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Posted on Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Teacher and principal positions posted for new Ypsilanti school district; teacher pay scale revealed

By Katrease Stafford

Teachers and principals interested in securing jobs within the Ypsilanti Community Schools district can begin applying friday, after the joint school board approved the selection process and timeline Thursday to fill the positions.

Although officials have yet to reveal how many jobs will be filled, Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel announced the pay scale for teachers within the new district.


The unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run school board. file photo

Menzel said the new district's teacher wages will range from $40,000 to $82,000.

"The board established terms and conditions on how to create the model," Menzel said. "We wanted to debunk the notion that all teachers are getting hired at step one."

According to district documents, teachers within the YPS school district currently recieve a range of salaries from $36,500 to $83,819.

Menzel said the district leaders wanted to create wages more in line with salaries across the county.

"We're trying to create something that's defensible and can attract top talent," Menzel said. "We're working on a similar structure for principals."

Naomi Norman, WISD Director of Achievement Initiatives, helped create the "aggressive" search timeline with the High Quality Teachers and Teaching Selection Committee.

Principals, teachers and other staff will be laid off and their contracts severed on June 30 when Ypsilanti and Willow Run dissolve.

Classroom, elective and special education teachers can begin applying for jobs Friday, March 1, as well as teacher consultants and principals.

"It's a very aggressive timeline," Norman said.

See the timeline below:


The timeline outlining the hiring and selection process of teachers and principals within the Ypsilanti Community Schools district has been approved.

Courtesy Naomi Norman

Applications for internal teacher applicants are due March 15 and internal principals must apply by March 6, Norman said.

After the internal applications are received, teacher selection teams — comprised of one administrator, two teachers and one parent — will conduct classroom visits and interviews March 18 through April 22.

"There’s a lot going on in that window and we will have four teams operating all day every day," Norman said."They will have a team visit them and then have a very short interview on their site."We want to be where they're most comfortable."

External applicants will not be considered until the beginning of May, Norman said.

"We won't consider them until we've made the decision on all of the internal candidates," Norman said.

Teams consisting of two administrators, one teacher and one parent will also be put in place for principal selections.

Norman said retired administrators and teachers, as well as faculty from neighboring universities will be included in the process. Each member will receive training to ensure consistency, Norman said.

"We’re very concerned that these four people on the team understand the gravity and have training and are consistent as they review the materials," Norman said. " In the end, we are not saying we want to pick the best "X-percent," we want to pick the people that demonstrate commitment. We're looking for people that are always wanting to learn and grow."

While conducting classroom visits and interviews, the following rubric will be used:


This rubric will be used in determining which teachers and principals will be hired.

Courtesy Naomi Norman

Karla Graessley, Estabrook Elementary School principal, is part of the committee that will helped create the rubric for the positions.

"I think it's really important to have high quality teachers in the program," Graessley said. "I’m very impressed with our committee. We have this very eclectic group that all bring a different facet."

Vice President Don Garrett expressed concern over how the committees will be split up to ensure that candidates from both Willow Run and Ypsilanti are given a fair chance.

"Not only do we want them balanced, we also want to make sure that people that are familiar with the buildings go to different buildings,"Graessley said. "We will make sure we take our team and mix them up so we can have fresh eyes."

Board President David Bates and Garrett inquired whether the two associate superintendents, Dedrick Martin and Laura Lisiscki, would be involved in the selection process.

"The board will end up casting the motion to hire the teachers," Bates said. "Part of it is the superintendents' responsibility that people are of the highest caliber... . I think it is important to be clear where the buck stops."

"We are part of the committe and we are going to be part of the process," Lisiscki said.

All teachers will receive an email Friday, notifying them that the positions are open and links have been posted on the unified district's website.

Terrance Green is serving as a parent member of the committee tasked with selecting the principals and teachers. Green lives in the Lincoln School District, but chose to come to enroll his two children in the Ypsilanti Public School District instead.

"We make the trip to come here every day, and the reason I chose (to participate on) this committee was because I wanted the people in front of my children to have strong values," Green said.

An employee assistance program will be put in place, Norman said, to help current employees who are not selected, to transition elsewhere. Norman said the employees will be given career counseling and social-emotional supports.

"They spend as much time around my children as I do," Green said. "If you can't perform 100 percent, then you shouldn’t be in front of my children. We are here to stay and we don’t want to be let down by anyone."

