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Posted on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti-Willow Run school board to explore multi-person superintendent model

By Danielle Arndt

Previous coverage:

A special meeting set for Tuesday to select the first superintendent of the new Ypsilanti-Willow Run school district was canceled to allow the board more time to weigh its options — which could include hiring more than one person to fill the leadership role.


The unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run Board of Education.

After discussing the merits of all three internal candidates and identifying important qualities in each individual, the board expressed a desire to investigate what options might exist for employing two or more people to serve as superintendent.

Ypsilanti Superintendent Dedrick Martin, Willow Run Superintendent Laura Lisiscki and Ypsilanti Executive Director of Human Resources Sharon Irvine all threw their hats in the ring to lead the new school district.

At the direction of the unified Board of Education, Michael Wilmot, president and chief executive officer of the Michigan Leadership Institute, will begin brainstorming and researching other superintendent models. The board hired the leadership institute, which is a privately-held consulting firm comprised almost entirely of former Michigan school superintendents, to assist its members in determining the first leader of the new Ypsilanti Community Schools district.

Wilmot said in Michigan, the 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,” he 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.”

One of the complications could be any existing clauses in the employees’ current contracts, Wilmot said. Additionally, he said there are no other districts in the state for Ypsilanti Community Schools to use as a model because this really hasn’t been done before.

“I don’t have a pre-planned structure in mind. I have some ideas … but how or what that structure could end up, I’m not sure,” Wilmot said. “There’s not another district (in Michigan) that has ever consolidated this way either … so it’s not a surprise that there’s not a model to follow. So the district has the chance to build a model.”

President David Bates called it searching for out-of-the-box solutions and creative possibilities. But he said regardless who ultimately is chosen or which model is employed, “nobody can be successful without the support of the board and the community.”

“It doesn’t matter how good they are,” he said.

Bates added: “This obviously is not only a board decision. There are three other lives that have set their careers and their reputations on the line … so, just out of respect for them, we need to have some kind of solution.”

He suggested involving Martin, Lisiscki and Irvine in the model discussions. Wilmot will be working with the board’s ad hoc superintendent search committee throughout the next two weeks to try to come up with some possible structures to bring back before the full board. Trustees Don Garrett, Anthony VanDerworp and Celeste Hawkins serve on that committee for the board, along with a handful of community members.

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

During the superintendent discussion, the board went down the line — from Irvine to Lisiscki to Martin — and listed the qualities they saw in each of the candidates. Of Irvine, the board emphasized her problem solving abilities, her legal degree, her ability to articulate and how she has earned the trust of the teachers and staff in the Ypsilanti school district.

Representatives of both the Ypsilanti Education Association and the Ypsilanti Principals and Administrators Association attended Monday’s meeting and voiced their support for Irvine on behalf of the unions.

YEA President Krista Boyer said Irvine is the very definition of personal and professional ethics.

“Her honesty, integrity and work ethic are the very essence of what is needed to make the new district a success,” Boyer said. “She was the only candidate who made reference of going into the other district to begin to build relationships with staff and parents. She spoke of teamwork, collaboration, parent involvement and community input. All practices she not only speaks of, but also puts into action.”

Boyer added that at Martin’s own admission, his relationship with staff is not where he would like it to be.

“While he claims he has a ‘healthy amount’ of support, there is a noticeable lack of support for his candidacy by the teachers and staff he currently oversees. In the last three years, we have lost staff, students and the feeling of being a team,” she said.

Trustee Maria Sheler-Edwards noted she particularly liked how often Irvine talked about surveying parents and her own employees in her various positions throughout her career to collect feedback and to hold herself accountable.

The board’s remarks of Lisiscki and Martin were similar in nature. Both of the two superintendents were described as collaborative leaders.

Some advantages the board listed of the superintendents were both came into their positions at their districts during challenging times, have “worked in the trenches” and “shown a great deal of resiliency,” didn’t give up and were “battle-tested.”

Of Lisiscki, Bates said: “I never heard her look back or make any excuses other than we are going to move forward together because that’s what’s best for children. And I have a great deal of respect for that kind of attitude.”

Other board members noted how Lisiscki was very focused on aligning the vision and goals of the new district with her leadership.

“I also think she has the potential to be here a long time,” said Trustee Gregory Myers. “She has spent her whole career in one district, and that sticks out to me. She’s committed to this community.”

During public comment at Monday’s meeting, several residents spoke in support of Lisiscki as well. Mark Wilde said from what he has observed, it appears those in the Ypsilanti district want a change in leadership, while in Willow Run residents would like to keep Lisiscki.

“It seems to me that keeping Laura would satisfy both sides,” Wilde said.

The board acknowledged that after the interviews on Feb. 14, Martin received the toughest questions and the most amount of criticism from the community. However, the board also stated it admired his ability and willingness to talk about his actions and to answer those questions, no matter how tough.

Garrett said he sees this as dedication. He also said Martin is a visionary, seeing beyond the district’s financial woes and realizing that those struggles actually can allow the district the opportunity to improve education for its children through consolidation.

“I want you there whatever decision we make,” Garrett said to Martin about the superintendent selection.

Sheler-Edwards said she most liked how transparent Martin is. She said many in the district did not know how bad Ypsilanti’s financial situation was until Martin became superintendent and “opened up the books.”

Bates emphasized Martin’s implementation of zero-based budgeting, his ability to cut millions from the budget and how he created an all-inclusive operations manual for the district that was recognized by the state.

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


Saddened YP/WR Supporter

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

What happened to the newly created "Ypsilanti Community Schools Supporters" Facebook page??????

Saddened YP/WR Supporter

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

@Elgin...thank you. I wasn't able to find it earlier!!!!


Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

It's going strong ... 189 supporters/likes, and growing.

Sharon Irvine

Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 3:52 p.m.

I am overwhelmed by and grateful for the outpouring of community and staff support for my candidacy as superintendent. I never anticipated its strength. Because I care deeply for this community, I want to encourage everyone to keep focus on the magnitude of the work ahead. Whoever takes this role cannot do it without the combined support of both the Ypsilanti and Willow Run communities. I believe that the most effective consolidation effort will occur with the unified positive support of all involved.

sad day

Sun, Feb 24, 2013 : 11:44 p.m.

You have shown to have more class by your comments then the other candidates, which just increases my believe that you are the best person for the job.


Sat, Feb 23, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Being a teacher in Ypsilanti, I have always stood up for our school district. I've defended our district against criticism at meetings with other schools, out with friends, and even with some colleagues. Over the last few months my head hangs low. A district that made the Ypsilanti area home for me has made me feel betrayed and stressed beyond belief. I have put my heart and soul on the line for these kids. Now, I face a lay off and a board that doesn't seem to think we have the right answers. There is NO hidden agenda here. There is a community that desires leadership, truth, fairness and a chance. I know for fact that the Martins have threw this district under the bus. We all know those kids...the kind that pretend that there following along to story or taking notes in class. But really all they doing is doodling. It's time to get rid of those doodlers and spend the money on a true leader, Sharon Irvine. We need the board to keep in mind the stakeholders, the parents, kids and teachers. They need to look in their hearts and do what is right.


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 6:33 p.m.

The activity here has slowed down as people have moved over to the facebook page and some blogs like mark maynard and ruth kraut. Also seems important to keep up the activity here on They need to know that the community will not just quiet down and start falling in line with mr. bates preposterous choir reference. And it is also important for willow run people to speak up as well. This is about the entire new district, and we know that there are things that willow run community teachers and principals know that ypsi folk don't especially about ms. lisiscki of course. If the public openness and surfacing of facts focuses on mr. martin we dont need this politics first board defaulting to lisiscki. willow run folks speak up - you are on our team!


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

Check out the conversation about this on Mark Maynard's blog, its very interesting:


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

No BASIC Bob, I used ignorant to describe anyone who thinks we should hang on to administrators despite their proven incompetency. What's reckless are people who believe that if you keep making the same errors, you will get a different outcome. I never suggested keeping all three. We absolutely cannot! Having to pay off Martin and Lisiscki's contract prior to their term was a risk this board made when they IGNORANTLY, AND RECKLESSLY hired another districts throw-away. As a veteran teacher in this district I am willing to have that burden to know that the real pay-off in the end, will be sound, competent leadership.


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

I find it utterly amazing that anyone could possibly argue the idea of hiring a superintendent with no prior superintendent experience, and yet every four years in this country we elect a person with absolutely zero presidential experience to run our entire nation. Who is so ignorant to believe that a former actor can lead a nation's government, but an experienced administrator can't run a school district?

Basic Bob

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 3:42 a.m.

That is a reckless argument. How can the district afford to pay 3 superintendents for the next year? Were they to select Irvine, would they be forced to pay her more than Martin and Lisiscki just to be fair? Yet you throw out an adjective - ignorant - to describe anyone concerned about the finances of the district. That is a sure recipe for jumping out of the frying pan (merger) and into the fire (EM). If money is no object in the search for a superintendent, there will be forced cost savings, and it will be teachers, students, parents, and all residents who pay.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

The board admitted they do not feel they are tasked with finding excellent leadership, and that they don't have to pick the best candidate. How? They said they might not if they can't work with a person... which is totally subjective. So all they have to do is rationalize that a small part of the board cant find a way to work with somebody for whatever reason, and it disqualifies that person from being superintendent. Even if they are the best candidate. Think about that. That concept invalidates the entire search process including the deterministic criteria they used and scored the candidates against. There is no such thing as a majority vote, with the board coming together afterwards with a unified purpose. Instead, it means this: Mr. Garrett (for example) could threaten the rest that he will be personally difficult even at the expense of the district if his long time friend Ms. Lisiscki isnt retained. All it takes is one trustee threatening friction to create a problem. That is why the board believes it has to reject any candidate solution that does not include Martin and Lisiscki - who represent the lowest common denominator for across-board support. Not because they are good, but because the board can't control itself otherwise. That is what this co-superintendent idea is about ... problem-avoidance and choosing the lowest common denominator, so they won't have to demonstrate professionalism after not getting their way.

Just me 43

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 11:27 p.m.

Elgin, I appreciate that you brought this up. Fit is very important, but professionalism is, too. Instead of dismissing a candidate because they fear they wouldn't have an ideal working relationship, maybe they should do what they have been preaching all along. We keep hearing from them that this is bigger than any one person. So, instead of projecting that attitude onto a candidate, maybe they can point it back at themselves. If this really is bigger than one person, than individual board members should really examine that and whether their attitudes and prior relationships are getting in the way of that. Seriously, the bottom line is that this whole situation has nothing to do with what's best for children. What's best for children is to have a functional, healthy educational system. How can that be achieved when there is so much doubt and misinformation? By acting courageously. Prove that this is about children. Prove that you believe that the transformation is bigger than one person. Do those things by selecting the person best suited for this job - Sharon Irvine. This conflict has become huge. The possibility from coming back from this is very remote. I'm having a hard time thinking of how they can begin to fix this. I do know, that if the board doesn't do a complete about face, we can't be saved. And who does that hurt? The very children our board has been asked to make a priority as they set policy and make decisions.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 11:22 p.m.

