leadership, communication and community outreach skills and grant writing and grant management experience.

Bacolor has two children enrolled at AAPS. She told the department her family has participated in team sports, summer camps and child care services through Rec and Ed.

Rec and Ed is operated by the Ann Arbor Public Schools district and works closely with the city to provide youth and adult enrichment, lifelong learning opportunities and classes and programs that promote healthy and active lifestyles.

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



Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

I understand that Rec and Ed was to be self supporting. Is it now? If so, why doesn't the district spin it off like the library was and make it independent with it's own board, etc. Maybe other improvements can then be made more easily.

Tom Todd

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

someone will always make more then you and less then you, get over it.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

It sounds like a big job, and I am glad our community invests in a robust Rec and Ed program. I am amazed by the offerings every time I read through the brochure. I also think it is wonderful that the Rec and Ed program pays community members to share their expertise with others. Ms. Bacolor did an excellent job with Public Health and has many qualifications and strengths to bring to this position. She has worked within public constraints, has written and overseen multiple large grants and is respected by those she works with. Bringing in someone who doesn't have specific "Rec and Ed" experience is fine with me, and will likely bring even more to the program. The affordability of the classes may be an issue, but Ms. Bacolor has worked for many years in connecting low-income people to resources that improve their health and well being, so I think she will bring a lot to the Rec and Ed program.

RP Molitor

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

Nice to read some genuine ideas for improvement, instead of useless whining.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

I think complaining about useless whining also counts as useless whining.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Yea. And it will cost plenty of money. We don't these ideas during these times of severe budget constraints. And by the RP. Why is it necessary for you to refer to bloggers comments and whining. I'm sure one has an opinon about your comments

Duane Collicott

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

I would invite Ms. Bacalor to consider bringing Rec & Ed back into the realm of competitive sports. Many, if not all, other towns in our area provide opportunities for both "house" (everybody0plays, like Rec & Ed currently has) and competitive teams that compete with local teams as well as similarly-built teams from other towns. There should be a place for kids who just want to play as well as kids who want to advance their skills, in preparation for playing in Middle School and High School. If this can't be done (I'm aware the concept is very unpopular with Ann Arborties), at least return to actually teaching the sports. For example, with baseball, provide some training for coaches, some clinics for the players, and allow enough pre-season time so coaches can have more practices so they can actually teach the sport to their players, and training time so they can work on individual skills. When you have some kids who have reached 7th and 8th grade Rec & Ed baseball teams and don't have the most basic foundational skills yet, you're letting them down. The difference between Ann Arbor and other towns is that a separate youth baseball organization, run by volunteers, provides the structure for the league and infrastructure. There may be some public money going to it - you'd have to look into it in places like Saline, Dexter, Livonia, etc - which is happening now. But they go beyond that. Have you ever seen the nice clay baseball fields at the middle school in Dexter? The youth baseball organization is responsible for them. Compare them to the fields in Ann Arbor, which are known around the area as the absolute worst.

Duane Collicott

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 6:09 p.m.

I would also invite Ms. Bacalor to look into the fiasco of baseball field rental fees and maintenance. If you want to rent a baseball field for a game - even for a team of young Ann Arbor citizens with tax-paying and parks-millage-paying citizen parents - it will cost you a pretty penny. The fields are groomed by a city employee, and for that you will be charged $80. Then an outside contractor performs base setup and chalking, for which you will be charged an additional $55. If it's an AAPS property, there's only a $9/hr rental fee, but if it's Ann Arbor park property, there's a $39 "booking fee" for a 2-hour time slot. So that's $153 for a game on an AAPS field and $174 for a game on an Ann Arbor parks field. A few years ago these fees were responsible for killing-off the last gasp of competitive baseball in Ann Arbor. I once asked, "What would happen if I did the grooming myself with some rakes and did the chalking myself?" I was told that's not allowed and I could get a ticket. It actually happened once - I know the guy. I asked, "Can't they save money by having one person so everything - grooming, base setup and chalking?" I was told that cannot be arranged. When my son's team plays games in other towns, we arrive at a groomed field, which cost the home team about $40. The coach opens a locked box behind the back stop, gets the bases out and places them on the field in the anchors (it's not rocket science), gets the chalking device out and chalks the baselines, puts everything back in the box, and locks it. I am available for plenty of input on this subject, and I can bring with me several other people who would have plenty of other ideas as well. There are many supporters of youth baseball in Ann Arbor.

Wake Up A2

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

This keeps the superintendent's hiring creed of only hiring women. Maybe this one will like the Super's dolls better : )

Basic Bob

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:39 a.m.

It's the gender gap, not the discipline gap that's important. Not to mention, Dr. Green is strengthening her pyramid (you know, with all these high-paid deputy supers and assistant supers, they have to pay her more and give her more days of rest). We need a full-time "director" of the Education Fund, a full-time "director" of Rec/Ed but turn around and eliminate the tiny stipend paid to athletic directors (teachers) at middle schools. I guess with it being a union job, you can't hire her as manager or administrator to do the same job, like they do most places when people retire.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

Way to much speculation here. Nothing wrong with the pay based on job duties. Damned if you do and damned if you don't hire from within. Good luck and look out for the darts being thrown by those without a clue.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

Curious why they didn't hire from within. There are a lot of competent employees within Rec & Ed.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

ChrisW: One wouldn't get a job like in the private sector making this kind of money without having an appropriate background. Anyone can tell this is an inside job. IF there was so many competent employees within Rec & Ed, why didn't they hire from within? Hook Up. That's all it is.

RP Molitor

Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

Some pretty wild accusations! In the private sector a job with so much responsibility would pay at least $150 grand.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 5:26 p.m.

Actually no, No company would pay Rec Ed Director a 100k. She also gets a full pension. That is a very generous package for any employee, especially on the public dime.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

Operative words are "private sector". Public servants?


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

Are you kidding me? Over $109K for the Community Rec and Ed. director!!! (and I bet her retirement package is sweet...) And then the district has the guts to cut services to the students. Plus, I am sure the benefit package is outragous compared with the rest of the working world. Just another example of the bloated administration at the AAPS. The school board should be embarressed once again, and the taxpayers of Ann Arbor will pay and pay and pay............

Stephannie Ruzicka

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:31 a.m.

You sound so bitter. The fact is that Rec and Ed. is totally self supporting. It doesn't cost the taxpayers one dime for anyone who works there.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Incredible. Her background does not even include Rec and Ed. Sounds like a hook up. Is it no wonder that people question the Ann Arbor Public Schools commitment to diversity.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Knowing the AAPS, she is definitely connected to someone, hmm ..... nepotism in the AAPS.... its certainly not what you know.....


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

Congrats to Ms. Bacolor. May she work to keep Rec & Ed programs widely available, but also find ways to make them more affordable -- the fees associated with youth programs in particular do function to keep some kids on the sidelines while their more privileged peers play soccer, softball, etc. On the one hand, there's no begrudging the salary for this position, though it certainly seems generous enough. The burden Ms. Bacolor should bear is to make sure that she delivers value commensurate to the generous compensation.


Thu, Jul 12, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

I wish her luck. Sounds like a great taxpayer funded job: six figures, pension, health care. Who says that public jobs don't pay?