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

@Kay, you are right. All of the BS you named will happen in this process and many competent employees will be left without jobs because they dared to speak up against a superintendent or central administrator, they dared to do what was right for students, they spoke out at board meetings, on and on it will go. My prediction is that Dedrick Martin will find another job and be gone. There is no way he will be the Assoc. Supt. along side Ms. Lisiscki. Sharon Irvine will be gone before the year is over. She is employable and this has been good press for her. Jennifer Martin will not be hired back because her only hope was if Dedrick Martin became the Supt. and then we will be stuck with Ms. Lisiscki, the most incompetent of all the administration.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

@Seriously-Ypsi - thank you for you years of service. We will not be returning our children to the district. When we talk to our friends, family and colleagues in other districts and professions they are completely speechless over the turn of events. It brings us the perspective we need and ensures us we are not crazy for fleeing as fast as we can! People in healthy districts, healthy situations can't grasp what is going on in Ypsilanti.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

Ypsilanti/Willow staff members-----I am so sorry you are having to go through this mockery of a hiring process. It seems degrading that educated, talented, dedicated, passionate adults have to prove that they are worthy to keep the position they are currently in. Those chosen will be "favorites" , and those not chosen will be individuals who were not "popular." It is just like a children's game--the last one chosen is not very well liked---not because of anything they have done wrong, but because of some ridiculous reason or bias. It happens in every occupation---some of the unskilled and lazy employees are kept because they socialize with the boss, or know somebody who knows somebody, or keep quiet an let others fight for them. There will be age discrimination, sex discrimination, race discrimination throught this whole process. Nothing is "fair" or professional about this process.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:52 p.m.

in an effort to regain lost credibility and trust, the board needs to honor what transparency really means. It includes making sure information put out to the public is accurate, so the community does not get misinformation and make damaging and false judgements about the facts. I am a teacher at the top of the pay scale. Not even prior to our current wage cuts, which were tremendous, did I ever come anywhere even close to $83,819! I wish! I make 2/3 of that amount. If this is an attempt to justify three superintendent salaries by making it look like the staff gets a decent salary, then this is a low blow, and sets the stage for the kind of relationship this board is intent on having with its staff. I am a veteran teacher here, and I know of no teacher with that salary schedule. It saddens me that it wasn't enough for this board to put on their emmy winning performance of a mock superintendent search, but now to manipulate the minds of the public and make a further mockery of the economic conditions of the staff as they struggle amidst the deep salary cuts, is sickening. People with masters degrees are experiencing foreclosures, home-modifications, and financial uncertainty-and many of these people are still paying off student loans. Teaching has become a volunteer job, as most of us are paying to come to a position we dreamed of and worked our lives to become. The credibility of this proposed salary schedule is questionable, as are those who provided it.


Sun, Mar 10, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

Rushia, I'm also a teacher at the "top" of the pay scale. Transparency is certainly an issue here. It's misleading to say that teachers are earning 83,819. What they failed to disclose is that only teachers hired after June, 2010, are on the scale that goes to 83,819. Because that is a 24 step scale, no one is above step 3 on it, which means they would not reach the 83,819 for another 21 years. Teachers hired before June, 2010, are on the old 11 step pay scale which tops out at around 73,000 with a Masters. They also forget to mention the considerable pay cuts teachers have taken in recent years, AFTER that schedule came out. So, those of us who used to make around 73,000 now make about 64,000, AND that 83,819 has been reduced to around 73,000 (again, not an issue since that wouldn't have happened until the year 2033 anyway!). I completely agree that the public has been misled and I'm surprised that those salaries could be published in the article without printing the whole truth. The statement in the article, "...teachers in the district currently RECEIVE a range of salaries between 36,500 and 83,819 really is false, since not ONE teacher in YPS district has earned more than 74,054 per year- and that was with a Doctorate at Step 11 before the huge pay cuts.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 3:16 a.m.

Just a quick thought -- is it possible that the figures quoted include the salary + cost of benefits?


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 10:32 p.m.

As it was done to the privatization of the bus drivers and monitors, so shall it be done to the teachers and staff. Enjoy the pain. And there is nothing the unions can do about it.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

As a current YPSD staff member, who has recieved highly effective evaluations throughout my career, will not be applying and will risk not finding a job over working for the new rather same regime. Fear, lack of support and threats against the staff fir having an opinion or idea that differs from the administrators is too much. I pray that our children will get what is due to them. Hope for a bright future.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

Menzel said. "We wanted to debunk the notion that all teachers are getting hired at step one."" Funny how they didn't say that about administrative overhead.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Mar 3, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

@beardown: what I really want to know is when does Jerry Springer pop out from behind the curtain. I am certain he is involved in this.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:08 p.m.

He also repeated over and over that they are going to treat them as professionals, insinuating that they hadn't before.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

Really, letting people who don't pay taxes in the district sit on a committee? Unbelievable!!