It is incumbent on this Board to remember it is their JOB to find the best candidate , not the one they personally like based upon a perceived ability to work with that person. People often don't necessarily like another person they work with, but PROFESSIONALISM is required to for people to work together for a common purpose. I don't see professionalism on the part of this Board. And I don't believe they presently are servingthe best interests of student, parents, and the Ypsilanti community. The key word being SERVE. After all, this is not supposed to be about the comfort of the Board. It's supposed to be about the success of the students in this District.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 10:48 p.m.

We've gotten seriously contradictory lines from President Bates and VP Garrett. They claim they were appointed to be tough independent public leaders to make hard decisions to pick the best candidate even though some people might not like it. And then out of the other side of their mouths they admit they are really not tough or leaders - because they admit they might not be able to personally and professionally work with the best candidate available to get the job done.. which should be an absolute requirement to be a board member, I think. They say even the best possible candidate might fail, because this board may not be capable of coming together to support and work with them. The more you listen and really consider what these people have said, the worse things look.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

Why was my latest post removed. It did not meet a single one of the commenting guidelines. Please let me know which part of it broke the rules.

Macabre Sunset

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

They're on a rampage today. No idea why. It happens sometimes. Usually when whoever is in charge feels very strongly about an issue. Then it carries over to the entire blog.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

So no answer? My post didn't break any of the guidelines.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 6:27 p.m.

One more thing about the district FB page, I understand it was Dedrick Martin who personally ordered the page taken down. I think that says something about transparency and character.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

Perhaps when he realized that the board wasnt going to hold him accountable for his past performance lack of communication skill and authoritarian style he started believing he could just shut down any communications vehicle he wanted. Uh-oh dedrick apparently you don't control facebook. So what might have been a slightly embarrassing thing or two on the ypsi schools site is now turning into an ypsi community schools interest group that he cant control no matter how much truth is posted about him and his committed friends on the board.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

I'm concerned about the qualifications of this Board. Have they any actual work experience or education in hiring upper level adminstrators, or experience/knowledge of what it takes to manage a change of the magnitude of this school district merger? I think it is important to know this as they have been tasked with finding excellent leadership for our children's sakes. And by the most recent example, they don't appear up to the task.

Monica R-W

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 4:45 a.m.

Okay, then it is a problem indeed. But hopefully someone can explain this. How can the current two former school district Superintendents be under contract when the school districts technically don't exist anymore? It seems as if their contracts would be are null and void.

Just me 43

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 1:08 a.m.

YpsiGirl: The two current superintendents are under contract until June 2014. We must pay them. So, the problem now is that we have 3 candidates for one job. We already have to pay 2 of them. So, what happens to the third candidate? She gets shoved aside even though she is clearly the best person for the job. What this comes down to is: money. In the end, Ms. Irvine's time and energies have been wasted in preparation for interviewing, etc. and the community's time has been wasted and our hopes dashed because we all thought that there was an real chance to bring in someone new.


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 12:03 a.m.

Well one member of the chosen board, besides Bates and Garrett who clearly had experience, choose to send a child out of Ypsilanti School District despite the family living in the district. Yet, this person was chosen to make decisions for the future of Ypsilanti Community Schools because they "worked hard" to pass the consolidation vote. No joke. Go back and read articles on how the appointed school board members, were picked. And now the tax payers in Ypsilanti and Willow Run MIGHT have to pay salaries/benefits and per diem expenses for two or three superintendents? How big is this now combined school district is again? Is it bigger in student population, than Chicago or New York City Public Schools? If not, make a decision, pay one superintendent and the other candidate should take a lower paying position in the district or find another job.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

I think Bates and Garrett were on their respective boards when these two superintendents were hired. If I remember right, most of the rest have no education experience in the classroom or admin at all.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

Some of these questions may be raised already, but my questions and comments... Two Superintendents Salaries: Does that mean two people taking a full superintendent salaries? Or does that mean hiring a superintendent and then staffing the standard assistant superintendent position from the same pool of three candidates? Michigan Leadership Institute: YPSD/WR can afford to hire an outside organization to help find the three most obvious internal candidates (Martin, Lisicki, Irvine) at a cost of $12,000? It is my understanding that this year, teachers in YPSD schools at least are not even allowed a small budget for the most basic classroom supplies (pencils, crayons, paper, marker-board markers, etc) and that most teachers pay for these supplies out of pocket. This seems to be a gross mismatch of priorities. District Finances: Wasn't the point of consolidation to avoid an emergency financial manager, and start to set the districts' finances straight? How can the combined district even afford two superintendents? Combined Leadership: Would one person clearly be in charge and the other clearly subordinate? Combined leadership is a recipe for disaster unless there is a chain of command.


Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 9:37 p.m.

Not only do teacher have $0 budget, we also use our own money to purchase workbooks for the students in our classroom.


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 1:43 a.m.

Yes, this board believes in the Andrew Jackson leadership style. Whatever they want irregardless of the rules, promoting according to who they like, and elimination of those they don't. He was also "battle-tested" and accomplished many things throughout his career. He was not, however, regarded as a good person. This board needs to understand that they are not a campaign committee supporting a party of one.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:54 p.m.

Look out Principals, Lisiscki will take you to arbitration if you don't agree with her. Why would two losing districts start a new with two that have already failed.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

They took down the Facebook page? The schools teach the students Core Democratic Values. It is time that the board follows them also. Note especially 2,5,8,9 & 10. The Core Democratic Values 1.Life-Each person has the right to the protection of his or her life. 2.Liberty-Liberty includes the freedom to believe what you want, freedom to choose your own friends, and to have your own ideas and opinions, to express your ideas in public, the right for people to meet in groups, the right to have any lawful job or business. 3.The Pursuit of Happiness-Each person can find happiness in their own way, so long as they do not step on the rights of others. 4.Justice-All people should be treated fairly in getting the advantages and disadvantages of our country. No group or person should be favored. 5.Common Good-People should work together for the good of all. The government should make laws that are good for everyone. 6.Equality-Everyone should get the same treatment regardless of where your parents or grandparents were born, race, religion or how much money you have. All people have political, social and economic equality. 7.Diversity-Differences in language, dress, food, where parents or grandparents were born, race, and religion are not only allowed but accepted as important. 8.Popular Sovereignty-The power of the government comes from the people. 9.Patriotism-A devotion to our country and the core democratic values in words and deeds. 10.Rule of Law-Both the government and the people must obey the law.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

One thing I haven't seen yet (and I apologize if I missed it), is that the two superintendents could be place in different assignments until their contracts expire. Yes, their pay would be more than any assignment they could be given would pay, but it sure beats paying them to sit at home. I think Mr. Martin would make a good HS principal, even though the district doesn't seem to think they need one right now . . . If they don't hire Ms. Irvine, they will lose what little credibility they have left.


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 1:29 a.m.

Mr. Martin could never be a principal. I don't think he even knows how to get to most of the buildings in the district, he'd have to learn all the teachers names, and he's scared of the kids.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

I agree Moonmaiden, I think Mr. Martin would make a very good principal, a high paid one, to be sure, but this may be a compromise solution that could help to heal some nasty wounds that this process has created. Certainly focusing his attention on turning around our high school system and implementing the advisory board's plan to create small learning communities would be a good way to use Mr. Martin's talents.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 6:46 a.m.

"Sheler-Edwards said she most liked how transparent Martin is. She said many in the district did not know how bad Ypsilanti's financial situation was until Martin became superintendent and "opened up the books." This is madness. He opened up the books only after it was discovered that the man he insisted on hiring from Willow Run, David Houle, had cooked the books, giving Ypsi a little extra push into its downward spiral.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

It was Martin, over the disagreement of some on the school board.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

Did Martin hire Houle or was it Dr. Hawkins?


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:18 a.m.

What did Mr. Garrett say? I tried to watch the videos but the sound was so bad I couldn't her anything.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:25 a.m.

@Basic Bob, Ms. Irvine may very well bring in 60 new students. It's hard to say. What's easy to say is that there are a lot of parents who have begun making other arrangements for their kids for next year, since the board meeting on Monday night. Some have commented here; others are making phone calls to check out their options. The district won't save any money by keeping things as they are.

Basic Bob

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:19 a.m.

Sound advice!!! Unless you're the person with the hidden agenda. The school board needs to consider their contractual obligations to the current superintendents. The teachers union should also be concerned, because hiring "their" candidate will likely cost two or three teachers their jobs for the next three years. Will Irvine bring another 60 students each year into the district to justify her promotion? I doubt that it makes much difference who the superintendent is when parents decide where to send their kids.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:46 a.m.

At 4:35 on that video: Maria Sheler-Edwards: . . . Sometimes people just want to be heard. . . . Mr. Garrett: . . . People try to find a way in. . . . You've got be very careful because they will try will get their way in and try to swing you. I honestly feel sorry for you because every time you talk about some one, no I'm dead serious, because I've seen this happen. They find a person to get in through with their hidden agenda and they'll use that pawn.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 1:57 a.m.

Judge for yourself: Its video 3 in the sequence It starts getting good when Don Garrett begins pontificating at 3:14, though you can barely hear it. You can hear it better once Celeste Hawkins responds to him, and his volume gets louder as he gets challenged by a (very articulate and patient) woman. See it now before someone takes it down!!!!


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 1:43 a.m.

Dear, dear MZIZZG, I too wish I was doing the hiring. Thank you. At least I'd know it was done above board with honesty and integrity, and not for political and professional perks. Although Ms. Irvine did not get called back for a second Tecumseh interview, she was highly praised and regarded. However, Tecumseh board has figured out what our catastrophe of a board has not....there's value in hiring internally. Their final candidates are local, with local roots and commitment to their community. They've lived there, worked there and have children in their district. (hmmm, all the reasons we also choose Sharon).Not everyone is a going to be the right fit for each place they interview, and unlike you, they aren't all sleeping with the enemy.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

The district took down its Facebook page. No need to panic. We have launched a new Facebook page called Ypsilanti Community Schools Supporters. Please log into Facebook and do a search. Please like the page. We will be posting frequently and trying to keep you updated as events unfold.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

My understanding was that Dedrick Martin ordered the FB page to be taken down. Shows his real character, doesn't it.??

Just me 43

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:37 a.m.

well, well, well. District has webpage. People post on webpage. Certain District "leaders" don't like what was posted. District webpage is taken down. Wow. I know the phrase is being over-used, but this speaks volumes.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 1:25 a.m.

I stand corrected that is exactly what it is. My apologies.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 1:23 a.m.

