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Posted on Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.

New school board for combined Ypsilanti-Willow Run district will be chosen Monday

By Danielle Arndt

Seven newly appointed leaders will make all of the big decisions for the consolidated Ypsilanti-Willow Run school district. And after Monday, those leaders will have names and faces.

The Washtenaw Intermediate School District’s Board of Education will have the tough task of choosing seven individuals from a pool of 18 to form the new school board of the joint Ypsilanti-Willow Run district, which voters approved in the Nov. 6 election.

The WISD board meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the Eastern Michigan University Student Center, 900 Oakwood St., in Ypsilanti.

At the meeting, the board will go through the selection process and then the new trustees will be named and possibly sworn in, said WISD communications specialist Emma Jackson.

The WISD Board of Education interviewed the 18 candidates Nov. 12 and 13. About 100 community members, teachers and staff attended the interviews over the course of the two days, said WISD Superintendent Scott Menzel.

The candidates for the new board include past school board members from both Ypsilanti and Willow Run, several parents and residents of both Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township.

Trustees David Bates, Ellen Champagne, Andy Fanta and Linda Snedacar-Horne from Ypsilanti Public Schools applied for a spot.

From the former Willow Run school board, the applicants are Don Garret, Jr., Greg Myers, Kristine Thomas and Mark Wilde.

D’Real Graham and Dan Raglin also are candidates for the consolidated board. They ran uncontested Nov. 6 for the open seats on the Ypsilanti Board of Education, but the merger passing voided the two districts' separate school boards.

Maria Sheler-Edwards, Scott Elliot, Celeste Hawkins, Greg Johnson, Robert Oliver, Venus Strong-Smith, Anthony VanDerworp and Althea Wilson are the remaining eight candidates.

The appointed board will set the course and make staffing and facility decisions for the new consolidated district, which will become operational effective July 1, as well as manage the existing Ypsilanti and Willow Run school systems until then.

The selected trustees will be sworn in to both the Ypsilanti school board and the Willow Run school board until the new district is official. After July 1, they will have to be re-sworn in to that district.

Choosing a name and a mascot for the new district also will be among the trustees' tasks.

Previous coverage: What's next? Merger puts Ypsilanti-Willow Run school districts in 'uncharted territory'

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



Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

It seems important to look at the very sad continuing situation regarding Ms. Hope-Jackson and Ms. Washington in Willow Run. It seems truly unbelievable that such unprofessional conduct that seriously damages the district and its students and families has been allowed to continue for two and a half more years--while attorney fees mount higher and higher in a district that cannot pay its bills. What does that show about the values, expertise, and leadership skills of those currently in key leadership positions in Willow Run? And an important follow-up question: Who believes that a new district will be able to do any better for students and families if it continues on with that same leadership? There are always misguided folks willing to game the system, or put themselves on the front page to the detriment of a district and its children and families. The important question would seem to be: Who has the expertise to handle such issues appropriately and effectively, so a district can focus on the very important business of educating its children?

Dan r OBryan

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 12:02 a.m.

appointed ,they need to be elected .neither ypsi or willow run board members should be allowed on the new board ,look at the mess the two district were in

Basic Bob

Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:03 a.m.

Current board members were elected by their respective districts. What makes you think voters would disapprove of them now?


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 3:02 a.m.

The law says they must be appointed right now, they will all stand for election (staggered terms) in November 2014.