Ypsilanti school board to vote on recommendation for next high school principal
Board members will be asked Monday to approve the appointment of Justin Moore, a principal at Champaign, Ill Unit 4 District’s Centennial High School. Moore would take the place of Jon Brown, the current principal who is being asked to resign because he is a contract employee.
Martin acknowledged the choice might be controversial since Moore was a part of his former district, but said Moore has a history of success as an administrator, former teacher and football coach.
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
“This is a young man who has done a phenomenal job in the places he has been, so I’m hoping that people would give him a chance,” Martin said. “I look at people with a track record of proven success and use that as a guiding indicator. Ultimately, my goal is to put the best teachers and administrators we can find in front of the kids.”
Moore, who worked with Martin for one year in Champaign Unit 4, was one of four candidates interviewed out of the nine resumes received. Martin said he was the only non-internal candidate.
Moore last held the principal’s position at Centennial High School, where Martin said academic performance improved. He said the school didn’t meet Annual Yearly Progress, but pointed to other academic improvements that were made, including in grades and state achievement tests.
Martin also praised Moore for his skills in developing relationships with students and bringing discipline to what he called a “tough” school in Champaign.
“Hopefully he can come in and build on a solid foundation that has been built by Mr. Brown,” Martin said.
Trustee Kira Berman said it isn’t uncommon for a superintendent to bring in someone he or she knows and trusts. But she said she's still doing her due diligence and doesn't have any comment on Moore before the meeting.
“I am still looking for more information, and I am very concerned,” she said.
Kelly Powers, the Ypsilanti Education Association president who was on the hiring committee, said she had some concerns about the process, but was ultimately happy with Moore’s selection.
Powers said she was alerted to the fact that she was on the committee the morning interviews started, so she was late for the first interview, which was Moore’s.
She said in the few questions she heard, he seemed personable and appeared to be the type of person who could work with students and staff.
The second round of interviews was scheduled on a day Powers was out of the district, and she said Martin didn't allow her to choose an alternate representative from the union leadership. Instead, she was asked to choose two teachers, who were not there for the first round of interviews.
“That’s not enough to go on,” Powers said. “I would have liked to have known more about (Moore). But the buck stops with the superintendent, so we’ll see how that works out.”
Powers added Martin never tried to tell anyone how to think or decide and let the interview process play out. She added she's been supportive of the administrative changes Martin has made thus far and isn't particularly concerned Moore is from Martin's former district.
"I don’t care who is our high school principal as long as they are effective with our students and effective with teachers," she said. "If they can do that, I don’t care who they are or where they came from."
The interview committee also included two community parents, director of human resources John Fulton, district spokeswoman Emma Jackson and West Middle School principal Monica Merritt.
Moore was unavailable for comment. Martin said a complete bio would be available at Monday’s meeting.
Martin said Moore would receive $99,000 annually based on the principal’s union pay schedule. He said Brown receives $108,000, although he does not receive benefits as a contract employee.
Martin has said contract employees like Brown retired but were hired back into the district to temporarily fill vacancies. Because of contract language, they are ineligible to apply for full-time positions.
Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. Reach the news desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2530.