Respectfully ill personally decide to like it or not after I see what decisions come out of the board. Maybe someone should start a Ypsilanti willow run parents children schools and teachers united page. So the board and the new admin can have their page and then the community and schools can have its own separately where their opinions count to each other.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

This Board has created a terrible start to the new consolidated Ypsilanti Community Schools. Arrogance, disregard of facts, and apparently making a very political decision to keeping two superintendants, neither of whom has a very good track record in performance. It appears they haven't the wisdom or the political courage to make the right decision on behalf of Ypsilanti's teachers and students, and the exodus of good teachers and students has already begun. Managing a change of this importance requires a quick intellect, touugh-mindedness, the proper credentials, a willingness to work very, very hard. Sharon Irvine has all of those qualities and it is terrible that we will lose this brilliant and capable woman who has shown dedication to children in all her professional endeavors. This Board is a disgrace.


Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 12:25 a.m.

This Board should have been ELECTED not appointed. People in these former school districts need to stand up and speak up. The election results were questionable in itself. How the board members were appointed, even more so (read up for my previous comment). One appointed board member just two-three months earlier lost an election in Ypsilanti Township. In the heat of that campaign, questionable comments about one of the current Y-Town Board of Trustees Elected Officials were made right here on Now who made the comment (as they used an assumed screen name) is unknown.... In the end, an full election process should have taken place. But...oh did and not many of the people elected, were appointed to any of the position on this board.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 12:52 a.m.

Hat tip on the apropos name.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

mzizzg (aka Mrs. Garrett) your husband is offensive and does not have the best interest of the community or the kids at heart. He was appointed this time, next time he will have to be elected BY THE PEOPLE. It won't happen. Not everyone in WR is happy. Stop preaching that sad story. They are just too afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 11:14 p.m.

Who said the board doesnt read this stuff? Well they do and they need to hear it.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 10:49 p.m.

Like I just said in another post... whoever runs against garrett in the next election is going to have a cakewalk against him. Video is powerful in elections and garrett produced an opponents dream of an example of a public official thumbing his nose at the public intentionally and thoroughly. Maybe bates too. Their weak current justifications to do what they had planned to do wont hold any weight against that video. And that is the case no matter who they select as superintendent. Politically they picked up a giant shovel and dug an inescapable hole. It would be highly entertaining to watch a drama like this on tv. But unfortunately it has sad consequences for the community right now. He really should step down.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

If anyone has questions regarding the "good deeds" of Mr. Martin do some research. Test scores, number of students leaving the district, number of referrals in the HS and list goes on. The %s may be going in the right direction but there are fewer kids. He and his asst. have made the jobs of our teachers a nightmare. Ask them! Look at the job description for the BOE and the Administration - community, community, community! I think to say Ms Irvine lacks experience is unfair, neither of the current ones had any and I believe she is far smarter then they are and has already been directly involved in this consolidation. She will have the support of the people throughout the district to make it work. Mr Garrett needs to make a public apology and move on. If he only wants to be a board member during meetings, he isn't going to much help now will he. I think more needs to be looked at as far as the money. To keep someone around because you can't afford to get rid on them is CRAZY. Make Ypsi happy hire Sharon for Sup, keep WR happy and hire Laura as Asst. The Martins can ....


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 12:51 a.m.

They did already ask the teachers. They asked a lot of people, and got earnest answers. The just didn't get the answers they wanted, so they disregarded them. They don't care what the teachers think, or anyone thinks. They are on record as saying so. You're right about keeping someone around who is a negative presence. Pay the darn alimony.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

I do agree with most comments here. Although I find it interesting to see what will be happening with Martins assistant superintendent? Why was her name not thrown into the superintendent hat? I myself thought if there are two individuals chosen one would be the assistant. But if I'm not mistaken Martin has one right? So is this job available or being dodged to keep the person safely in place. Does this mystery person have a contract like Laura and Martin? Is there actually going to be 3 superintendents total meaning one is already a vice? I hope this position is revoked since there is a possibility of 2 for hire.

Just me 43

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 5:38 a.m.

I have also heard the same thing. If you don't back up DM unconditionally, he will make your working life hell. Again, Sharon Irvine shows remarkable courage.

ypsi 1

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 12:58 a.m.

Martin's creed it if you oppose me I'll crucify you.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

She probably didn't apply. She works for Martin, that could have made for an uncomfortable situation for her. Too bad she doesn't have Irvine's courage.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2:39 a.m.

I would bet that Jennifer Martin is looking elsewhere. I think it's clear that she has done a ton of work at the schools and D. Martin takes the credit. The Board mentions asking the kids? They all know Jennifer Martin pretty well. Him? Not so much.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

There was little or no mention of ms martin in any of the discussion. Even mr. martin did not mention her by name in his interview when describing accomplishments or his team. At least that is my recollection. It is probably safe to assume that she is just a regular employee serving as long as the superintendent is there. When mr. martin has ms. lisiscki as his assistant superintendent I bet hell keep ms. martin on as curriculum director and giver her part of ms. irvines role. She is on team dedrick for sure.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

In weighing a multi-person superintendent model, it seems important to consider WHY the two districts decided to consolidate. And what are the very real realities that the new consolidated district must address, and address successfully, if it is to avoid state intervention. It is my understanding that those reasons for consolidation overwhelmingly had to do with the weak financial and weak student achievement profiles of the two original districts. Consolidating, it was my understanding, had the very important twin goals of lowering administrative overhead and streamlining administrative operations, and thus allowing more resources (and more energy) to be focused on serving the needs of students and improving student achievement. It seems important to ask how a multi-person superintendent model fits into those goals for consolidating the two districts. If the new district is simply incorporating many of the administrative folks from the old districts in positions with different names, that would seem (a) NOT to reduce administrative overhead; and (b) NOT to streamline order to allow the new district to focus on the needs of students. If the third internal candidate is highly qualified, selecting her as superintendent might be a fair compromise......thus not selecting either previous superintendent over the other and not installing wholesale one of the previous administrative teams.......and not selecting both.......with the chaos and in-fighting that would inevitably result from either of these other decisions.

Just me 43

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

I agree that the vote for consolidation was successful because of the threat of the EM. This fear was used as a tactic to convince people to vote and it was effective. The basic reasoning that was touted was that consolidation held the chance for meaningful reform with community input and EM would be a nightmare and the community would have no input. We were scared and went for the lesser of two evils.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

Your mistake wondering is trying to apply rational thought to describe irrational events.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

Excellent post. The apparent answer to the question/rationale of "why consolidate" ... is "to avoid the emergency manager, avoid the removal of the board and superintendents from power, and to reduce change in as many areas as possible." - Avoid EM? Check. - Avoid removing those in power from power? Check - Reduce change in as many areas as possible, while selling "change" to keep critics at bay? In progress.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

People CAN be removed from a school board by the community. It just takes some effort by committed people. In some instances, a school board member will fail to meet the duties assigned to him. If members of the district recognize this failure, then they may try to remove the board member from the school board. This option can be effective at rejuvenating a school when a board member's incompetence or unethical practices prevent the board as a whole from moving forward in support of students. Every state follows basically the same procedure for removing school board members. Read more: How to Remove School Board Members |


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 11:33 p.m.

Somebody on the site here voted against what is basically just information about a democratic process. Isn't that interesting...


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

This thread is quite amusing! Cash, it's a shame that your comments have been down voted so much. Looks like there are a lot of "Irvine" supporters (Ypsi community members) here. What is most amusing to me is how the "Irvine" supporters are complaining about this board not listening to them and/or caring what they think. However, wasn't it the "community" that wanted an ALL new school board? What they got was 4 NEW(inexperienced) board members and now they aren't happy. Well guess what? It's a mess because of that inexperience. Hiring an inexperienced superintendent (Irvine) would be an even bigger mess and a mistake. I absolutely appreciate that the school board at least listens to the community, but the popular opinion of the community, is not always right! Stop trying to manipulate/bully school board members and other admin staff into doing what the "community" wants. This so called "community" is not representative of EVERYONE. If it is, we are a horrible, disrespectful, immature community, that will say anything about anyone in attempt to get our way. The horrible things that this "community" have said about Mr. Martin in particular are appalling! Teachers no less. Aren't you supposed to be an example to the students you teach? What exactly are you teaching them? How to throw a temper tantrum when you don't get your way? Each board member has a vote and they have to come to the best decison possible based on the facts. Not the grumblings of bullying and disrespectful former Ypsi board members and community members who think they can manipulate people into doing whatever they want. If you wanted to make the decisions for the new "Ypsilanti Community Schools" you should've applied for a board position. Oh wait, you did and you weren't chosen. :( Get over it and get a life! The current board members were appointed by the WISD, take it up with them. Remember, the "communi


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 2 a.m.

The teachers are showing a great example to their students, it's called the voice of democracy. You, on the other hand refer to opinions and the voices of the people as bullying and manipulating. Your attitude is much like that of Andrew Jackson. He was a democratic autocrat. Be glad you live in a country where outspoken "bullies" and "manipulators" abolished slavery, gave women the vote and give people like you opportunities such as this forum to freely matter what you sound like.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

If I was a better poster I would put my money on mzizzg being another way to spell mrs. g. Short odds but a sure winner. And then all the posts make perfect sense.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

WE are the tax payers. We are paying them the "community." we are the bullies??? HA! I never seen us say, "get a life" those are the words of a bully 0-o


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

Also - it isn't the new board members that people are complaining about, in general (except for their unwillingness to step up and overcome the bullying from the previous board members). It is the previous board members, with the existing relationships with the current superintendents - the ones who cut the deal to retain them both, at everyone else's expense - who are the problem.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.

What are these horrible things community members and teachers have said about Mr. Martin? Please be specific. And is it possible that any of the complaints could be legitimate? If they are, what should be the recourse for the public? If there are this many unhappy people, are they ALL just whining and complaining? We have all had 3 1/2 years of trying to go through the "proper chain of command" and getting nowhere. Our district is disintegrating before our eyes. The fact that people still have some fight in them is the only encouraging thing I see right now. Temper tantrums? Your opinion of our teachers is dismaying.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

It is a twisted world, where poor job performnace - recognized and corroborated by a large number of people directly impacted - is sttempted to be spun into "horrible things to say". I say "attempted", because your efforts and Mr. Bates efforts are clearly not working. What kind of a world is it, where people are unable to discuss poor performance in important public roles openly and honestly - especially in a circumstance that directly impacts the development of a generation of children? Or impacts people's personal financial situation (because of reduced property values in poor performing school districts)? This is real - it isn't time for political correctness, hoping serious problems just go away. In the real world, people use data and facts to make decisions - and we had better hope the children are prepared for the real world. Mr. Martin EARNED this performance evaluation, and yet avoids it, excuses it and requests that it be hushed. Ms. Irvine SEEKS performance evalution from her reports and other stakeholders, and considers and integrates it into her improvements. If you can't see the difference, you should be embarassed. Mr. Bates should be ashamed of himself for criticizing people for pointing out facts. And so should you.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

No matter what the story we're told, this process is essentially over. No - the board didn't make a decision yet formally. But the deal was struck long ago, and was only sidetracked by meddlers who the board believes "don't understand". What people don't understand in their eyes is that they had to make deals to get the consolidation supported and approved and avoid the emergency manager. What would the emergency manager have done? Removed all their power. But they twist it and say "it is about the kids" because in their twisted view keeping themselves in power and avoiding the emergency manager IS better for the kids. In their minds. And that's why they keep repeating all the nonsense about some kind of embryonic "thing" that they've started that needs Martin and Lisiscki's nurturing to continue to grow into something new that is for the kids. All this consolidation activity is just lip service to avoid the EM and attempt to maintain as much of the status quo as possible. Even the new highschool program (a good concept) is going to be twisted and positioned to preserve things as they currently are ... as much as possible. And the icing on the cake for the current superintendents in their new roles as Superintendent and Asst Superintendent (or however the deal was structured) get to personally cherry pick their supporters and purge the system of anyone they perceive as threats. It is weak and pathetic that they didn't have the backbone to stand up to MLI and explain that the deal was already cooked, and that bringing in any more candidates would only embarass everyone. MLI then did their job by bringing the best candidate to the table. But the the fraudulent, Potyomkin village of a process turned into aprofessional insult to Ms. Irvine, who is now certain to leave. Is there any question about that? I can't conceive that someone who has been through that would give that board one more moment of her valuable time. And it i


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:55 a.m.

