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Posted on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

3 Ypsilanti-Willow Run superintendent candidates revealed

By Danielle Arndt

Ypsilanti's Executive Director of Human Resources Sharon Irvine has thrown her hat into the ring for superintendent of the new Ypsilanti Community Schools district.


Sharon Irvine

From Twitter

Irvine, Ypsilanti Public Schools Superintendent Dedrick Martin and Willow Run Superintendent Laura Lisiscki will be interviewed by the joint Board of Education starting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14.

Each interview is expected to take 30 minutes to an hour and a half, said Michael Wilmot, president and chief executive officer of the Michigan Leadership Institute, the company secured to assist the board with the search process and screening of the candidates.

The meeting will take place at Ypsilanti High School, 2095 Packard Road.

Irvine said Thursday afternoon she felt compelled to apply for this position because of how much she loves the Ypsilanti community.

"We have an unprecedented opportunity before us to keep local control of our public schools. We have the public trust and public resources in hand for a fresh start. And future legislation and future decision-making in the state could be based on how well we do this," Irvine said. "... Because I love this community, I feel a sense of responsibility to do this right and want to give back to everyone who entrusted us with this fresh start."

She said Lisiscki and Martin knew that in creating a new district, the subject of the superintendent would be revisited and that there could be other candidates. While she said she couldn't speak for them, she believes they are open to the process and all it entails.

Irvine also recently applied for a superintendent's job with Tecumseh Public Schools. She was one of six semi-finalists but did not receive a second interview.

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



Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 6:07 p.m.

@ Comment Now: It is apparent you are a supporter of Mrs. Lisiscki. That is nice. You do, however, seem to be the only one. Sharon Irvine was able to make tough decisions with critical thought process, problem solving with the unions, acting with humility, care, and intelligence. She made many tough decisions during negotiations and still had the trust and respect of those that were, and remain, affected by her decision making. That is why she is the front runner and clearly the best and only choice.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 5:49 p.m.

Yes, both Lisiscki and Martin have had to make difficult decisions in their capacity as superintendent for their respective school districts. Irvine has had a "cozy" approach to her staff.... would she be able to make the tough decisions for all? Hmmmm.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

Did you just describe an HR job in the deficit and morale-stricken Ypsi district as "cozy"? Wow! HR does the layoffs & makes most personnel decisions. And according to the first-hand union president comment here, Irvin also handled those negotiations (not typically an HR job ... you usually have to pay big bucks to attorneys for that). I can tell you this - if Irvin can do all that and make those responsibilities appear cozy or comfortable in any way ... she is the right person for the job. Managing to have a union still respect her, after the concessions she forced them to take? Is that not impressive, and likely unprecedented? Clearly you're here to support your friend, but if you're going to say things that in fact support the other candidates perhaps you should do your friend a favor & refrain.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

How come Ann never reported on the grievance and arbitration?


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

I am a Willow Run resident. I heard about Ms. Lisiscki's interview. When asked what the hardest decision she has faced yet, she didn't bother to say she let reduced all para-educator hours to 19.5 hours per week so she wouldn't have to pay them benefits. She put many families in a situation to be homeless, without medical insurance and hungry! The para educators are the staff that actually live in the district. Apparently she didn't think that was a difficult decision. They asked her how she would build a team. The only thing she could comment on was the 4 people who work with her in central office. That's because she doesn't have a team. She didn't want to tell that she recently filed a grievance against her own principal team because they spoke their minds about something they didn't like. That went all the way to arbitration and the principals won. Two of the current board members allowed it all. She can't lead willow Run so I know she can't lead the new district.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 6:08 p.m.

Why don't you elaborate? What was the problem?


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 12:52 a.m.

