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Posted on Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 5:56 a.m.

Superintendents honored with Courageous Leadership Award for merging school districts

By Danielle Arndt

Ypsilanti Superintendent Dedrick Martin and Willow Run Superintendent Laura Lisiscki were honored Wednesday before their peers for their work on behalf of their merging school districts.


Ypsilanti Superintendent Dedrick Martin, right, and Willow Run Superintendent Laura Lisiscki at a press conference in March 2011, during which the two school leaders announced they would pursue consolidation.

Danielle Arndt | file photo

The Michigan Association of School Administrators gave them a Courageous Leadership Award for their selflessness and courage in pushing forward with consolidating the two financially struggling districts.

Lisiscki said she and Martin were asked by MASA's executive director a couple weeks ago if they planned to attend the conference, which is Wednesday through Friday in Kalamazoo, because the MASA leadership would like to honor them.

Lisiscki was surprised by the gesture, she said.

"Honestly, I was just really humbled by it. To me personally, this is something we are doing because we know it is right for our children. So we just forged on into it, and didn't give it a second thought," Lisiscki said.

She and Martin were presented with a copy of late President John F. Kennedy's book, "Profiles in Courage."

Voters approved consolidating the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts in the November general election. The merger is expected to help the Ypsilanti community wipe the slate clean, get its schools out of debt and provide improved academic options for students.

Lisiscki and Martin said at the start of the process last April, they saw the merger as the only way to avoid crippling cuts and an emergency manager situation in their individual school systems.

The new district will be official on July 1.

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


Chase Ingersoll

Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

A real news organization would not report this press-release propaganda.


Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 3:43 a.m.

Congratulations are in order. Going into this they both knew that they may lose their jobs and yet they still pushed for what they both knew was best for our children. That's all I need to know. Nuff said.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 9:13 p.m.

Courage is not doing something out of dire financial necessity. It would be much more courageous to start consolidating a large number of the over 500 school districts in Michigan that add tremendous amounts of overhead costs to education in the state. This level of redundancy is extremely wasteful.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

We have to remember that they all belong to the mutual admiration society. No new ideas, ever! No new concepts, ever! No ability to address tough issues, ever! No fiscal responsibility, ever! Yet, they complement each other for doing what the voters wanted, but no results have been generated yet. We need to reserve compliments until we see how this new school system is led, how fiscal matters are resolved and most importantly, if our children receive the education they deserve and that we are paying dearly for.

Adam Betz

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

So this is the idea of courage in today's America?


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

Really? This award should go to the parents and teachers that have had to live with the bad decisions made prior to the "courageous merger".


Sat, Jan 26, 2013 : 3:38 a.m.

All I know is that something needed to be done for years and if not for these two we would still be sitting here watching both districts die a slow painful death.


Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 11:31 p.m.

But don't you worry about them. According to the WISD, they are both getting first dibs on the new superintendent job. If the new board likes them, they won't even interview other candidates. So, they will have wasted a good chunk of money and time and still ended up with one of the administrators who brought their school districts into failure and the need for consolidation.