Bob... Sharon Irvine leaving is going to be a brutal blow to the district. There is an unbelievable amount of HR to do and nobody to do it. And contract negotiations. Shes been worth her weight in gold to the district. Make no mistake she will not leave out of fear of having to reapply for her job. They cant replace her with only one person, and she knows it. She will leave because shes been professionally insulted and belittled by a dishonest and spineless board. And she is ultimately employable. The MLI guy must think YpsiWR is crazy but hell have an endless list of options for her. I dont think all the posters who threaten to yank their kids out of the system will follow up with that action. But continuity at the superintendent level can be assumed to result in continuing departures of students at the same level as recent experience. And probably higher rate due to the consolidation. The purging is going to be focused on the people who speak out the loudest against the current regimes. And that will cause more student departures as well.

Basic Bob

Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 3:04 a.m.

Irvine will leave because her contract isn't guaranteed. The other two will stay because their contracts are guaranteed. If one has to take a demotion "off the record" then her resume remains intact and she can "save face". A well-needed purging the system was happening anyway.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

I bet the guy from mli already has a long list of superintendent openings for irvine since shes already looking and wont be staying in ypsilanti. All they have to do is look at the video and see what 80-90% of people here see. Slam dunk.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Potemkin Village ... fat-fingered it. And that last part was, "And that is a shame for everybody, including the children".


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

I just listened to the post-interview conversation among board members, and I simply cannot believe the condescending, undemocratic, and frankly, SEXIST, attitude of board member Don Garrett. He consistently displays a dismissive attitude toward the "community" and talks down to the two female board members, Celeste Hawkins and Maria Sheler Edwards, who should be commended for standing up to his wrong-headed, anti-democratic and autocratic attitude. We do not need people like this on our new board. Bates, Gregory, and Garret, clearly think we (the community) need to be "educated", kept at bay, and talked down to, but they were appointed, not elected, and they need to go. We are moving on from this style of leadership and the new district should categorically reject authoritative and condescending attitudes from our leaders.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

There couldn't possibly be another person in this community with the screen name mzizzg except Mr. Garrett's wife. Hmmm... Okay it's your assumption, i'll let you tell it. No matter who you think I am, my opinions are just that, MY opinions. I too, want ALL of the board members to think for themselves. If my posts are disrespectful, oh well. There is much more of the same here and at the school board meetings. The last thing I will say on this thread is, because I don't think I said it previously, I don't agree with the multi-superintendent model either. Neither do I agree that Ms. Irvine should be hired, my reasons are just that, my reasons. If I had a vote it would be for Laura Lisiscki.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:46 a.m.

@mzzzzz Well, you sure show your colors. Garrett has a good relationship with MSE but she deserves to be off the board. As his wife, that's a funny way of trying to prove that the Garrett family is neither disrespectful nor a bully.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

mzizzg what you championing is corruption and back room dealmaking. Green to you means not corrupted and potentially voting against the board malpractice that you support. Nobody is trying to change maria sheler-edwards mind. They simply want her to think and vote for herself based on reasoning instead of giving into the bullying demonstrated by garrett in the video. I suppose it is inconvenient for you that video exists showing exactly that. In the meeting and in the video he was a bully plain and simple. His tutorial in the video where he told mse that he felt sorry for her was a tutorial in malpractice. If there was a recall of the board, that video of garrett would be exhibit A on why they should be removed. His summaries of the interviews were embarassing. All he could say is I like them and they are like us. Laughably incompetent. Your antiteacher and anticommunity take on all this is very interesting. It seems l ike you share the philosophy that the board is an end in itself. The most important. All reality disagrees with you.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 6:24 p.m.

The new district should categorically reject authoritative and condescending attitudes from it's staff! The so called "professionals" are down right rude and disrespectul! It's funny that you can speak of how Mr. Garrett speaks down to the tow female board members, yet seems to have a very good relationship with both of them. Why is it that you are complaing, but they aren't? Hmm.. He may play a dismissive attitude toward the "community" but it is because the community thinks that it can manipulate the board members. It is clear to anyone who has sat in on a meeting that Maria is soft and gullible. That is why the YPSI "community" is bombarding her and trying to persuade her, but she only has one vote. The Ypsi community thinks they can and do run the district. Anyone who threatens their so called power is somehow not fit to be a board member. Maria, Celeste and the other new comers came in GREEN, with no clue on what it takes to be a board member. Besides, if you represent the Ypsi schools, why would you trust someone who doesn't have enough faith in the school system, that she supposedly represents, to send her own children there. Talk about someone who needs to go! She should never have been appointed, because she is clueless! The Ypsi community knows that and that is why they are trying to manipulate her into doing what they want and trying to tear down the experienced board members who have a backbone and aren't going to cave to the bullying, manipulating community that doesn't really want to change. You just want to do what you want to do.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

I am absolutely shocked that David Bates would read a speech about how "this is about the kids" not our own feelings and then hear the board say that they support Laura because she has the support of the community and we support Dedrick because, well, "WE JUST REALLY LIKE WORKING WITH YOU!" Shocking. If that isn't a vote made because of the board's own feelings, than what is. Let's go with Garrett's idea..."ask a kid". Well, yes, ask a kid in YPS, "does Mr. Martin love you?". Ask a teacher, "Does Mr. Martin know you exist". There you are, the answer for both would be no. Mr. Martin has spent all of his time networking with people outside the district and spending no time leading the district. The board said that they liked how he put Ypsilanti Public Schools and Willow Run Schools on the state and national map. Yes, Martin know how to smooth-talk people who don't know better. That makes him qualified to be a public relations director, not a superintendent.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

They were already on the map - as examples of some of the poorest performing and poorly managed school districts. The map they were on, was "Emergency Manager and Government Intervention Radar". Mr. Garrett was right about one thing. Mr. Martin good at finding opportunity in disaster. He appears to be turning his own conspicuous weakness (poor performance) into the opportunity to use his only strength (convincing others he is competent, despite his performance) to continue with more of the same on an even bigger scale.

ECA Teacher

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

It is bad enough that they are considering hiring two superintendents. But the idea that they would consider anyone who is currently associated with either district is a travesty. Bring in some new blood, someone with NEW ideas, and who is not bogged down with the historical and political baggage that has plagued these districts for too long now. If we are serious about making radical changes to the quality of education in this community, we need radical thinkers who have the guts to say NO to the status quo. Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Are we crazy?


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

Teachers have taken devastating pay cuts and higher copay over the past 5 years. We have spent thousands of dollars of our own (families) money to purchase workbooks, paper, supplies for our class due to zero supply budgets. To hear that the board is considering paying for 2 superintendents is so disappointing.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 6:01 a.m.

First of all, Thanks to Mr. Wilde for recording and posting these videos. Secondly, Did we truely hire Mr Martin with a 7 year contract or did we recently renew it? If so, Why? I read earlier it is in effect until 2016.

Basic Bob

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 11:05 a.m.

Google reveals that Martin was originally hired for a three-year contract in 2009. So there have been extensions. Also in 2009, Lisiscki was given an "indefinite" extension when the former superintendent was reassigned. FOIA anyone?


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:42 a.m.

Only 84 comments and 447 votes. A start but not enough. How many would it take to get the board attention. 800 and 4000? The board does not believe the community is committed to not letting them do whatever they want and getting away with it. Mr. Bates himself said there were only a few loud voices that were ruining his chorus. He has the nerve to criticize a few people but how about a thousand.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 10:11 p.m.

It isn't the reaction of mse when she knew she was being taped mrs garrett. Inappropriate behavior is inappropriate behavior. Applying your logic and there is no bullying because the bullied rarely strike or talk back. Mr. garrett degraded himself and insulted the community on tape. That is his action to own. If I was running against him, I would play that tape over and over on advertisements. 1000 people with the same voice is called legitimate public support, mrs garrett. That may be new to you. The community wants Irvine because she was the best interviewee by far not even close. And she has the best credentials. And she has the backing of a union where she negotiated a giant concession. I think everyone here would be comfortable with the MLI guy making the decision based on what he thinks is best and who he thinks is best. But no - you are going to get your way mrs garrett because the selection process was rigged from the start. And it doesn't matter that the boards behavior including mr. garrett and mr. bates is horrifying because it is too late to remove them and they are free to do their damage. This has disaster written all over it. God help us all indeed. And gods speed to ms. Irvine who deserves far better than to be associated with any of this search.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

A thousand people with the same voice. I am a parent who has chosen to support my school district. I too have been present at the board meetings, though not as vocal as most. I do know Mr. Garrett personally and he is a man of integrity who genuinely cares about what happens to the children in these communities. No one has said a thing about Ms. Sheeler-Edwards response to Mr. Garrett's comments. She didn't appear to take it offiensively. It is the manipulatory public of the Ypsilanti community whom is attempting to blow this up, in an effort to degrade Mr. Garrett. The people in the Ypsilanti district are trying to manipulate the board and the WISD. Their only interest is what they want. Have any of the Ypsilanti teachers, parents solicited input from the WR folks? No, because all they care about is themselves. They want Irvine because she has obviously promised them that she will look out for them first. LOL, you people are hilarious. God help us all!!


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 4:04 a.m.

It has been too long since Mr. Bates was a commoner. He forgets what it's like.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 4:02 a.m.

Yes. Their voices are music to their own ears. Community and district voices ruin their music. That is what Mr. Bates said very clearly. He was irritated by the inconvenience of community input.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:57 a.m.

Ironic. I heard some pretty loud voices coming from positions of power. But that's okay.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:34 a.m.

