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Posted on Wed, May 5, 2010 : 10:30 a.m.

Ypsilanti schools to propose new hire for assistant superintendent position

By Tom Perkins

Ypsilanti school district administrators will recommend a candidate at the next school board meeting to fill the vacant assistant superintendent of educational quality position.

A vote on hiring Jennifer Martin, the current principal of Oak Park Preparatory Academy, was on the agenda at the April 26 board meeting, but was removed during agenda adjustments.

Several board members expressed concerns over her salary, the process by which she was selected and whether the district needs to hire an assistant superintendent. Administrators reviewed the selection with the board’s human resources committee Tuesday morning, and officials said they're confident the issues have been addressed.

John Fulton, executive director of human resources, said the district is eager to fill the position and hoped to approve the hire April 26. But several board members raised concerns, and the vote was delayed.

“We probably shouldn’t have put it on the agenda,” Fulton said.

After the last board meeting, trustees Sarah Devaney and Kira Berman said they had misgivings about Martin’s proposed salary at a time when employees were being laid off.

Martin’s proposed salary before the April 26 meeting was $115,000. Richard Weigel, who previously held the post, received $108,000 before being hired for the superintendent's post in Niles in February.

At a special board meeting in March, Trustee Andy Fanta questioned why the district was filling the position at an assistant superintendent’s level. He said Weigel was promoted from an executive director position to the assistant superintendent’s position so he would be more marketable as a superintendent.

Weigel didn't receive a pay raise to go with the promotion. District officials previously said the central office is undergoing changes, and the position is one they would like to keep.

Devaney and Berman also questioned why the district hadn't consulted the board’s human resources committee during the interview process. Devaney said she also would have liked to have the HR committee - made up of Trustee Floyd Brumfield, Board President David Bates and Vice-President Linda Horne - involved in the interview process for incoming Ypsilanti High Principal Justin Moore.

“I can’t imagine why that committee couldn’t review those decisions,” Devaney said.
“I think we need to better follow the process we set up.”

Devaney added she believes the committee reviewing the decision beforehand would have provided board members with more information, and perhaps prevented some the occasionally heated debate that occurred in public during the April 26 board meeting.

Fulton said no HR committee meeting was scheduled before the last board meeting, so the resolution to hire Martin was placed on the agenda. He said once concerns were voiced, administrators decided to postpone the vote.

“Some of the board members do have an issue with the salary in light of the fact that we’re laying people off, and I don’t blame them,” Fulton said.

The district has continued to negotiate with Martin on her salary, but Fulton declined to say whether she had agreed to a figure lower than $115,000.

Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Fri, May 7, 2010 : 6:40 p.m.

Gee, she's not from the superintendent's old district, but does have the same last name. $115,000 for an assistant superintendent, lets be real, the district just laid off 19 teachers.


Thu, May 6, 2010 : 6:29 a.m.

What's the point in hiring someone to improve educational quality when there will also be a substantial increase in the number of students in each classroom?

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, May 5, 2010 : 8:43 p.m.

@ironyinthesky2, what the heck is wrong w/"nursing off the coffers"? i could have been more graphic, but didn't. if there's a problem w/that, come on. as for most being worth their wages, for what? what do they do? tell me, i'd like to know.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 7:19 p.m.

You get what you pay for. It's a huge job. Mr. Fanta's comments that Mr. Weigel was given the Asst. Superintendent job title so "he would be more marketable" is ridiculous. Mr. Weigel earned the title and was underpaid. It's beginning to look like the new job he got should have been the Ypsi superintendent. Oh well, better young and inexperienced than keeping people around so they won't retire -? dading - I'm trying to picture "nursing off the district coffers". I think this is a family site, so I'll move on... At any rate, it seems to me that most are worth their wages, but I could be wrong.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 7:17 p.m.

Actually, concerned citizen, Weigel improved our curriculum and teaching methods a lot. He started with the elementary schools and was working his way up through the system. And he got teachers and principals evaluated, which hadn't been happening before he arrived - just give tenure to anyone, whether they can teach or not, was the previous method. Weigel also had connections at the state and regional levels that helped us. He got the Early College Alliance started and the program that has U-M College of Engineering students mentoring YHS students. There have been a LOT of positive changes under Richard Weigel. That he couldn't finish what he had started is the fault of a myopic and racially divided board. Still, that begs the question: why would they pay someone who has a mere five (5!) years experience more than they paid Weigel, who had 17 years experience when he came here? Jennifer Martin (hmm - wonder if she's related to Superintendent Dedrick Martin) was an assistant principal at Detroit Technology High School from 2005 to 2007. Then, she moved to Oak Park Preparatory Academy as principal. That is a mighty slim resume for the price. Does it seem like responsible money-management to lay off 19 teachers and end contracts with at least six veteran administrators so that we can turn around and pay exorbitant salaries to younger administrators who are inexperienced? In this case, I don't think we're going to get what we pay for. And who, really, pays the price for these bad decisions? The kids.

concerned citizen

Wed, May 5, 2010 : 3:28 p.m.

Exactly how did Weigel improve our curriculum? The high school's numbers have gone down over the tenure of Weigel -- not up! The pay it too low to have to come in and deal with such a hostile environment.


Wed, May 5, 2010 : 10:35 a.m.

They're proposing to opay her WHAT? You have to be joking. Her resume is mighty slim and, when compared to Weigel's, not even in the same ballpark as his. Yet, they plan on paying her MORE? How is this going to be justified when we're laying off 19 teachers? This is absurd!

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, May 5, 2010 : 10:31 a.m.

assistant superintendant, executive director of human resources, executive directors (period), are all of these positions necessary? i know some of the names that hold these positions. they were high on the seniority list when i was in h.s. twenty years ago. are these positions that are created so they don't retire? come on and do the right thing for the school system. move on to retirement and enjoy it. let these younger teachers move up and keep their jobs instead of seeing a pink slip. they are the future of the district, not these retirement eligible administrators that keep nursing off the district coffers. -dading