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Posted on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

Ann Arbor school board considers next options in superintendent hiring

By Danielle Arndt


AAPS superintendent finalist Jeanice Kerr Swift of Colorado speaks during a public Q&A session at Skyline High School on Tuesday, July 16. Now that the Ann Arbor school board's first choice for superintendent has declined the job offer, some trustees believe the position should be offered to Swift.

Daniel Brenner I

Previous coverage:
  • Brian Osborne turns down Ann Arbor schools' superintendent job
  • Osborne: 'Carefully considering' Ann Arbor schools superintendent position
  • Superintendent candidate to enter negotiations with Ann Arbor; home district approves pay bump
  • LIVE BLOG: Ann Arbor superintendent search: School board deliberates on next district leader
  • It is one month before school starts and the candidate the Ann Arbor Board of Education selected to lead the district into the 2013-14 academic year has declined to take the position.

    Trustees, who hoped to have a new leader in place or at least chosen by the first day of school, will now head back to the drawing board to discuss other options for finding a permanent superintendent.

    The board has seen its share of leadership shakeups in 2013, losing three top school officials in central administration: Deputy Superintendent for Operations Robert Allen, Executive Director of Physical Properties Randy Trent and Superintendent Patricia Green.

    Green's departure was particularly shocking to the board and the community.

    She had been with the district for about 20 months when around 1:30 a.m. on April 11, she slid her letter of resignation to board President Deb Mexicotte toward the end of a regular Board of Education meeting.

    Green had signed a five-year contract with the Ann Arbor Public Schools when she was hired in July 2011.

    As the board discusses a date and time to meet again to flesh out potential next steps in replacing Green, some trustees are weighing a fresh start with a new superintendent search in the spring, while others are contemplating offering the position to Colorado candidate Jeanice Kerr Swift.

    Swift, the assistant superintendent of instruction, curriculum and student services for Colorado Springs School District 11, and Brian Osborne, superintendent of South Orange-Maplewood School District in New Jersey, were the two finalists selected by the board from a short list of six semifinalists. The district started with a pool of 61 applicants.

    Trustees voted unanimously on July 19 to offer the position to Osborne. However, after considering the job offer with his family for a full week, Osborne on Saturday turned down the position.

    It was unclear whether Swift is still available and would be interested in the position. She could not be reached for comment Sunday. Trustee Glenn Nelson said offering her the superintendency would be his preference.

    "I think she also was an outstanding candidate. I think that's a very good option and, in my opinion, the best option, if she's still available," Nelson said. "... I found it hard to choose between the two."

    Nelson listed a number of reasons he believes Swift remains an excellent fit for the school district: she has a "hunger" to be superintendent and is a hard worker; she has a proven track record of successfully executing challenging tasks; she is committed to being visible, "which is something clearly our community ... wants more of"; and she has thick skin and an ability to not take criticisms too personally, but rather to listen to the underlying messages of concern.


    Ann Arbor school board members, from right, Glenn Nelson, Christine Stead and Andy Thomas listen to public commentary during a previous regular board meeting in this file photo.

    Angela J. Cesere |

    "She doesn't let (the public negativity) get in the way of her own attitudes and her own ability to proceed with her work ... which could be useful in our current environment," Nelson said.

    Trustee Andy Thomas also thinks Swift a viable candidate and would consider offering her the position. However, he stressed he is not ready to advocate for this option until discussing it at the board table.

    Thomas said while he did have a preference for Osborne, Swift is a good candidate, "and I certainly don't look at her as a fallback candidate.

    "Although, I don't know if she would be inclined to consider an offer from us or how much of a problem it might cause her to know she was not our first choice."

    Offering the job to Swift, their second finalist, is just one of many possibilities for trustees.

    Mexicotte said the board could choose to go back further into the pool to see if there is another candidate it would like to consider for the position. Trustees also could elect to have an interim superintendent in place for longer and to conduct a new superintendent search "at some point in the future."

    Deputy Superintendent for Human Resources and Legal Services David Comsa currently is the interim leader for the district. Trustees said they could leave him in the position or select a new interim superintendent.

    "It will be interesting to see where people are after having about a week to consider what the other options would be if Osborne was unable to join us," Mexicotte said.

    Thomas said he would not be in favor of going back deeper into the pool.

    "I think when we were discussing the candidates we felt there were two that clearly were superior to the others," he said. "Perhaps there will be some board members who will want to go back, but I would rather start a new search than pick through the candidates we had already decided were not as well qualified."