I sat through the interviews, I sat through last nights discussion. What discussion. Play nice on the play-ground everyone, we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. We're adults, Martin screwed up and lost all respect, Lisiscki sounds like a very nice person and has done a great job with WR and Irvine has all the qualities that this new district needs to make it work. Bates made it clear in the beginning that his job was in the bag, and Garrett I don't know much about except from these meetings and from what I listened to "after the interviews" on YouTube. I am sickened by his remarks. He needs to make a public apology and step down. How can he be trusted after those remarks. Let someone else who cares have your job. It was a mistake to keep both presidents on for the new BOE. Contact WISD and Rutledge. Seems pointless to contact the board!


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Charade indeed. The fix was in and the deal was in place from the very start - the deal so that Martin and Lisiscki never really had THEIR jobs at risk (a lie, perpetuated by the board).


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:37 a.m.

It was a charade. The board reviewed each candidate, in order of interview. Ms. Irvine's review was, quite honestly, stellar. I wondered how they would fill the time for the other two. For Ms. Lisiscki, we were treated to a history of her time in Willow Run, courtesy of vice-president Garrett. Not exactly following the same format of the first review. For Mr. Martin, every trait that most would consider to be a negative was twisted into being a positive. By the end of it, many of the board members could barely disguise their preferred candidate(s). I wonder why they didn't just vote right then. Oh yeah, they hadn't yet planned for how to keep both here (and by both, I mean the two current superintendents). I'm not sure WISD is going to be too helpful. They appointed this board. Maybe Rutledge.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

Sold out. Recall this board. The fix is in. Deal was made.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

Mr. Bates has been a long-serving board member and president. And he has served well in the past. But he has moved into the position where he and the board and their roles are bigger and more important than the community or the children. They are so defensive of their position that they will do whatever it takes to maintain any sort of continuity for themselves even while the community and district employees suffer the fate of their horrible decisions. They have gone as far as to proliferate lies and twist the truth to rationalize their self-serving farce of a search. Mr. Bates mumbled something strange about losing a third of the community if they don't make a good decision. Not only was his point barely comprehensible but it is also misguided. The stakes are far higher for them than one third. The support they can be most confident of losing is the Irvine support which appears to be the most involved, vocal and resolute. Long term friends and supporters are appalled. He wants the vocal and active people who are most concerned about their decisions to hush down and join his chorus of dysfunctional and delusional togetherness. He wants people to endorse a decision that people know is bad from the start. He has spent all of his political capital and demands trust and compliance that he has not earned. The next board elections cannot come fast enough. Bates' speech is going to come back to haunt him. The clock is ticking on his board tenure, starting 2/18/13.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

David Bates also said that it is critical that the new Superintendent have a good working relationship with the board and community, and that it doesn't matter how good they are if that doesn't happen. Wait... WHAT? YOU are the President and ostensible leader of the board, David! With the Public as your key customer! Are you telling me that you cannot provide the leadership to make sure the board works well with the most qualified Superintendent? Are you disqualifying yourself from YOUR role just like Dedrick Marin did when he admits he cannot handle doing his job fully? Bates appears to be essentially saying, that he must attempt to please all the special interests both in the board and in the community, or having the best Superintendent won't matter. This admitted weakness and incompetence is outrageous. "Thinking out of the box" in order to avoid having to lead?! Why is this man the President? Just because he can run a meeting? The clock SHOULD be ticking on him. But not in terms of years - but in DAYS! There has to be some recourse to recall the board.... some kind of petition process.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:30 a.m.

The board's attitude toward the public may be the biggest story of this whole debacle. The disdain is palpable.

Just me 43

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11:37 p.m.

The round file is absolutely correct. My earlier post referencing a specific board member and his statements about not considering the views of the public was accurate. (That post was removed and now that I think about it, I should not have called out this person by name). But the information I was trying to convey is important. There are some board members who have openly indicated that the opinions of parents should be dismissed. That stance is appalling and speaks volumes about this board's future effectiveness and their views of the very people who they represent.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

Straight into the round file, my friend.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11 p.m.

They are going to lose more than 1/3 of the community unless they make a decision on one, just one, superintendent. If that ends up being Irvine, so be it. But not a two headed monster of past superintendents. And I agree with your sentiment on losing the trust of the community. No one in the community wants this move except for the 7 board members. It should be interesting to see if they read any letters from the community aloud in the next meeting or if they just file them in the recycle bin and do what they want.

sad day

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

I have 6 grandchildren that go to Ypsi, I hope my kids agree to carpool to another district.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

Time to impeach or recall the new board.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

"The mole", huh Mrs. Garrett? Is that what they're calling the person they think let the cat out of the bag about their deal to keep both superintendents? Well at least you're out of the closet now and confirming who you are. Good for you, and I guess it doesn't matter since this is his last term.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 8:52 p.m.

Being a board member is NOT a glamourous job by any means. It sure isn't worth the headache, except to someone who ACTUALLY cares about what happens to the children in this community. I believe that about Greg, Don, Tony, Dan and Celeste. Of Bates, i'm not so sure. I am absolutely confused as to why Sheeler-Edwards would want to be on the board or be appointed by the WISD. Major conflict of interest, IMO, when you appoint someone to a school board in the district that they live in, yet have so LITTLE faith in, that they even send their own children elsewhere. Yet the community seems to LOVE her too. Hmmmm, maybe she's the mole.....


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:14 p.m.

It is possible! I think a new vision + new board = no favoritism. It's quite obvious there is a, "I'll scratch your back, if you scratch mine" of course the board wants Laura and Martin. This makes the board members jobs safe.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 10:55 p.m.

If only that was possible...


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 9:57 p.m.

@ Heather: "trying to please everyone" No, clearly they don't care about the community's opinion or pleasing the parents. It was the David & Don show. They were battling it out for their pick. @ MissYpsi - I failed to hear any board member support Ms. Irvine after the comments regarding her interview. It quickly moved into the battle between Myers/Garrett and Bates/Raglin. In fact, I was appalled that Raglin mentioned giving the highest remarks to Lisiscki and Martin but not being able to give the highest remarks in a couple of categories to Sharon Irvine. What interviews was he attending????


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 9:54 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. 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 a creative and 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.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 12:30 a.m.

Talk about HATE speech Mrs. G. What you've written is not only hateful, its defamatory. And the complete hypocrisy of someone who writes on behalf (at the urging) of a member of the current school board (as you so clearly have) is really beyond belief. I've spoken to a bunch of people who wrote on Sharon Irvine's behalf, who had not even met her. They went to the interviews or watched them on youtube, and they saw that she was CLEARLY the best choice. The proof is in the pudding. Go to youtube, watch the videos, Sharon Irvine brings both skills and substantive change, which is what we need. Speaking my mind is my RIGHT it is not bullying. What you are doing is bullying.

Just me 43

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

Mz: are you suggesting that Ms. Irvine asked people to speak at the mtgs and to write emails on her behalf? Seriously? I can think for myself. I can see that unless we shake things up, choices will be made that I don't agree with and have a direct effect on the education of our children. It is my right and my obligation to participate in this process. I wrote emails on behalf of Ms. Irvine. She didn't ask me to do so. If she had, it would have made me lose respect for her. I think she is the best candidate and this board needs to know that. The union reps made their statements in support of her because that's what unions do. How else would the board know what this very important group of people think? And to insinuate that Ms. Irvine made promises to people in order to get support is not only false, but offensive. Can you provide any support for this assertion? I also feel the need to defend the teachers union rep who you degraded. Our teachers have felt disrespected for years. There is a history of mistreatment here and the only way to be heard is at a board meeting during the public comment. She speaks for the rest of the teachers. Her demeanor and desperation to be heard should tell us something. It tells me that our teachers have not been heard and have not been respected. Certain board members have a history of shutting people down and causing undue frustration. Our community's history in dealing with our BOE has created this environment. I would also like to ask you to reflect on your words on this board. How is your behavior any different than that of the people you accuse of behaving so badly?


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

There has certainly been a lot of outspoken criticism about Mr. Martin, but not so for Ms. Lisiscki. ALL of the criticism is coming from the Ypsi schools community and it is geared at Mr. Martin. Ms. Lisiscki has the support of her staff and the commmunity. The Ypsi community wants to run the show and they feel that hiring Irvine would secure their superiority, cuz that's exactly what they think. She has a law degree, great! I still wonder though, with all of her credentials why another school district did not find her a qualified enough candidate to grant her a second interview. Ms. Lisiscki was appointed Interim Superintendent and during that time she lead the district in a positive direction, despite having a board president (Washington) who thought she would be their puppet. Because she proved capable, she was rewarded with a contract. Neither Laura or Dedrick created the current mess. Also, does a bunch of emails from a community who just wants to manipulate and bully the board into doing what they want really mean that person is the best candidate. Laura could've rounded up hundreds of people to do the same thing on her behalf, but she is not some attorney using or dare I say partnering with the community, to manipulate her way into a job.

Millicent Little

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 11:51 a.m.

MCollins, I apologize for your family having to go through this debacle and the fact that you are pulling your child will be a GREAT loss for the district. I am sure that we will be seeing much more of this if what is REALLY best for the COMMUNITY and STUDENTS is not made a priority in this process.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

Too bad the board doesn't read these comments or they might see the colossal mess that they have created. I was not at the meeting, but it sounds like a couple of the board members ran the show and the others just sat back and watched. I wonder what the WISD thinks of their board selections now? The election to remove a couple of them cannot get here fast enough as I would imagine parents, like MCollins before, are going to be taking their kids out of this train wreck at an even faster pace.

sad day

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

Why would the existing Superintendents have to be paid out? Their contracts were negotiated by boards that no longer exist!!!!!! If all other employees are to receive lay off notices effective June 30, 2013, the Superintendents should be no different.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 9:59 p.m.

Their contracts specify being paid the full amount regardless of whether they work, but everyone else only gets paid while they are employed.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

The Board made it clear last night that they will have to pay out both sups, without grant funds. So, while Martin ran around telling people that he was putting his job on the line just like everyone else so vote for consolidation. It was a lie. A nonrenewal for him meant that he wouldn't have a job in 2016. For every teacher who has actually done the work of teaching our children, it was 2013. When he and Lisiscki got awards from MASA, it was a lie. The board saying that they were courageous for putting their jobs on the line was a lie. Obviously, the board never intended for either to lose their job. A public commenter who has been pulling political strings for Martin from the beginning accused Irvine of building her resume. No, it is the resumes of the sups that are traveling the national circuit to inspire awe at their work that were built. Irvine challenged her superior, a man who values loyalty over competence, knowing that if she failed, she would never have is support for any job she is looking for, including HR in the new district. That is courage....someone that truly put her job on the line.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

There are apparently some board members who believe that they should not let public opinion sway their thinking in regard to the superintendent search. Sounds like business as usual. I listened to all of the interviews in their entirety. It is my opinion that Ms. Irvine is the candidate that should be hired. She had the best responses and most complete responses to the questions asked. She was the only person who mentioned that the Willow Run part of the district needs to be brought together with YPS. She has the varied experiences (para, teacher, principal, HR Director) along with a teaching/law degree and Administrative credentials. She went over the teacher contract line by line and found the savings necessary for the district to operate this year. I have worked in the YPS for awhile now and Ms. Irvine along with Richard Weigel have been most significant hires the district has made in my time here. I believe it was a mistake when the board did not offer the superintendent position to Richard Weigel. Weigel was responsible for the New Tech HS we have now and was an innovative risk taker. To the board: DO NOT PLAY POLITICS AS USUAL and do what is best for the kids of the district. Hire an up and coming person with unique qualities to take the helm and run with it. If your unsure give her a year to year contract but STOP the nonsense of a multi-person superintendent position. LISTEN to the community, that's your job! Don't make another Weigel type mistake!