Sharon is the best choice, hands down. The prior comment about the increased morale when she is present is a fact. She is consistently more visible in our buildings than any superintendent in the last several years. She is well grounded in the needs of this district and the community. She has worked as a prior administrator at Perry, creating programs and building community. She was respected then, as she is now. Her position as HR Director has given her a front seat view of the struggles and obstacles facing this district, but has chosen to look at its strengths and take the helm of rebuilding it into the phenomenal learning environment we know it can be. Her knowledge of the law allowed contract negotiations to move forward with fiscal and educational responsibility, while bringing compassion and empathy to the table in the grim concessions the staff was forced to take. She is trusted...and she reclaims that trust over and over by making decisions in the best interest of our district, community and staff, for better, or worse; but, always with dignity, and honesty. If this board hands Sharon Irvine over to another district, they deserve the continued decline that is certain. But our children deserve better. It's not rocket science....more of what doesn't work-doesn't work!


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 6:22 a.m.

@beardown I question your meaningful participation in the community if you haven't sincerely done your research on Irvine. You will find that she is exceptional, internal and external, with the surprising commitment to the challenges in this community. Perhaps some experience in your own community will help guide your opinion.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:29 a.m.

Is the best of the worst really the best choice?


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 12:23 a.m.

The only prayer the new district has is a leader like Irvine.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 6:16 a.m.

@beardown By all means, don't stay closeted. If you want the job, just say so. I am sure that Ann would enjoy adding you to the list of possible candidates.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:28 a.m.

You know, there are other candidates in the external search that the new school district paid for. Actually, paid a lot for. They don't need prayers...they need experience.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 12:21 a.m.

I believe that Martin will get Supt position and Lisiscki will be Assistant Supt, with large salaries, as pay back for simply doing what the Governor, MDE, and WISD made them do. It isn't as if they were trailblazers. They were avoiding a take over and cleaning up the garbage on the east side of Rick Snyder's County. Why aren't people blogging? Why didn't they attend the meeting in larger numbers? Why aren't they insisting the board do the intelligent thing and hire Irvine? Because nobody cares anymore. They will just send their kids somewhere else. Lincoln, Milan, Belleville and charters stand to win big!!


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

@MyCommentNow ... the internet can be used to do research, in addition to championing your friend, or loyally attempting to belittle other people on behalf of your friend. Here's the answer to your question about Tecumseh. Keep in mind that they had a long list, and Irvine was the only finalist that wasn't either a current superintendent or, like herself in the case of Ypsi, a local & qualified current administrator with significant support. Note Tecumseh trustees indicated they were split between two candidates, but one made it clear that he would not be moving into the district if selected, and was disqualified. Maybe Irvin told Tecumseh she might not move there? Apparently, that is a deal-breaker for that district. @ "beardown" ... See this quote from the Tecumseh board: "We've learned from the MASB that a new superintendent can take up to two years to learn the district,"?Oren said. "The advantage she has is she already lives here. She has children in the district and is invested in the community. I thought the questions we asked were very specific. I think Kelly did the best job of answering the questions and gave the best examples." Sounds like he's describing Irvin, for the Ypsi Community job.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

Oh, I think Irvine's political machine will prevail.... and if so, I do hope that she's as effective as her minions proclaim. I very much doubt that Martin will get the superintendent position. I definitely think Lisiscki is the best choice for the new district. I know it's unusual for a leader to be humble and not toot her own horn.... remember the story of the turtle and the hare? As for "large salaries".....? How come Irvine failed to get that Tecumseh superintendent position? Why would she interview for that if she's so much in love with our Ypsilanti community that she want to stay here?


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 1:54 a.m.

Well, they did get courage awards for being willing to put their jobs on the line (wink, wink..don't worry, we'll keep our jobs. It will be those teachers that I don't like that will lose theirs. And if not, we'll get a few hundred thousand as a pay out)


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

@MyCommentNow: Ms. Lisiscki seemed very nice, and the teachers that were at the meeting to support her had all been her teaching friends at Willow Run so that's nice that they showed. But, we don't need a friend. We need a competent lnstructional & Fiscal leader. Unfortunately, she didn't give an intelligent educational or academic or fiscal response all night. She could barely get a sentence out. The only thing she could even refer to is the "pillars". Her only reference, all night. My hope is that the new board doesn't let "nice" become the reason to hire. We must, if we are going to survive and be a viable district, appoint Ms. Irvine or look elsewhere. Ms. Irvine is the only qualified candidate at this point and that was glaringly obvious to the audience last night. Let's hope it was obvious to the board! My husband and I even heard two Willow Run teachers chatting in the lobby after Ms. Lisiscki's interview, saying how embarrassed they were for her.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 12:03 a.m.

