Superintendent hopeful Patricia Green talks strategic planning, community outreach in interview with Ann Arbor school board
The Ann Arbor school board is interviewing six candidates to become the next superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools this week. AnnArbor.com is profiling each of the candidates after their interviews.
After nine years in her current district, Patricia Green is hoping the superintendent position at Ann Arbor Public Schools will be the next great challenge in her long career.
Green, the current superintendent of North Allegheny School District near Pittsburgh, met with the Ann Arbor Board of Education for about two hours Tuesday. During her interview, Green spoke about her commitment to working with the district’s strategic plan, something she had experience with at North Allegheny.
“I focus like a laser beam on that strategic plan,” she said. “It doesn’t just sit on a shelf. It lives and breathes. I align the budget to it and I make certain that if something is important enough to be in the strategic plan then it must come to life.”
Green began serving as superintendent of North Allegheny School District in May 2002 after working as acting deputy superintendent for instruction for the Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland. Green has worked in education for most of her career, serving as a teacher, a principal and in a number of administrative positions. North Allegheny has an enrollment of about 8,000 students.
She holds a bachelor of science degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in human development education and a doctoral degree in philosophy in education policy, planning and administration from the University of Maryland.
Last month, Green announced she was moving on from North Allegheny in order to find a new challenge. She told the school board she hopes that challenge will be in Ann Arbor.
Green showed knowledge of the Ann Arbor schools’ strategic plan, mentioning it as a major reason why she decided to apply for the superintendent position. She said the district’s willingness to address race issues and usage of words like “excellence” and “world class” matched her ambition.
“It meshed with my philosophy and dovetailed with things we’re doing in North Allegheny,” she said.
During the interview, Green detailed how growing up with a multicultural background in Brooklyn and Queens in New York affected her approach to education. She also spoke about some of her experiences being the first female superintendent in her district.
She said the greatest award she’s received to date was the 2011 Spirit Unity Award from the North Hills Anti-Racism Coalition for leading efforts to promote multicultural awareness and sensitivity at North Allegheny.
Green said she planned to be a very visible superintendent and would expect to find out what education means to Ann Arbor not just from district employees but also from community leaders. She said she currently holds superintendent business roundtables to meet with business leaders in her current district to find out what education means to the business community.
Education "is not just what’s in a book, it’s how you interact with technology and moving on to the outside world,” she said.
Green described herself as someone who is willing to delegate responsibility but willing to make the tough decision. She said she simply treats people as people, regardless of title, whether it be talking to the school board, negotiating with bargaining units, meeting with parents or speaking with students in schools.
She said when hiring potential employees she wants people to want to work with her, not for her.
“I have high standards and people who join up on my team want rigor and have high expectations and are proud of the results they get,” she said.
Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.