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 3:41 a.m.

We could coin a phrase and call this dysfunctional process "Weigeling," as in, "The candidate was excellent, but was Weigeled out of the job."


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

How dare this group even entertain the thought of more than one of these people! They are promising teacher layoffs, but then increase within their ranks?? Teachers were given a budget of $0 to teacher some of the neediest children in the county! Curriculum is outdated and ineffective. Hiring more upper tear people only takes away those in the trenches! DM has proven nothing. He takes credit for initiatives that began before him. He does not communicate well and admits this. Bates is in his corner obviously, but why? Maybe someone needs too keep looking in to the 'whistle blower" principal??? YCS needs a fresh start, and should now even think about someone with a cloud over his/her head. Where there is smoke, there is fire! Hire Irvine and let's get on with this mess!

Basic Bob

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

Someone must know what happens to Martin and Lisiscki if they are not retained. Do they get a year severance? Maybe we can try to set a record for most superintendents paid by one school board: Hope-Jackson, Martin, Lisiscki, Irvine, and Menzel.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

Good question. The superintendent contracts would need to be paid out, if they aren't retained. Yes - meaning both superintendents would walk away with the remaining money they are owed under their contracts. The administrative job search and increased costs isn't over once the new superintendent is hired, either. There's going to be a need to replace Sharon Irvine with an HR function across the new district, and a ton of HR work to do. Plus, paying attorney fees for the significant work to renegotiate contracts at all levels, for the new district (that she likely would have led). I wouldn't hazzard a guess for what all that will cost - but I know it will not be cheap.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

I am embarrassed and disappointed by the actions of this school board. It seems clear to me that they do not care what the community or the people with kids in the district think. Two questions: Do any school board members currently have children in the district? Is the meeting tonight open to the public?


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:31 p.m.

It appears the Board is incapable of making the best decision for the students and teachers of the new district and is attempting to wiggle out of their responsibility by looking at this ludicrouSs idea of co-superintendants. Anyone who has studied leadership dynamics understands this is not a good idea, for many reasons. And to ignore the outstanding qualifications and qualities of a candidate like Sharon Irvine for political reasons, speaks volumes about this Board. Sharon Irvine is brilliant, hard-working, well-educated and experienced. She has worked as a teacher, a principal, and an administrator, so understands public education first-hand at all levels. She holds advanced degrees in Education and Law and is bi-lingual. She is a shining star that this district would do well to hire immediately before she is snapped up by some other lucky school district. This Board should be held accountable for hiring and supporting the best candidate, not the most politically expedient candidate. Call them and make your feelings known.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:20 p.m.

Can we please not characterize the whole board as incompetent? I think there are people on the board who ARE thinking, and hopefully they will prevail. On the other hand, some on the board seem just as close-minded and bullying as the old Ypsi Board. After the meeting, I saw one board member literally yelling at a parent who was trying to explain why there is so little support for Martin in the community. He was condescending, rude, and absolutely uninterested in her opinion. It was shocking, frankly, and does not bode well for the district.

ypsi 1

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.

Garrett we all know it's you talking. Time for all to agree on new blood. Sharon Irvine!


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11:02 p.m.

That is very unfortunate elgin. If the newest and most independent trustees who came from wisd are not independent and on the side of change the system is doomed. That poor input with no context on that particular topic from that particular trustee is disturbing. If missyypsi is to get their wish that the whole board not be characterized as incompetent then there would need to be evidence that is not the case.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Agreed that not all the board members are alike. But that said - last night was the night for leadership, and leaders to emerge on the new board ... and if there indeed are independent thinkers on the board, they all failed - every single one of them. Here's an example: Mr. Martin admitted in his interview that he hadn't been communicating well. It is on tape. Yet he was in no way held accountable last night by a single trustee. Even Maria S-E, a professional PR/communications person, made a remarkable statement (I say "remarkable", in that what she said flew in the face of leadership and good decision-making, as well as her own professional expertise). She lauded DM for having established some communications teams. She mentioned that she had written a letter to DM suggesting there be such teams (obviously she saw a need), and was surprised that he had already created them. OK - fine, he did create them. But MS-E never made the connection that DM's communications efforts were obviously not effective or working, evidenced by her own professional recognition that more was needed. Instead, she complimented him and somehow managed to turn an important failure into an artificial strength. That's just a single example - but the night was chock full of them ... as if the entire board meeting was conducting an elementary school-like "opposite day".

Top Cat

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

The Chicago Cubs tried something like this in 1961 and 1962 instead of having a manager. Nuf Ced-

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

does this mean there are clearly two that are ideal candidates? if there are two, do they split one superintendent's salary 50/50? then let's see who still would accept the job.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

I like it....a superintendent custody arrangement. Could it be 3 days on and 2 days off, alternating. A day, B day? I think Lisiscki will get every other weekend. Sorry Lisiscki.

common sense

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

Unless the candidates are willing to work for one half of the superintendant pay rate then any job sharing plan for the superintendant can only result in a reduction of the number of educators that are available to provide a learning experience to the kids. This means increased class size! All of the Board members give lip service to "this being about the kids and their education" then they sit in their chairs and pontificate BS about what a great job the two superintendants have done to create two failing school districts and they want to re-hire them to lead the new unified district down the same path. I threw-up a little in my mouth when I heard that! *Notice to the Board. If you like being on the board, then listen to the community, if you don't, you won't be on the board very long! We vote!


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

By far, the best rationalization of the night was that one candidate should be retained because the candidate had weathered so much withering criticism and yet was still standing. This, the board explained, was a mark of resiliency. There was no discussion of why the candidate had been criticized, or whether there might be some merit to the criticism. They just took a bad fact and spun it in the opposite direction. There will be no reasoning with this board. The process is lip service. They couldn't care less what the community thinks. They think if the community does not support the candidate that they choose, then something is wrong with the community rather than with their choice.

Just me 43

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 10:40 p.m.

Right there with you Tamara. Mrs. Boyer did not deserve to be characterized the way she was. She has a responsibility to those she represents.

Tamara Craft Larson

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

Krista Boyer is one of the most sweetest and caring people you'll ever meet. My son had her as a teacher and I am very blessed he did. I just pray that every child can have an amazing teacher like she is in their life.

Krista Boyer

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 9:24 p.m.

mzizzg, While I will not engage in a public cat fight with you, I can assure you that I am not a hateful or disrespectful individual. In past practice, YEA has always had a spot on the agenda for their report, which was not limited to public comment, or by time. What needed to be said by the union (pleasant of not) was able to be said. I find it troubling that you somehow want to berate me for speaking my mind, but defend the board members who do the same thing. The Ypsilanti teachers have been beaten down, and are scared, disheartened and feel unvalued, even before the merger was voted on, and the superintendent search began. The Willow Run teachers were in a situation which was very similar not too long ago. I fear that the new district will soon be headed in that same direction soon.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

rob r. keeds, are you serious! "They cut off the leader of a large and important group (union) in the middle of a public statement containing apparently important information." What kind of a leader is she? She did nothing but disrespect everyone in the room. First of all there are rules to be followed during public comments and she clearly had no regard for this AT ALL. She went well over her time and tried to continue despite being interrupted, twice! To top it off, her speech was pure HATE!! Should she not have to adhere to the rules because of who she is? A professional leader, should not represent themself or their group in that manner. A good leader would follow the rules and be more tactful. If she had been a little more thoughtful and had an ounce of respect she would have realized that she would go waaay over the time limit and asked some of her "followers" to fill out comment cards before she was asked to stop instead of acting entitled and trying to do it after the fact. I feel sorry for your union with leadership like that! Should the board members allow themselves to be influenced by someone like that. I hope not! Current union members should be trying to disassociate themselves from such a hateful, direspectful leader. Not defending her, because her behavior was inexcusable!!! Is that what we want to teach our children? Children don't have ulterior motives or their own agenda. They may not be qualified to choose a superintendent, but they can certainly speak to how they feel about a person, based on how that person has treated them. As well as what they have been taught by them. Good leaders lead by example! Not by trying to make themself look good by making someone else look bad.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

@rob.r.keeds: Yes, there were several comments from board members about how we should just leave the decision to our--no, THEIR--kids, because kids are so wise. At first, one might think that is absurd. Kids are not going to be analytical and objective. They are just going to go with gut feelings when they make their decision... Wait a minute! This sounds kind of familiar!


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

Power is attractive and corrupts thinking and has become an end in itself. It would not be fair to paint all the trustees with the same brush. It is the few leaders on the board that set the tone for them all. Wisd should have realized that carrying over leaders from the previous boards would recreate the old board in style if not person. The new members might as well not even be there.

Just me 43

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

This real- and very frightening. I don't have any kind of hidden agenda or special stake in all of this. I am simply a parent who wants the best education for my child. That's my agenda. I fail to comprehend how my concerns for my child and the children of our community has some amazing immediate benefit to me. I don't want to be famous or receive accolades. I won't benefit financially. I do not get why this board is so threatened by the people they serve. Perhaps I am naive, but I also fail to understand how the decisions this board is making benefits them. Their credibility is shot and now they are going to have their names and reputations tightly connected to an utter failure. I do not get it.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11:15 p.m.

They made clear that there would be no influencing or reasoning with them. They directly addressed and criticized concerned citizens for even trying. They cut off the leader of a large and important group (union) in the middle of a public statement containing apparently important information. They indicated they believe they are tasked with the responsibility to protect the children from the informed concerned and active adult public including parents. They said they do not trust the opinions of adults but take serious advice from children. This is real.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

As a voter and taxpayer in the Ypsilanti Community Schools district, I am outraged that the board would even consider am administrative structure that involves two superintendents. Having two superintendents is a recipe for disaster, both now and in the future. When I was asked to vote on consolidation, the idea was that reducing the administrative and operating costs of the district would help pull these two districts out of financial trouble. At no time did I contemplate having co-superintendents. It was NOT what I wanted then, and it is NOT what I want now. The plan was to look outside if one suitable internal candidate did not emerge. From the results of the meeting, it appears as though the board does not feel that one suitable internal candidate emerged, so let's stick with the plan and look outside. Once that has been done, if this WISD-appointed board still does not possess the intestinal fortitude to make a decision regarding the choice of ONE superintendent for the new district (internal or external), WISD should terminate the appointments of all school board members and request the assignment of an Emergency Financial Manager who is prepared and able to make the tough calls needed here and now. As a district, we have neither the time nor the resources to construct a new administrative model simply because sentimental school board members want to cling adamantly to the past.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:39 p.m.