Well, that's closer to what I heard - but didn't want to be that harsh with a second hand account. One other very important consideration (and one I thought the new board might ask as an interview question), is "how would the new superintendent construct their new team?". The rumor prior to opening the search, was that Mr. Martin would get the job and retain Ms. Lisiscki in some important administrative role. Martin already has an Asst. Superintendent in Ypsi, according to the Ypsi schools site. It would be interesting to hear what Mr. Martin intended to do with that role & others he feels are needed. Are these roles staffed and paid for at the discretion of the Superintendent? If so, the candidate's vision for how they would build their team is very important. These roles are not cheap, and can often be used to mask gaps in competence and performance for a leader.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 10:35 p.m.

Ms. Lisiscki is the sole candidate with the educational strength and experience to effectively lead this monumental endeavor of creating a new school district. Ms. Lisiscki is not glib and all smiles, as is Ms. Irvine, nor is she tentative, as was Mr. Martin last evening. Ms. Lisiscki spoke directly and coherently about what is actually needed for the new district to serve every student, not just platitudes or vacuous proclamations such as "balance the budget". Yes, Ms. Irvine is the Ypsilanti teachers' union choice.... hmmmm. We need a person with proven academic LEADERSHIP. This means Laura Lisiscki.

Just me 43

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

MyCommentNow: Were we in the same room? Ms. Irvine wasn't glib and all smiles. She was professional and composed. She was clear in her responses. Ms. Lisisicki gives the perception of a dedicated and passionate educator. But, she had trouble answering the questions. She appeared unprepared and it's never a good sign when the person being interviewed has to have the questions repeated so frequently or have the persons asking the questions slow down their rate of speech. It made me question her ability to communicate effectively and think on her feet.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:26 a.m.

If they chose an internal candidate, there will be ill will from one of the sides that didn't get there person picked that might be irreparable. Just open it up to external candidates.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

Strange. The story as I heard was: First interview: Irvine -> Direct & coherent. Went into a great amount of detail, and described many of the things she believes are critical for the new district. Appeared to have missed one or two sub-questions while going into detail in other areas (the board seemed satisfied). Talked for nearly her entire allotment of 90 minutes and performed well across all areas. Appeared a bit nervous talking about herself at first, and appeared to also surprise some of the board with some of her background, experience and approach to accountability. Did a pretty good job of balancing education strategy/thought leadership with the need for "hands-on" in the district & community. 2nd: Lisisicki -> Uncomfortably (almost "painfully") Tentative. Forced the board to slowly repeat every question , and then waited an unusual amount of time before answering. Answers were good, but not necessarily remarkable. Described good experience in operating the district and "making do" with budget limitations. Even though emphasized the importance of quality education and using data (used the term "data a lot), didn't see especially knowledgeable or concerned with emerging educational practices. World view appeared very tactical and "small time" in scope (this might be due to lack of certain experience in WR). Spoke for approx. 60 min. Actual speaking time was much less, due to the uncomfortably deliberate approach. 3rd. Martin -> Glib and smiles (but superficial - apparently repeated the word "strategic" to the point of absurdity). Interview seemed more like a performance review. Took ownership of poor communications and morale in the district, but used a poor excuse ("I've been too busy") that would seem to disqualify him right there, if he can't handle his job. Exceeded his time allotment, trying to rationalize and distance himself from his own performanc

Basic Bob

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

If Dr. Irvine is selected, I hope the union membership continues to work as hard to make her look good as they do now.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 1:47 a.m.

