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Posted on Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

Ypsilanti-Willow Run board to hear superintendent recommendation at special meeting Monday

By Danielle Arndt

The Ypsilanti-Willow Run joint school board will meet Monday to hear a recommendation from the ad hoc committee spearheading the superintendent search.

Board Vice President Don Garrett, who serves on the committee, did not offer any details about what the recommendation would be — whether it would be a recommendation to hire one or more candidates to fill the superintendent role or a recommendation to adopt a particular leadership structure.

He said the committee would "lay out" what it thinks at the special meeting, which will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Willow Run Community Schools high school auditorium, 235 Spencer Lane.

At this week's Board of Education meeting, the board deliberated on the strengths of all three candidates, Ypsilanti Human Resources Executive Director Sharon Irvine, Willow Run Superintendent Laura Lisiscki and Ypsilanti Superintendent Dedrick Martin. At the end of the meeting, the board directed the search firm it hired, the Michigan Leadership Institute, to investigate what options and possible structures might exist for employing two or more people to serve as superintendent.

Michael Wilmot, president and chief executive officer of the Michigan Leadership Institute, said Monday that Michigan law requires every school district to have a superintendent, but there is some flexibility in how that gets accomplished.

"It can take a lot of different forms and that's part of what needs to be explored," Wilmot said. "We'll need the advice of the district's legal counsel and to talk to the candidates. There are a number of complications that need to be resolved in order to look at how we might be able to do this."

Wilmot added there would have to be the willingness or some interest on the part of the candidates in order for this idea to move forward.

In addition to Garrett, trustees Anthony VanDerworp and Celeste Hawkins serve on the superintendent search committee, along with a handful of community members. Garrett said the committee met Tuesday and is prepared to make a recommendation.

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



Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 10:48 p.m.

Please take a moment to breathe our kids are at stake. There isn't a board member, superintendent assistant superintendent or any current central administration personnel ready to lead the change we are facing. We are only a few months from a new district with no concrete plan in place remove them all for gross incompetence. Praising one candidate over the others based on the ignorance of the two is settling we deserve better. fyi an interesting blog was put out today


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

Hopefully this board has the courage and intelligence to do the right thing--since not doing the right thing will cause a lot more students to leave the district. It seems that a VERY large majority of the community is in agreement that the right thing is NOT hiring two superintendents. If many students end up leaving the district, it seems that it might be very difficult indeed to meet contractual obligations (for salary AND retirement compensation) for TWO superintendents. I don't know about your household in these economic times--but in my household, such extravagant spending would be totally crazy.


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

Someone asked me to repost my comment from earlier in the week. It is such a sad time in Ypsilanti. I regret that such an incompetent board was elected by another WISD incompetent board. Time to find an educational system that cares about parent input, instructionally sound leaders, and fiscally sound leaders. If the criteria for hiring has student achievement in it, why are either of the current superintendents even being considered? They have not increased achievement. If the criteria speaks to fiscal responsibility, which it does, why are either of the current superintendents being considered? And, why would either of the former boards of education have extended their current contracts?? No faith!


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 5:44 p.m.

I have completely lost all respect for the new board of education and will be pulling my 8th grade student from YMS after spring break. I have given them enough of our time, energy, trust and they simply don't deserve it anymore. At tonight's meeting the board debriefed on each of the 3 interviews and candidates. It was clear that Ms. Irvine, who has the overwhelming support of the community and staff, exceeded the search criteria. But, she was quickly moved to the bottom of the pile so that the board could move on their back room deal with the other two candidates. In fact, every taxpayer will love this, they are entertaining hiring BOTH Lisiscki and Dedrick. I could barley believe my ears. They are going to reward them both as they have always planned. At the beginning of the meeting David Bates read a scathing note to the community about the outspoken criticism of both current superintendents. At the end of the meeting he asked the MLI search rep to try to figure out an "out of the box" idea that would allow them to keep both current superintendents and then begged the community for their support after the decision is made. I still cannot believe what I just witnessed. They are willing to lose the best candidate with the most support in order to keep the least candidates with very little support and now, in a state of financial ruin, they want to pay TWO superintendent salaries for a district that will have approximately 4,000 students! ALL TAXPAYERS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS NEED TO RISE UP NOW! I have never seen or heard anything like it. We will be exercising our right to a charter for the remainder of the year and school of choice to Milan in the fall. Done.


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

This will be a train wreck.


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 7:18 p.m.

Will be? It already is.

sad day

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

This boards only right choice is Sharon Irvine...If they choose anyone else it will be the new districts demise. This board needs to listen to the community and current staff.


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 2:16 a.m.

I wonder if Superintendent Martin will withdraw his candidacy. He has been so attacked, and he looked so tired in the video from the last meeting. It's got to be so tough to stay with this process after so much negativity, and I bet he has other job offers he could take.


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 2:53 a.m.

The are attacking his record and what he brings to the table as the next possible superintendent, or whatever mayhem the board is concocting. I've listened to the interviews and the questions went after his record, not him. And i doubt he has job offers to take. So far, his only real experience as a superintendent was working for a high salary at a school district that lost families left and right and had perpetually low performance. Not exactly a stellar track record...(once again, attacking his record).


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 2:30 a.m.

People aren't "attacking" Supt. Martin. They just don't feel that the job he has done so far on behalf of Ypsilanti's children is a very good one. He has not been effective as a leader and this merger requires someone with a successful track record and a dedication to hard work and commitment to children. Many people don't feel Mr. Martin will be able to appropriately manage this very important change. And in general, teachers don't feel he has listened to them or considered them when making decisions. It is not personal, it is professional.


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 12:35 a.m.

The Community is looking forward to this meeting and there are signs it will be very well attended, indeed. There is alot of good information about the candidate interviews on a new FaceBook page put up by concerned community members. This was done because Supt. Martin ordered the district Facebook page taken down due to unfavorable expressions of free speech he apparently did not appreciate. I think this speaks volumes about the kind of leader he might be. We will see if this Board can understand that the success of Ypsilanti's children, the well-being of families and parents, and the economic impact of a failing school system on the community, will lead them to do the right thing. And the right thing would be to hire the most qualified, innovative, and hard-working candidate.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 11:51 p.m.

This should be a very interesting meeting. Either they are going to waste a couple more weeks and not make a decision or make a decision that will anger most every single person who has read or heard about it. Outside of picking Irvine, which it seems that they have shot down already, they have created a lose lose situation.