There is one suitable, indeed, outstandingly qualified candidate, and that is Sharon Irvine. This Board is attempting to perpetuate cronyism and incompetence by finding a way to retain two superintendents who have presided over failing districts. Sharon Irvine came back to Ypsilanti from Northville because of her concern for the state of this district and felt she could make a contribution. She is eminently qualified for the job, having held positions at all levels of public education. Her work ethic is amazing, and this district would do well to hire her.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

I guess the board is terrified that the candidates will probably file a discrimination suit like the prior Hope Jackson if not elected, so maybe its better they hire all of them at the expense of the School district and just play it safe so as not to ruffle any feathers, its all about being politically correct and not offend anyone who is not elected regardless of qualifications, more inline with Affirmative Action polls that were noted earlier this month.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

Where have you guys been living? Under a rock? Most superintendents are taken from internal pools with absolutely NO super experience. They're basically all presently employed principals without an ounce of the additional qualifications Sharon Irvine brings to the table. MOST supers begin from a principals job and REMAIN, if successful in the district in which they are hired. I caution the hiring of superintendents making no more than a lateral move. There's usually a reason. Kind of like hiring other people's financial advisors. Getting tired of other peoples leftovers and dumpster-diving. I want to know what we're REALLY getting before they sign the dotted line.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

Former YPSD board members should remember the lesson of Dr. Richard Weigel, or else we're going to lose Sharon Irvine to another school district. Quit wasting time and hire Sharon. Sheesh.

Millicent Little

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

I agree AdmiralMoose. I have had the pleasure of working with Sharon Irvine as a peer (we were teachers in the same building), under her as an administrator (when she was principal of PDC) and in her current capacity. She has been of the most professional, knowledgeable and consistent colleagues that I have had the pleasure of working with. Teachers in this district trust her and know that her decisions are based in experience and are research based. She has ties to this community and has the best interest of ALL at heart; I have never experienced her making a professional decision based on pleasing a particular group of 'chosen' ones or in a self-serving manner. Shame on the board for turning a blind eye to her exemplary qualifications and experience.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

Already lost her once. We're fortunate that she came back.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 7:02 p.m.

You're absolutely right, AdmiralMoose. One of the arguments about choosing Dr. Weigel three years ago was that he had never been a superintendent (and apparently being an assistant superintendent didn't count). But, he went on to Niles, where he is doing an exemplary job and where he is truly appreciated for being the extraordinary leader he is. YPSD's board made a mistake by not hiring him. I hope this new board makes better decisions.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

Hire two or more candidates for the position of superintendent? Let's not save money, let's see if we can financially sink the new district too!


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:42 p.m.

Familiarity breeds comfort. LOL


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Longevity nor being "battle tested" is a reason for keeping or hiring a superintendent. I am both of those as a teacher. I am also fully immersed in the unification process having been on last summers committees, and the current ones. I am passionate, I came in at a low point in this district, and I have "seen it through." But I can't run a district. This district needs a breath of fresh air, a new perspective combined with a deep rooted commitment to this district and what's truly good for kids. Sharon irvine has done the job of three people already. In her short tenure here she has held staff accountable, been very visible, responsive, collaborative in community and staff connections...the list goes on and on. She has accomplished more in her short tenure here than in the whole period of the prior administrator. And increased achievement? Are you kidding? Have you seen our MEAP scores? This should weigh heavily on the present "second superintendent", Jennifer Martin. Seems with all those Las Vegas and Orlando conferences she attends she would have picked something up. It's time for the team of Martin and Martin to move on. Let someone else become heirs to their financial and achievement gaps. The board was flawless in their description of Sharon Irvine's qualities and connections to the required criteria for superintendent. Martin's and Lisiscki's feedback was cursory. The board fumbled to find anything closer than comparing each to an old comfortable pair of longer functional, a poor fit, full of holes, but hard to toss. More of what doesn't work. doesn't work. And this board wants to double that indemnity! C'mon board...let go of the slippers and replace them with something that will put a real spring in the step of this district.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:18 a.m.

@mzzzzz The paper says because she wasn't a local. Not the case here. Locals matter. They understand their community. And when she has the support of the majority of the community and all staff, I think she qualifies as a local. The bigger question....why didn't DM get a single parent or staff member from HIS district? That is being known and denied.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 11:09 p.m.

Being battle tested can be a good thing. But they are using the term to describe someone who receives deserved criticism and makes excuses for himself while being allowed to continue to perform poorly. Anyone disparaging ms. Irvine is out of line. She has not done anything unprofessional or insult the public like your husband ms garrett. You should be ashamed of yourself.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:45 p.m.

If Ms. Irvine is soooo great, why didn't she get a second interview at Tecumseh????? Apparently they weren't as impressed with her resume as you are. Too bad you aren't doing the hiring.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

It's at times like this that I take comfort in the immortal words of Lovin' Spoonful: "Did you ever have to make up your mind? You pick up on one and leave the other one behind. It's not often easy and not often kind. Did you ever have to make up your mind?"


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

While I appreciate the desire to innovate, this idea of multiple superintendents is not being brought forward because of a vision for the new district. It just seems as if the board is trying to please everyone and, unfortunately, their job is to make many really tough decisions -- starting with this one.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 4:10 a.m.

@mzzzzz Perhaps Willow Run is forgetting that Ypsilanti exists. You were sold a bill of goods. Right now the consolidation is Willow Run + Board + Dedrick Martin. Maybe you should have just invited Martin to co-sup with Lisiscki. Just because you think your husband's in power now to bully the entire Ypsi community and staff doesn't make that so either.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

LOL, BEGGING for change! More like BULLYING for change. Have the people in the Ypsilanti community forgotten that they are not the only school system a stake here? The people in the Ypsilanti community have a reputation of trying to manipulate and bully the school leadership into doing what they want. Don't do what we say and we'll drag your name thru the mud. You are the ones who should be embarassed for such blatantly hateful behavior! Hate speech will get you what you want every time! NOT


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

They are not trying to please everyone AT ALL. They are trying to please a very small group of people. They are most certainly not trying to please the Ypsi teachers and parents, groups who are BEGGING for a change!

sad day

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2 p.m.

my, my, my.......With school of choice the Ypsilanti district already had more Willow Run students then their own district had. One of the complaints in the Ypsilanti district was that they were top heavy in administration compared to other districts. Lets get real!!!!!! By D. Martins own admission he was too busy to address problems within the district, those decisions were than placed on the shoulders of Sharon Irvine. Martin was never qualified to be Superintendent. The Ypsilanti district has been known to hire other districts rejects..... Not only does Sharon Irvine have all the qualifications she also has a law degree. That shows additional savings to the district. It seems the more education the Board has, the less common sense they have. Martin was so over his head he had to get an assistant superintendent hired, thus the hiring of Jennifer Martin. If employees are downsized, so should administration. It made no sense to continue to hire administrators with enrollment on such a decline. I hope this board uses the 6.2 million from the state, better than what they have in the past. Still endorsing Sharon Irvine.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

I can't believe I am reading that the board may hire two superintendents. This is crazy, make a decision. From reading this article it appears that Bates sure seems to favor Martin. Remember that you represent the entire community.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

Super cute that Don almost giggled and said to David, "Laura and Dedrick, they are like you and me, aren't they?" Yep. Just alike.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

The "Fix" is in. This was the plan all along - to keep both Martin and Lisiscki. This plan has overcome several bumps in the road. First, the union goofed things up by insisting they not just pick one of the superintendents. That is why the board selected MLI to go through a short process to make it look like they considered other options. They probably assumed not many people would speak up, out of fear for their livelihoods... but MLI threw a monkey wrench into the process, when they surfaced feedback from stakeholders indicating there was little support for the two superintendents. Whoops. The mistake MLI then made was, they assumed the board would (could) legitimately evaluate any other candidate based on the criteria they established, merit, credentials, district support, and of course the interviews. That is not the case - and it is embarassing. The MLI created a headache for Bates, Garrett and friends - because now the deal that they were working with the two current superintendents in their own self-interest was going to be more exposed as inauthentic than they'd like. But they went ahead and did it anyway, with Bates setting the stage early by chastising the community for being vocally concerned about actual superintendent performance. Embarassing. Last night was a debacle. There was a complete suspension of reality, and an emergence of a bizarre mantra that would make Orwell proud. "Bad performance = battle tested", "Forced avoidance of an emergency manager = being a visionary, awarded leader, "Admitted poor communications performance = Distributed leadership", "Making bad decisions = strong leadership".... and on & on. Outrageous and embarassing. The moderators here won't like this - but there are no better words to describe Bates and Garrett last night than "bullies" and "insular". This is what WISD could come up with? Embarassing. The fix is in. You can lead a horse to


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

Ran out of characters ... that last part was, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

So much for the "consolidation". Maybe the two superintendents can even review each other. Win-Win!


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Did anyone else think it was inappropriate for Mr. Martin and Ms. Lisiscki to be seated at the board table during this discussion?

In doubt

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

And see the article that says now they may keep both high schools open. Yep.....consolidation! Just to keep the emergency manager out.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

Seriously!? Make a decision and hire one. What's the point of consolidation if you cut teachers and then bloat the number of administrators to avoid hurting feelings or disappointing someone. I doubt that as all the teachers reapply for their jobs that the board will consider team teaching so that no jobs are lost! If the whole point is to reduce costs, reducing the number of administrators should be a top priority. On top of that, why hire a search firm when there are apparently three strong internal candidates? What a waste of our money!


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

Don't be silly, mrs garrett. No I was not saying anything about m. little. I was pointing out that you are massively confused about the difference between hateful speech and legitimate or deserved criticism. Well to be honest youre probably not confused just being dishonest. You dont feel sorry for anyone elses children, mrs garrett. Not when you defend the actions of the board and the overt dismissal of the concerns of all the parents who are speaking up to defend themselves and their families against what you are supporting. Again that is speaking up to defend themselves from this malpractice and not hateful speech as you would love to spin it for your own personal purposes. Nobody is buying what you are selling.


Thu, Feb 21, 2013 : 12:22 a.m.

rob r keeds, are you implying that Ms. Little is that kind of teacher? What is written is what I said, no more no less. Are you are a parent or a teacher? If so I feel sorry for the poor children who r learning from such a hateful person. Does frustration & being outspoken equal competent?