If you think that it is the same old song by a union supporting her, I want to remind everyone that she took a 12.3% on-schedule wage concession, a $13,000 hard cap on all benefits, and 1.2 million in contract language. And the union is endorsing her. That is NOT the same song.

Tom Todd

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

some old song - cue the violin.

Krista Boyer

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 9:06 p.m.

Elgin, As the current union president I can tell you that Ms. Irvine is an inspirational leader. She leads by example. She is a dedicated problem solver and creative thinker. She is a team player who is committed to the children in Ypsilanti, and is willing to put in the hard work required to get the new district where it needs to be. She is articulate, passionate, educated, well spoken, and above all fair. She has expertise as a teacher, a principal, and an administrator. Her leadership style inspires others, and she is not afraid to make difficult decisions. If the board chooses either of the other candidates above her, it will be a tragedy. Hope that answers your question! =)


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 7:50 p.m.

Someone said the YEA supports her. Why do they like her so much?


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

As a parent in the YPS district and a teacher in Wayne County, I felt it absolutely necessary to attend last night's interviews. I was disappointed that more parents did not attend. Last night confirmed my decision to emphatically insist that this new board make the decision to either 1. Hire Ms. Sharon Irvine as the new Superintendent of Ypsilanti Community Schools OR 2. Look for an external candidate. There was no comparison. Mr. Martin simply doesn't have the trust and respect of the Ypsilanti Schools community, although he talks a good game. Teachers from the district were signing and commenting in the audience when he answered questions. He just doesn't live up to what he says. Poor Ms. Lisisicki isn't even on the same page. She answered nothing specific. She just simply isn't qualified to take on a consolidation of two communities, two district, two staffs, two student bodies. She is a great fan of Willow Run Schools but could not lead this new endeavor. The board will lose all credibility if she was chosen. The clear choice is Ms. Irvine. Why wouldn't we want someone who 1. Lives in Ypsilanti 2. Sends her son to Ypsilanti Schools 3. Has worked at every level in K-12 public schools 4. Has a law degree 5. MOST IMPORTANTLY - was endorsed last night by the Ypsilanti Public School Unions! The very people she has to negotiate with - that speaks volumes! She was the only candidate that received a standing ovation from the crowd. Her answers were intelligent, real, thoughtful, strategic and critical. Some may say this board has a tough decision. I say they only have one choice!


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

beardown ... you are like a broken record on this - please answer the question people are asking you ... "who are you recommending?" Who is this experienced district turn-around superintendent that you are referring to? Who, exactly, is it that has that experience - who has turned around a district the size of Ypsi (of even a slightly smaller one) ... and then now wants to relocate TO Ypsilanti or Willow Run MI and start over & try it again? For the money the district is willing and able to pay? And how is it possibly the best answer to lose both Lisiscki (who would surely stay, if asked) AND Irvin (who will surely leave, if she doesn't get the job) in addition to getting rid of Martin? You're asking and wishing for Santa Clause to come down the chimney and simply make a big problem go away with no pain, while ignoring any grounds for optimism. You need to open your eyes, and manage your expectations. Highly qualified and experienced people move UP in the world - not down. The ONLY people who would take this challenge are: a.) Experienced superintendents from much smaller or complex districts who are trying to "move up" on their career path b.) Qualified individuals who are taking this level job for the first time (what the community mistakenly thought/hoped they had in Martin - which is why the "external" push is misguided) c.) One of the two existing Superintendents d.) Someone who is in it for the money, and could easily just coast along doing nothing (what the community GOT from Martin). Add the impact of losing one or two effective and valuable people. Add the importance of local presence, experience and support ... and you're left with a mighty slim list. Any reasonable person would admit that. MLI knows it. Everyone seems to recognize it but you. End of story.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:24 a.m.