T Wall

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

I retired in 2000 as a Willow Run Special Education Teacher. Since retiring I've founded the T. Wall Foundation where we help children with disabilities and their families in need. As part of my foundation's activities I have continued to work closely with all the Special Education teachers in Washtenaw County and, in particular, Willow Run and Ypsilanti. There are 3 excellent Special Education teachers in Ypsilanti and Willow Run that stand out due to their dedication and caring; Sue Littlefield, Barb Saritorius and Connie Shelton. They spend their own money on their students and give countless hours outside of school time to make sure their students are safe in their community. If you visit their classrooms the children are happy to learn because they know their teacher is a great person. I hope Scott Menzel and the Board use a fair way to choose their staff. The parents of the children they taught are the ones who should be allowed to choose the new staff. Sometimes Principals and Superintendents have their favorites and may not always pick the best teachers. I am 64 years old and in my lifetime I have never seen better loving, caring and thoughtful teachers then Sue Littlefield, Barb Saritorius and Connie Shelton.

Basic Bob

Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:44 a.m.

I agree with T Wall. There are some extraordinary individuals that willingly give extra, and they deserve to be recognized. I believe they do it because they are passionate about their work, not because they are trying to get a leg up on their peers. Those who do the minimum are far more likely to find themselves on the dead end street.

Patti Smith

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:02 p.m.

I applaud your efforts! Thanks! But I agree that spending your own money doesn't necessarily mean you are the best teacher. Likewise, I've heard many teachers say over and over and over how they spend "12 hours a day at school" and "all summer" working and they still aren't awesome. Just because you buy stuff and/or stay at school until 8pm doesn't mean you are the best choice. (Having said that, I don't know those folks and I'm sure they are great...I just don't think that can be the stick by which you measure)


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8 p.m.

Amen but I would add that there are many outstanding teachers in both districts that have chosen to stay and believe in our community that will not be given the opportunity due to the reasons you stated.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

I don't think spending their own money ought to be a factor in whether or not teachers are considered effective. That's a dead end street.

tom swift jr.

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

Here's my thought on this. If the administration of these two districts had been doing their jobs, there would be no need for this convoluted system of hiring. Wouldn't you expect that these two Superintendents (that the new board is so intent on maintaining due to the quality of the work they've done) would already have had in place an effective teacher evaluation system that has data as to the effectiveness of each staff member? Wait, you're saying that these administrators HAVEN'T been evaluating staff all along? That there is no data to draw from? If we were hiring real superintendents, wouldn't we be looking at how effective they had managed staff in the past, what evaluation system they had in place?


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

It must depend on the administrator, and whether they value competence or compliance. In her interview, Sharon Irvine noted that as a principal she had been documenting poor teacher performance and letting some teachers go long before recent developments that have made this "easier". Not that anyone interviewing her noticed. But that's what leadership is about. There is not a taste for that in this new environment - only a taste for "commitment" ... which can easily be translated into "keeps their mouth shut, for better or worse." If the two Super. Ass's are involved in the new hiring process, you can be 100% sure that my definition of "commitment" will be the core selection criteria... rubric be damned.

Basic Bob

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:18 p.m.

Objective evaluations are less popular with school employees than MEAP scores.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

Was laying off the current staff and starting over with new teachers the real goal of creating the new district?

Tim Hornton

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

Good article Katrease. I think this will hurt in the beginning but in the long run this is a good move for both schools. Change is hard for many people who can only see short term but as we live in a progressive and enlightened county with highly educated people I'm sure citizens will come around. Surely almost all of these teachers could have made a lot more money with better benefits if they went into the private sector with their degrees in english, social studies, earth science, ect--- but they chose to be teachers because of their love for children and community.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

Choosing to do what I love should not come with a financial penalty. I didn't get a discount on my education and training because I chose teaching, and my college professors didn't take a loss just because they were teaching teachers. I called my mortgage lender last week and asked them if I could make my house payment with compassion instead of currency. They said, "No". So I tried my auto lender. I asked if I could waive my car payment because" I love kids." Again, "No!" You must know something I don't Tim, cuz these people just won't let me pay my bills with passion. Go figure!


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

This is hilarious! Unless a considerable amount of staff aren't hired back, the consolidated district is going to fail. They're repeating the same mistakes that got them into this mess.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

Let's rephrase part of this and it still makes sense: "If a considerable amount of staff is hired back, the consolidated district is going to fail. They're repeating the same mistakes that got them into this mess." Q.E.D.