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

mzizzg are you saying that you prefer to have someone incompetent and accepting teaching your child than someone frustrated and vocal about incompetence? I feel sorry for your child.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

Ms. Little, you are absolutely right. However, the superintendent is the priority right now. If you are an effective teacher you should stay, despite the administrative mess. Perhaps you can make a difference. From your comments you seem to be a reasonable, respectable person.. Many of the Ypsi teachers I have heard at school board meetings do not seem share your character traits. Perhaps they can learn from your example. They are really dragging Mr. Martin's name thru the mud in a very hateful way. I don't want someone with that kind of blatant hate teaching my child.

Millicent Little

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

Colby, Thanks so much for so eloquently stating this. This just proves what I've been thinking and believing anyway; it appears that the existing superintendents are being treated with kid gloves in order to preserve their positions. However, teachers have to contend with not being given information until it is in the Ann Arbor news and having to reapply for positions knowing that this is not an assurance of employment next school year. If pain is being taken to rehire both superintendents, why is this same care not being taken to rehire all existing staff? Shouldn't the expectation be for the superintendent to be highly qualified as is for teachers?


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11:18 p.m.

Yes. Unfortunate now for staff who spoke up.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

Because only a firm like MLI would have taken the time to listen to what the Ypsilanti staff were saying about Mr. Martin. The Board would not have bothered. The search had to happen. Staff felt safer telling a consultation firm than the board. For good reason.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

Because our board is on auto-pilot. They are not creative, innovative or intelligent. They think if they keep making the same dumb decisions over and over, things will have to eventually turn around. I hope extra land comes with this consolidation, cuz they're going to drive both districts into the ground.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

If you hire three to do the job does that mean they share the salary equally of one, who checks the checker, redundancy at a premium why would anyone expect any difference from an inept board. If it takes 2 or 3 to do one job then I guess all three are not qualified to do the job of one, make sense to me.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 11:12 p.m.

Although mse did mention it would be important to retain Irvin, the board discussion was really only to retain both current superintendents. And they acted like it was a new idea that just came to them when it was really already and agreement amongst them. Fraudulent.


Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

During public input, a couple people said they voted for the consolidation because they had been assured that the leadership would not change. That's not the message I got. I (and many, many friends) voted for it because we felt it was the last hope that leadership WOULD change. Feeling a little duped today.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:43 p.m.

Yep. One board member said it clearly. No one person can do the job. Then don't consolidate. Keep two districts. Let Martin reap the EFM mess he created when he hired Houle, against advice. No one in the community voted for the consolidation to keep all administration and hand-pick teachers that feed their egos.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

How about we consider hiring a Superintendent, as an "at will" employee. No contract. Then we can see if they are doing the job based on strength of ability, as opposed to length of contract? And management by committee? Where has that ever worked?


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

I bet two out of the three interviewed wouldn't go for this idea. Only one of them would.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:39 p.m.

That is innovative. Then, when Martin is praised for lowering the drop out rate, we could ask if that means that the graduation rate went up, too. He would have to say no. Weird.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

I do applaud the consolidated board for the openness of this process. Just please remember, this person is being expected to do a lot more than the ordinary superintendent, bringing together two totally separate districts with different chart of accounts, different rules and regs, etc. and turn this into one whole district. It is a tremendous charge. We need a person who has had solid superintendent experience.

Krista Boyer

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

The board was required by law to have this process held in a public forum. It was not just out of the kindness of their hearts.

Basic Bob

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

@scarlett, So you think things got worse AFTER Doug Benit, Doris Hope-Jackson, and Sherry Washington? You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. It comes as no surprise that they struggled. Who wouldn't.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

Poor Basic Bob, They didn't run struggling districts. They struggled, and ran districts into the ground.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

Listen Biff, What we need is someone with experience, period. I've seen some really great supers come out of teaching jobs. Quit limiting the criteria. I don't have to stick my hand in a pot of boiling water to know it's hot. Sometimes you just know stuff. Check out Clinton Michigan's recently retired superintendent. Came from zero experience and gained not only the respect of its staff members, but that of administrators of the surrounding districts. They are having a hard time filling his shoes.

Basic Bob

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

I think the new district is fortunate to have two superintendents with significant experience in running a struggling district. They have been working together up to this point, but one needs to be the boss. It would be nice to know the contractual obligations to each of the potential and former superintendents under the new board.

Lets Get Real

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

Superintendent by committee is a lousy idea. Let us not educate the children by assigning the task to 3 people struggling to control the turf. Can't you hear it now - "When I was" or "In my district," we never did it that way," New district, new personnel, new approach. this is a management position - managing people: teachers, students, assets, and resources. An understanding of traditional educational systems is important, but many of the most successful schools don't operate traditionally. This is the first in the state? Let's do it like any other innovative business - differently - because it clearly wasn't working the other way.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

The whole point of consolidation was to downsize where possible. Two superintendents is not downsizing. It seems that the board is unwilling to give up on Martin even though he isn't supported as well as other candidates. Why? Is the board unable to make even one hiring decision? Ridiculous.

Millicent Little

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

Y-TownMom, This is EXACTLY why I will not be reapplying for my position at the end of this school year. This whole process is beginning in chaos and reeks of shady dealings already. If it's like this now, what will the first year of this new district look like?!


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Well said Y-TownMom! What an embarrassing circus!


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

It should be considered that it is pretty easy to get great "ratings" from the employees when you aren't the superintendent or principal. The teachers like the HR director.....but the HR director hasn't made the decisions that a superintendent has to make. When you have to make the really tough decisions, you will not please everyone. Being an HR professional is light years away from being superintendent. I'm really worried that we are considering someone who has never been a superintendent to take over a major consolidation of two troubled districts. Experience in a superintendent role is necessary. Period.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

Sharon achieved success as a first-time principal. She has achieved success as an HR director. She has a law degree, which is certainly helpful as as superintendent. As a professional, she has been successful in everything she has touched. That type of track record and dedication means as much to me as a few years of experience. She is a known quantity.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

County Kate, I did NOT once again and FINALLY..... say I support that candidate. Please reread. I'm all for an outside search. But whatever my opinion, as a taxpayer in the district for decades, I'm entitled to you are to yours.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:59 p.m.

Cash, perhaps you are unaware that Dedrick Martin had no experience as a superintendent before he came to Ypsilanti. His experience, in fact, even with the three years he has had here, does not come close to matching the experience of the other two candidates. If you don't like Sharon Irvine as a candidate, that's fine, but your argument as to why is specious.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:07 p.m.

@cash 1. No one argues that finding someone with experience as a Sup is ideal. But, finding the right Sup with experience is important. Not a sup with the experience of being battle-tested because he has made bad decisions that brought the district to its knees. Furthermore, the board is inconsistent in its concern about experience. It was Laura's "willingness to take on the superintendent role" straight from being a principal that is considered something that makes her wonderful. When used to give credit to Lisiscki, how can it be used to discredit Irvine? Clearly it can be done. Ypsi and Willow Run never had concerns about hiring people without experience in the past. Both Lisiscki and Martin had 0 experience as a sup when hired. Hard decisions do have to be made. Irvine made them as a principal at Perry when they moved to full-day kindergarten. If you think an early childhood center focused on child development wants to become a full-day kindergarten, you are wrong. Many felt that half-day was the only developmental answer. Some teachers retired because of it. Yet she did it with respect to people. Lisiscki is haled as someone who made tough cuts and still has the support of staff. Martin made tough cuts....and.....became battle-tested, not supported. Where is the difference? It is in the surging of support for someone different than Martin.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

To be clear: I did NOT say chose one of the two other candidates. I did say chose a candidate who had had experience as a superintendent. That is my opinion. I am a taxpayer. I am not an employee of the district. And I worked in higher ed administration most of my life. And my opinion remains....look for a qualified candidate with a proven track record as a superintendent.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:50 p.m.

Again, Cash ... you're labeling a person with less than 2 years of HR over an expansive 15-20 year career in education "an HR person". What you're saying flies in the face of the content of the interview, the resume, all the statements here, etc. That's another way of saying "you're being intentionally misleading".


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

Again, an HR person is NOT a superintendent. That's my stance. And to assume we will not get a good candidate on the outside is just wrong. I don't understand the rush....let's look for the best and stop assuming that we have the only three candidates in the US who want this job. Go outside and see who is available. There may very well be candidates that are willing to take on this challenge who are experienced. Why should we assume no one else wants this job??


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Cash, Sharon sat at the negotiations table for a district in dire straights and staff looking at insurmountable concessions. Martin was never at the table. Sharon made every single difficult decision there was to be made, and rewrote the contract in language that saved the district $$. She neither pleased everyone then, nor does she now. Pleasing everyone is not synonymous with the trust of the people. It was this quality and her knowledge of the law that allowed her to dismiss attorney services at negotiations and deal head on with the union and all the really tough decisions to be made. The only decisions I have ever seen Martin make came from books, not backbone. You don't work here, you have no idea what it is you don't know. Ms. Irvine is popular due to her professionalism. We're not picking a prom queen .


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

And Cash ... I'll apologize for the tone I used in the earlier response that you or someone else apparently didn't like. I do feel that it reflected the tone of the specific things the board said to the public last night. and I do believe that the superficial dismissal of Irvine's candidacy by you here and the board last night are very similar. People might not like my statement above about not watching the interviews, but I remain skeptical that an objective observer of the interviews would put the label on Irvine that you did. Someone with a 15 years of teaching and principle experience in multiple districts at all levels, with special ed and other masters degree(s), with a law degree and experience in contract negotiations, HR and other areas of district operations ... in addition to being a doctoral candidate at EMU .... does not deserve to be labeled an "HR professional" in the way you did. Your label doesn't fit. At all.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

I "get" what you're saying, Cash. But we need to stay grounded in reality. You are not going to get the proven, experienced, external superintendent that, heck - everybody would want. That person doesn't exist. That's why the district got stuck with Martin in the first place - he was passed on the first time he interviewed with Ypsi, and was only hired when they couldn't find someone/anyone else. You're trying to order off of the menu - you want prime rib at a steak & shake - and you're going to be disappointed. You're going to get someone from the community, or you're going to get someone who is "moving up" career-wise to Ypsi. The only realistic approach is to understand what you have in the 3 candidates, and choose which you think is MOST likely to succeed. If you think it is Martin or Lisiski - fine, that's your opinion. But the call for the external superhero to come in an "save Ypsi"... is a fallacy, and it is unconstructive.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

Elgin, Sorry to disappoint you, but yes I did. I have way too much money invested in this to not pay attention. And I have way too much money invested in this to believe that several people can run a district and be the ultimate decision maker. And I have too much invested to think that someone who has no proven track record as a superintendent can suddenly run a new consolidated district with still much division within (as demonstrated here and in board meetings).

greg, too

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

I've been saying this all along. And I didn't watch the interviews and have no desire to do so. All three are excellent speakers and I am sure had excellent interviews. But, like those horrible Highlander movies, there can be only one. One could be hired as vice or asst. or something below, but only one superintendent. And hiring someone who has no SI experience to learn on the job is a bad idea. No matter how excellent she interviewed. Open the search to the external search candidates that you most likely paid for.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

You clearly didn't watch the interviews. Period.