This entire process, as a person who has a child who might enter the district and who has been to most of the meetings, has been depressing. The apathy of the community towards this process is appalling. I've been to meetings where the only thing people want to debate are mascot and school names, failing to care one iota about the educational future of the new district. It explains a lot of the reasons why the two districts have failed and why the new one is most likely doomed too unless they get someone who knows what they are doing. And no, they don't have only one choice. I am sure there are dozens from outside of the district who have applied and are far more qualified than a first time superintendent. I have no ill will towards Ms. Irvine and I hope she does well at Tecumseh (if she is hired), but the new district needs someone who has a track a superintendent.

sad day

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

Sharon Irvine gets my vote.......Not only does she have all the qualifications, (plus more) the morale of staff and students increases with her presence. She is not a pass the buck administrator, or does not play dumb like Dedrick Martin. Sharon Irvine is an asset to this community and if she does not get the position, I hope she moves on to a district that will appreciate her.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

Ms. Irvin is already interviewing with other districts - so it is very safe to assume that moving on into a Superintendent role somewhere is her goal. A person doesn't slog their way through law school to be an HR Director - she's obviously just gaining the experience she needs to differentiate herself for Superintendent positions. Is there any question about that? Isn't running against her boss for the Superintendent job a clear sign that it is "her or him" in the district? haha But seriously... the board surely understands that conundrum. They aren't deciding which of three employees deserves the job, and believing the other two stay. They're deciding who they want to keep and who they want to leave. There is no way Martin or Irvin stay without getting the job (I'll assume Lisiscki would stay). So which of the two do they want to keep? I'll wager it is the more credentialed and supported one, who can probably also save them $millions in legal fees and contract problems.

Thomas Jones

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

Having heard Dedrick speak on a number of occasions and talking with him, he's more than willing and able to handle this task! My vote is for Mr. Dedrick Martin. Truly a great person and a professional that can get the new district headed in the right direction!!! Good Luck DM


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

DM does have a knack for convincing everyone except the people he has actually led that he is a great leader.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

I have no doubt that Mr. Martin is willing and able to continue to be paid his handsome salary. What is shocking to me, is that he has the audacity to sit in front of the board (and the community) and claim that he is somehow qualified and able to build and run the new district, when after 3 years on the job what he's actually accomplished is "de-construct" (e.g. look at the state of the HS and enrollment overall) and ruin (look at the morale of the people who work for & with him, and the community re: his district). I've heard Mr. Martin speak before. Nice guy? Fine - maybe. But what some might construe as professionalism or broad experience, I recognize as superficiality and attempt to cover up that superficiality by selling jargon and buzzwords. That might be OK, in some circumstances. But If a leader is going to be THAT superficial, he had better possess highly charismatic qualities, be beloved by his team and community (for authentic reasons), surround himself with highly competent and empowered leaders, and be a great organizer and communicator (that means WITH people - not a smooth talker, talking AT people)... that's what's missing from Mr. Martin. He is neither deeply competent, nor a good leader. MLI is ultimately a search and consulting firm. They are paid to provide a service (recommendations and assistance) - but they will not stomp into the school board meeting and say, "listen, board - you have a imposter and incompetent leading your district, and cannot allow that to continue". They simply can't do that. What they CAN do is to convince the board to survey and listen to all the constituencies (which they did). And then those constituencies are empowered to speak about what they think, experience & need (and they have). That is why the search has been opened up, and still may be opened up further (to external). MLI is doing their job. Which, in a nutshell, is "facilitate the removal of Dedrick Martin.&qu


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

So we bypass the implosion of the school district under his watch, the mass exodus of students, failed principals, and the other issues because the guy is an amiable when asked about the job he wants? If he is selected, the school district is doomed.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 10:50 a.m.

We need a fresh start. Sharon Irvine is hands down the best choice.

Just me 43

Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Thank you YpsiTeacher. I would love to know who these school reform professionals with proven success are, too!


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

@YpsiTeacher: I would argue Scot Graden didn't "reform" Saline Area Schools, nor did Laura Lisiscki "reform" Willow Run. Saline was never in the shape Ypsi and WR are and WR is still in bad shape!! Jeremy Hughes - I'd take him any day!


