You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Pioneer High School principal position reposted to find 'best fit' candidate

By Danielle Arndt


Pioneer High School is still without a permanent principal, as the search for a 'best fit' candidate continues.

Ann Arbor Public Schools administrators decided to repost the job opening for Pioneer High School’s principal position to widen the applicant pool.

“Dr. (Superintendent Patricia) Green felt like she really wanted to make sure that the candidate that is selected for the job is the best fit for the school,” said district spokeswoman Liz Margolis.

“While she hasn’t ruled out some of the finalists in the first round, she decided to open it back up to see what other individuals are out there.”

New applicants have until Oct. 16 to apply, according to the posting.

AAPS first posted the position in July, after former Principal Michael White retired from the district to take a job in Illinois. Assistant Principal Kevin Hudson was appointed to serve as interim head principal.

The district fielded 41 applications in its first attempt to fill the seat. Margolis said this number could be considered “kind of low for a prominent comprehensive high school that’s highly regarded in the state.”

She said the timing — posting the position in July — could have contributed to the small applicant pool. Often July, which is the start of most school district’s fiscal years, is when administrators start new jobs with new districts.

An interview committee narrowed down the initial principal search to two candidates in August and subsequently submitted the names of the candidates to Green for consideration.

Michele Macke, a math teacher at the high school, spoke out about the hiring process at Wednesday’s school board meeting. She said the amount of time it’s taken to fill the position now has had “some pretty serious repercussions for Pioneer staff and students.”

With Hudson filling in as head principal, high school math teacher Robert Klemmer was moved into the assistant principal’s role. Macke said the math department hired a substitute teacher but struggled to find someone who could teach Klemmer’s calculus classes.

As a result, the department had to shuffle a number of students around on Sept. 28 to make sure they had an experienced calculus teacher. More than 300 students were impacted and received new math teachers just a few weeks into school, Macke said.

“It does seem like the (hiring) process is moving forward again … but I did feel like I needed to come to speak tonight on behalf of those 300 kids,” she said Wednesday. “Because of the adults’ failure to get things done in a timely fashion it hurt those kids, and that’s not right.”

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


Erich Jensen

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

While we continue this snail-paced badly managed search for a principal, we might as well get started on the superintendent replacement search! Why was the current superintendent hired at higher price from the previous one (Mr Roberts)?


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.

I can certainly understand the desire to hire the "right" person for this important job, but you're telling me that this job was posted in July (and the administration likely know of Michael White's intentions to leave much earlier than that) and they are still no closer to even narrowing down some of the applicants? Yet another situation mishandled. Also, I know the substitute teacher who was hired to teach the calculus class in place of Kevin Hudson. She has her degree in teaching and is fully qualified to effectively teach mathematics, including calculus. The problem was that she was hired for the job less than one week before the school year began; not exactly a generous amount of time to prepare for such a demanding position. So for parents of students in that calculus class, you can certainly voice your frustration about the administrators not adequately preparing for this situation, but please do not direct your criticism toward the teacher who is making the best of the situation.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

I feel for the mathematics situation (less so for the principal search). A very well-regarded math teacher, whom I had as a teacher in at least two other classes, left before my senior year. We received a replacement calculus teacher, but truthfully his style fell flat for many students. Without blaming the teacher (learning is a two-way street), as I look back I definitely came out of the class less well-prepared than I feel I might have otherwise been. Furthermore, the new teacher didn't know me and had no experience dealing with me over the years. I had to ask for his recommendation (among others) when applying to more than one school. Ultimately, I was admitted, but knowing that one of my primary recommendations came from a person who barely knew me was harrowing, to say the least. Good luck to the school in finding its principal.

Tony Livingston

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Thank you Ms. Macke for speaking up. Our daughter had the sub for calculus but now has been switched to a permanent teacher. But it was simply a shuffle. Not a solution. It is just different kids who now have the substitute math teacher indefinitely until this is resolved.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

They did this song and dance when Mr White from Tappan left for Allen Elementary. Leaving Ms Parks in charge. They did the same song and dance while they looked. We all knew she would get the job. She did. Kevin Hudson is in charge as interim. Same song and dance and we all know who will get the job in June. Mr Hudson. I really hate it when the BOE does this.

Jim Mulchay

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 3:06 p.m.