Krista Boyer

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

For the record, the union has NOTHING to do with what the teachers hired by Ypsilanti Community Schools will be paid, the benefits they will be offered, or anything else.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

You've just defined insanity.................which is how the government usually operates especially with your tax dollars. The school system is no longer controlled by the parents, it is controlled by the unions, the sooner you understand that the better. Just pay up and be quiet..........

Basic Bob

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

Especially since they can't change the students or parents.

Mark H

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

Giving the superintendents of the two old school district any role in deciding what teachers and principals to rehire or fire is a hugely mistaken policy choice. This ensures that the two failed superintendents have continuing power of retaliation over subordinates. It's a choice to push the new district toward a continuation of the practice of rewarding loyalty to Administrators and their perks over rewarding student-centered quality instruction.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

You're clearly misunderstanding the situation, Bob. Of course it is the board's role to recognize and "fix" incompetence. But in the case of Dedrick Martin, it just didn't happen. For several years, he had plenty of opportunity to make all the excuses and spin faux progress. He did, and it worked...and is still working. And his culture of intimidation and threatening downward while smiling and charming upward created a firewall in between the stakeholders and the decision-makers. These teachers and other stakeholders who are speaking up are not doing it out of dis-loyalty or impropriety like snitches ... their honest input was supposed to be a legitimate part of the process. A consultant was paid to collect it, and public meetings were held to articulate it. And that is why there should be careful attention paid to protect teachers and other employees for exercising their rights and giving the board and MLI exactly what they asked. Sharon Irvine not burning bridges? Surely you're kidding, right? What more could she do to burn bridges than to challenge her boss to his job in a public forum like that, and surface all the support for her that she learned existed from the information she got from MLI? Her interview was a subtle and artful exercise in pointing out all the flaws of the Martin regime - and it fell on deaf ears... except for his, you can be sure. She may be extremely employable, given her credentials and experience ... but there's no question she took the biggest risk of all. The vocal public support for her - all overwhelmingly justified, based on her interview and other context that you can certainly read here if not understand - is also the same reason why she now won't be a candidate in any district within WISD. Don't you understand that? MLI is largely responsible for that too - for not understanding the lay of the land. They owe her, big-time.

Basic Bob

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

@Elgin, The original poster was commenting on *loyalty* and *retribution*. Clearly they are concerned that their lack of loyalty might have consequences. I am not trying to be creepy. People hold grudges, that is a fact of life. You are free to express your view publicly, but to criticize your employer destroys those qualities you embrace: honesty, transparency, and trust. If competence is truly an issue (I dispute this), that is up to the board to determine, not the teachers union or disgruntled parents. Let's pretend for a minute these are valuable human beings with whom you have a vested interest in your joint success. If you treat them with the decency they deserve, you won't need to be concerned about retribution. Do you see Ms. Irvine burning bridges?


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

Basic Bob ... that is a completely creepy point of view. We're talking about trying to build a better district - not a concentration camp. Thank heavens your preferences for an authoritarian state aren't shared by many of your fellow citizens. IMO it is attitudes like yours that breed fear and perpetuate leadership incompetence and corruption. And IMO that philisophy or operating model needs to be identified and driven out of the school system (any system, for that matter). And replaced with honesty, transparency, trust, and competence.

Basic Bob

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

Retaliation? Any employee that chooses to publicly complain about one's supervisor or employer is taking a risk. Sure, there are protections for whistleblowers in the case of discrimination or criminal acts, but not for incompetence. Hopefully those who spoke out against the current administrations have protected themselves adequately by securing other employment or retirement planning.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

I do have high hopes for the committees because they seem to be on track with what the new district needs. However, I agree completely. The committees have a great process, trust it, and cut out the 2 Super. Ass's all together. If we have to keep Menzel make him actually work for his money!

tom swift jr.

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

"Menzel said. "We wanted to debunk the notion that all teachers are getting hired at step one."" I'm not seeing anything in the article that explains how the process of deciding what each returning teacher's pay scale will be. Will it be based on seniority, age, golf score, the whim of the selection committee?


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 12:13 a.m.

yep, the whim.


Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

I'm sure it will be whatever the union says it will be. Usually based on how long you've managed to stick around as a teacher, not how good you are................

Katrease Stafford

Fri, Mar 1, 2013 : 12:18 p.m.

Last night, Menzel was just making the initial announcement to let teachers know what the pay scale will be because there's been a lot of discussion and concern over possible pay cuts, etc. The specifics on how pay will be determined has not been revealed yet. However, it does appear that for internal candidates, some of it could be based on how well they demonstrate each of the "commitments" outlined in the rubric. The full rubric can be found in the link at the bottom of my article.