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 6:12 a.m.

@beardown A reality check. Perhaps you haven't done your research. Does anyone have a record in reforming failed school districts? Michelle Rhee perhaps? She believed that the problem with Washington D.C. schools was the teachers. She fired most of the teachers. That didn't change anything. Anyone else? MDE has sent its best to Detroit to reform that district. Strange. Nothing has changed. Please provide the name of an "expert" who has reformed a district. Can't provide any names? Not surprised. Actually district reform has only really happened internally when leadership is transferred to a community citizen who rallies fellow community members to make a difference in their schools. Laura Lisiscki did that for Willow Run. Scott Graden for Saline. One of their own said "enough", took the reigns, and began a path to renewal. Only an insider actually knows the community well enough to accurately match strategy with the problem at hand. Even if Laura isn't a great speaker, she knew what it took to heal her community. Ypsilanti has yet to accept that outsiders can't solve their district's problems. They hired Dedrick an external "school reform artist" who made changes in Urbana-Champagne and in Texas. In 2009, the district got a head start on your advice: find an external candidate who has experiences in school reform. Well, his school reform plan led us straight to a deficit twice its size, reduced enrollment without meaningful change in academics. Great advice. Short of the intervention of Jeremy Hughes, the prior state superintendent who brought stability (not reform) to Plymouth-Canton (and if you find out that he is interested LET US KNOW), I am going to offer advice: follow the evidence of reform. Change the school system from a well-qualified individual who knows the community well enough to make change quickly and meaningfully. And who has the heart to stay at the problem for a significant period of ti


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:18 a.m.

43, has she run a school district? Not parts of a district, the whole thing? Has she managed the HR person (her old job) for the district? Does she have a proven track record of reforming failed school districts? Does she hace a track record of building school districts? If the answer is yes, then hire her ASAP. But since it is no, then we need to see the external candidates.

Just me 43

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

Sharon Irvine is a fresh start. She won't be learning on the job, she knows the job. She has experience as a leader. She's been a principal, a teacher, and she is currently in an administrative role in the Central Office which has given her a unique perspective on running a school district. She has the educational background and she inspires the people who work for her and with her. If you had attended the interview sessions last evening, you would have seen the enormous support she has from staff within the current YPSD, parents, and community members. She got a standing ovation after her interview was completed. The Board members listened to her with rapt attention. If we don't hire her now, it will be a grave mistake and we will deserve to continue just as we always have with underachieving students, negative stereotypes, and failure. This is a critical time. We need someone who is and has been committed to our community and understand its needs. Someone from the outside does not have this understanding and will have to put forth a great deal of effort to gain the trust of the staff and parents. That trust already exists with Ms. Irvine. I am doubtful that any outside candidate can beat her qualifications, knowledge of the educational system, and will be trusted to the extent that she is.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

We do need a fresh start. And that would be someone who isn't in the district now and who has had success in the past in other districts. This is too important of a time for someone to learn on the job. The person hired needs to have a proven track record of success and none of the three internal candidates possess that. Irvine seems great and highly qualified, but not for this district. After she gets some experience in Tecumseh (if she gets that gig) then maybe bring her back when the newly hired SI retires or moves on.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 5:40 a.m.

As a parent, I was glad that I decided to attend the board meeting this evening. Ms. Irvine did an excellent job in regards to her interview. She was articulate, concise, and answered the interview questions with finesse. She clearly was and is, the better choice out of the 3 internal candidates. I felt embarrassed for Ms. Lisiscki, who rambled on about nothing specific. I was confused by her answers, or lack of. Mr. Martin was slightly better with his responses, but the teachers in our district are not supporting him. I hope the board realizes that they only have one shot at turning these struggling districts into a successful, high achieving school district! Wake up people! We need someone at the helm that can LEAD!


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 4:13 a.m.

Does candidate Irvine have the state required degree in Educational Leadership?