Reposting the position now seems to limit the choices to (1) a current AAPS employee; (2) a professional education not currently employed; (3) a professional educator currently employed but willing to leave their current position; (4) a professional educator currently employed that will take the position later, when it does not impact their current employer; (5) someone outside of the normal educational loop; It would seems like no local candidate was acceptable (at least so far) or the position would be filled by now; What is the impact of keeping the current "interim" principal at it for the rest of the school year and repost for selection AFTER the 2012/2013 school year is over?


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

Way to stick up Ms. Macke. There should be more teachers speaking up. The process is flawed as is the superintendent. How can anyone think that a repost 7 weeks into the school year is any better than July?

Dog Guy

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.

Is Dreiseitl available?


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

Can someone tell me where I can see the salaries of all AAPS staff and money spent on external (contractor) staff? Is this info public and relatively clear anywhere?


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

I like the principal from Roberto Clemente but I think he is too valuable there. Considering the other administrators green brought in (with middle of the night raises), I don't feel very confidant that this will be handled well. I think she is searching for just the right someone to whisper in her ear "I can fix the achievement/discipline gap.....I promi$e".

J. A. Pieper

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

The person from Scarlett did a great job there. He is applying all over fro superintendent jobs and doesn't make the cut. Not sure he has a great reputation at his current school, or at least that is what is heard out on the "street".


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

I believe he came from Scarlett. Tough nut this one is.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

Promote from within: Dr. Hudson is an excellent choice!


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

Hudson is WAY out of his league and WAY over his head. Again, just ask the staff. And make sure you ask the office personnel who have to cover his rear end continuously.


Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

Mr. Hudson was in charge this summer and provided no oversight when class schedule was done BY A COMPUTER, and was thus a disaster. A strong and caring leader is needed.

Tony Livingston

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

Hudson is not the choice of teachers and staff. He is favored by some but not by the majority by a long stretch. The committee chose someone but Dr. Green does not seem to want to hire that person.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

My money is on Mr Hudson. I like his policies and the way he keeps parents informed.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

a2grateful is a voice from within; many Pioneer staffers feel that he was well mentored by Mr. White and that he is a logical extension of the philosophy that Pioneer has thrived under for several years now. Perhaps the negatives are students and parents with personal gripes that shouldn't be given too much merit.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.



Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

SFK: "It's Mr. Hudson - not Dr. Hudson." Correction noted. Thank you. Amended statement follows: Promote from within: Mr. Hudson is an excellent choice!


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

I disagree that Mr. Hudson is an excellent choice. The students, teachers, and staff at Pioneer H.S. deserve better.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 12:16 p.m.

It's Mr. Hudson - not Dr. Hudson.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 12:09 p.m.



Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 11:36 a.m.

Word on the street is that Dr. Green is micromanaging the search, and that there was at least one outstanding internal candidate who didn't make the final cut because he had strong teacher support. Teacher moral at Pioneer is especially low this year. The Pioneer class schedule this year was a debacle because no one was overseeing the process. I know too well about the calculus problems Ms Macke talks about as my child was negatively impacted by it. Pioneer and AAPS is under a great deal of pressure due to budget cuts, so the last thing it needs is this kind of strain.


Mon, Oct 15, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

According to Balas "officia,l" Ms. Thompson, "the process is confidential and on-going." Why this PHS community is not outraged or at least concerned about this is beyond me.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

Does the street have a little background on the internal candidate who didn't make the final cut? Just curious.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

The school board and their team cannot do anything right. If they were in private business, they would have all been fired and replaced.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 11:03 a.m.

Can the names of the candidates on the original finalist list be released? There was a PTSO interview committee from Pioneer that made recommendations and picked a top candidate. Did Dr. Green hold up the process to try to recruit or hand pick another outsider person she knows to apply for the job and override what the committee recommended?


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 10:45 a.m.

Posting in July was the problem? reported on May 21st that he had resigned "late last week". So the superintendent caused her own issue. Guess she should have more widely advertised. This sends a message that the committee's recommendation was not worthwhile. Ballad has been slow to bring in subs this year at other schools including Skyline.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 10:46 a.m.



Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 10:37 a.m.

How about Dr. Schwamb from Forsythe?

West Side Mom

Sat, Oct 13, 2012 : 2 a.m.

As much I as I'd like to see her move along, that would be a disaster for Pioneer.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 3:01 p.m.

You are kidding aren't you?????

Basic Bob

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 10:05 a.m.

Can we get another public school "retiree" from two states away? Candidate must be female and willing to work for the top of the pay scale.


Fri, Oct 12, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

Ahem...African-American female.