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Posted on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

Ann Arbor Learning Community dean leaves position as head of charter school

By Danielle Arndt

A dean who has been well-respected for her initiatives to help Ann Arbor Learning Community further its major themes of environmental education, gardening and the performing arts is stepping down.


Ann Arbor Learning Community students and visitors check out the school's library space under a new bottle cap mosaic during Mosaic Night. Dean Ticheal Jones was key in starting up Mosaic Nights.

File photo

Ticheal Jones’ last day at AALC was Wednesday.

Bill Morgan has been hired as the interim dean until a new dean can be found.

Morgan began transitioning into his new role on Tuesday, said Valerie Mates, vice president of the school’s Board of Directors.


Ticheal Jones

Ann Arbor Learning Community is a public charter school authorized by Eastern Michigan University. It is self-managed, has a $2 million operating budget for this school year and is and located on Research Park Drive near South State in Ann Arbor.

Mates said Jones was an excellent leader and did a superb job at balancing the needs of a very diverse community. The K-8 school had 270 students in 2010, up from about 220 a year earlier.

Jones was key in hiring a teacher who is a master gardener. She also founded Mosaic Nights at Ann Arbor Learning, Mates said.

Mosaic Nights are for people to come together to showcase their unique interests and to learn about the causes that others support, Mates said. She said there have been presentations from food allergy organizations, teenagers discussing what they wished adults understood about adolescents and a group of people with mental disorders attempting to raise awareness.

“They have been very successful and had extremely diverse topics,” Mates said of the Mosaic Nights.

Ann Arbor Learning Community also became certified as a Michigan Green School under Jones’ assistance.

Jones has been with AALC for three years, Mates said. A nationwide search for a new dean will take place. Simon Whitelocke, president of the Board of Directors, said AACL’s parents and the community will play an important role in selecting a new dean.

Jones did not return calls seeking comment on her departure.

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


Jessica Hughey

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

My son attended this school for the entire NINE years of his elementary/middle school education (K-8). He is now attending Skyline Public High School in Ann Arbor and was right up to par on all of his academics. In addition, my son is mildly autistic and this school was instrumental in allowing him to grow and, most importantly, to be himself without fear of ridicule or bullying. Ann Arbor Learning Community made it possible for my son to blossom into the ALL A high school student he is, today and I will be eternally grateful to all involved with AALC. I would recommend it highly to those searching for a small, intimate atmosphere with small class sizes for a child who may be challenged by a larger, faster moving school. Goodfriendofjazz, perhaps you should have stuck around a little bit longer... please do not criticize something you obviously know nothing about and didn't stay long enough to find out. Good Luck Dean Jones in your future endeavors. Former Dean, Jen Taylor, would be an excellent replacement! ;)


Sun, Jan 15, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

Mrs. Jones was a very attractive spokesperson for a not so attractive group of parents who run Ann Arbor Learning Community. This inner circle seemed to focus far too much on "alternative education" and not enough on true academics. My kids attended this school for two years and I still have no idea how academic assessments were done. Sad, because this could be a good little school if they would just put a true educational leader and expert in place who does not have to answer to a few parents who insist on the school being "experimental" in nature. EMU needs to take a good look at this charter model. It does not serve the general population which makes it an oddity.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

Sounds like she did a good job and was well respected by her school.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

Now I wonder what her salary and benefit package looked like.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 11:30 p.m.

So do I. Perhaps she was recruited for a higher paying job elsewhere. One of the downsides of Charter schools is that staff are not paid as well because the Labor Unions will not allow them to join. Many teachers say it is worth the lower pay because of the differences in working conditions.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

I do wonder what their standardized test scores looked like.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

Actually they won an award because of the test scores. I am a parent of a child who has been at AALC for 6 years, and I was drawn to the school because of their commitment to the progressive model of education, the smaller size which promotes more individual attention and the fact that social skills are built in to the curriculum. I guess it shows that if children have opportunities to learn, they still do okay on the tests even though they are taught in a developmentally appropriate way rather than having information drilled into them.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 5:59 p.m.

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Amber Messmann

Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Yes, Hank, you did indeed miss something.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

So tell me I'm all ears?


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Maybe I missed something here. If a public school displayed food allergy presentations, mosaic night and the hiring a master gardener as major achievements the ridicule would be heard around Michigan.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

Charter schools are public schools. The difference is that state funding is released through Eastern Michigan University rather than a local school district. Because EMU is a state institution, any student in Michigan can attend.


Thu, Jan 12, 2012 : 3:04 a.m.

Sounds like a sudden resignation?


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 10 p.m.

Thanks for all you've done for AALC, Dean Jones. You will be missed greatly.