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 5:44 p.m.

According to her Twitter feed, the answer is "yes" to the Ed. Leadership degree, in addition to the JD. Honestly, folks - we're already on the internet. Just look. Sharon Irvine @HRPrincipalSI Executive Director of Human Resources for Ypsilanti Public Schools. J.D., Ed.S. Ypsilanti, Michigan


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

43, others qualifications aside, MI school administrators are required to have specific certification. However, it seems unlikely, PWG, that she would be considered for the position without the cert.

Just me 43

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 4:56 a.m.

Ms. Irvine has experience as a teacher, as a principal and she is a lawyer. Her educational background and experience are not an issue. She is very qualified to be in a superintendent position.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

Sharon Irvine would be a great superintendent for the district!


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 10:16 p.m.

Thorough background checks on any and all candidates. Don't tell me where they worked....tell me HOW they worked. What did their evaluations looks like? What did they accomplish as a principal that matches the goals for the new super? Anyone considered for this job should have a strong proven record as a principal in a district similar in size.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 4:16 a.m.

"Irvine has had exceptional success as a Ypsilanti and in Northville. Talk to any teacher, student, or parent who got a chance to experience her leadership." As a principal. So when they hire principals, they need to hire her ASAP. But for a superintendent, they need someone with a track record of success running a school district. Not one school. This is not the time for anyone to learn on the job.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 2:02 a.m.

@pinewoodsguy Irvine has had exceptional success as a Ypsilanti and in Northville. Talk to any teacher, student, or parent who got a chance to experience her leadership.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

Agreed. Hopefully the interview process revealed not just what buzzwords the candidates have memorized - but some detailed anecdotes about their experience, accomplishments and working style. I believe of all 3 internal candidates, Mr. Martin has the least experience as a principle. Too bad the public can't see their detailed resumes. Irvin might just look young (appears to be still in her '30s) ... and working backwards using the information from articles it appears that Ms. Irvin must have been a principle at Perry in her mid-20's! 2 years as HR director at Ypsi, preceded by 6 years at Northville, preceded by several years at Perry. That's non-trivial, and a ton of experience. I can't find much resume or timeline info on Martin. He started teaching in '96, was an asst principle and then principle for some time before moving to Illinois, where it looks like he was more into administration & curriculum for several years (not a principle) before coming to Ypsi in '09. Assuming it took 3-4 yeas before becoming a principle, he could have 4-5 years of principle experience at the most.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 4:20 a.m.

Unless the candidate has Classroom Teaching Experience and several years as a Principal, he/she does Not have Clue Number One as to how to administer a School District! Paper-Pushers are Not Qualified to administer a School District! Come On Ypsilanti Area School Politicians; quit the Favoritism Hirings and Get It Right! Our children deserve Nothing Less! Politics and Personal Friendships should have Nothing (that's "No-Thing") to do with your Duty to provide Education to our Children!


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 11:23 p.m.

Exactly. With the past failures of both districts, they need someone with a track record of success.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 9:21 p.m.

In my opinion, I believe that these candidates are not necessarily the best candidates. Merging two districts (which needs much improvement) requires a highly qualified individual who has put schools on the right path and/or one who has spent much time and has done personal research on school achievement. Perhaps putting together a search team to search outside of the two districts would be a good idea to find a stellar candidate. The bottom line is that the newly formed district is moving too fast.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 2:25 a.m.

There is an embedded assumption in this comment: Ypsilanti could not possibly produce an internal candidate capable of major reform. This is where you are mistaken. There are actually highly educated, highly capable people in Ypsilanti. The district has rarely chosen to hire any for high levels of administration, unfortunately. Or maybe highly educated, highly competent people are smart enough to choose a place other than Ypsilanti to work. If you find high competence and a willingness to serve in the same package. Take it. Don't ask questions.

Just me 43

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 5 a.m.

There is a search team. Like many employers, the School Board is considering the internal candidates first and if they are not acceptable, they will begin interviewing external candidates.