    School board Vice President Christine Stead said the leadership team Ann Arbor has in place, including the interim, is a good team and she has seen progress in communication styles already.

    Nelson said the only reason he could see to change interim leaders is if Comsa was needed in his former role because of a large work load in human resources.

    Stead favors keeping the leadership team in place and starting a new search in January or February.

    "School is starting soon and our team has been working on scheduling and staffing all summer long," she said. "I know the team is going to be focused intently on getting the school year going and I want to give them some opportunity to make some progress on those things that we've set in place already."

    Stead said she believes the district's existing team can handle this school year and the next budget cycle. The internal audit the board approved in June will help with those items and provide guidance for the group, she said.

    One consideration of waiting six months to launch a new search that is not yet clear is how the district's "satisfaction guarantee" clause with Ray & Associates would hold up.

    The board was able to use Ray & Associates for its current search at little to no cost to the district because Green left the district within a two-year period from her hire date, enacting the guarantee with the consulting firm.

    It is unknown whether the next search would still be free, if the board decided to again use Ray & Associates.

    Stead said the board knew its recent search would not be completed during the optimal time frame for superintendent searches.

    "It was nice to see the level of high quality candidates we received, though, even in an off-timing situation," she said. "I think that speaks well to the desirability of our district. ... So I'd like to see us get all our ducks in a row this year so we can have an ideal search season ... and work on making the timing better for everyone."

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



    Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 10:55 p.m.

    this woman is nuts if she takes this job without a guaranteed number of years and guarnteed wages for all these years unless that is she is guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:28 p.m.

    Ann Arbor - ya just gotta love it. Two weeks ago there was a slate of candidates for Sxhool Superintendent. Imagine for a moment Osborne had bowed out at the last minute before his interview and Swift and Edmondson became the top two finalists. Despite a loud outcry from some Thurston rebels, Swift was chosen to be the new SI. Odds are pretty good the majority here would now be chattering just like a new fiancee's family- eagerly anticipating the introduction, inspection, interogation, and welcoming of a potential new family member.. Instead, since number one got cold feet and ran off before dessert, the family is so embarrassed and outraged that all suitors waiting in the wings are sent packing as well and the fiancee banished out to the woodshed for re-eduction. Stay tuned for another exciting episode of the Honey Booboo show after a word from our sponsors..


    Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

    it's's's oh so true.


    Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 1:14 a.m.

    DonBee - Not the way politics work in the BooBoo family. The outcome is always rigged before the vote. So, you want to hold up until next year. Hmmm. Not one of them Thurston rebels are ya? Well, good. BOE could use a few more intelligent community leaders. In fact, you are one I would nominate for SI. But then again what do I know about the "rigors" of academic competition?.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 10:57 p.m.

    LXIX - It would have been Dr. Swift and Dr. Hastings. Dr. Edmondson was fourth


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

    The reality with high level job candidates today is that most of them will have employed spouses with their own careers. UM has an entire office dedicated to finding a position for spouses of individuals they want to hire, even if it means "creating" a position for the spouse where none presently exists. This rankles the rest of the staff who have to go through the proper channels to get hired and don't have someone at the UM creating a job for them. Nevertheless, this is the reality. Not too many spouses today will follow the coattails of an executive being wooed by an organization unless there is something for both of them. It's a package deal these days, for better or worse. The last super (Green) had a spouse that was a pediatrician? if I recall correctly and he wasn't about to leave all of that behind and move to AA. The other reality is that this super position is $25,000 LESS than Green's salary. That's pretty hard to swallow, making 10% less than your predecessor for doing the same job.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

    So sorry if this has already been said but I just can't slog through another 70 comments that are more of the same old crap. How about this novel idea? Let a Deputy Superintendent do the job for 6 months and if they do a good job promote them into the Superintendent position. No cost to AAPS for a new search, travel to all of the top candidate's home districts, no cost to fly them here for interviews. We end up with someone who is already familiar with AAPS and have proven themselves capable of doing the job. Give them a somewhat short contract with a renewal clause contingent on a job well done.


    Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

    that makes to much sense Lola

    Roger Kuhlman

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 7:54 p.m.

    The AAPS has been mismanaged by the BOE and its administration for decades. Anyone who has partipated in system for any length of time is suspect and should not be promoted unless they have a clear plan to clean up the financial messes the system has been immersed in.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

    The BOE should consider reaching out to one of the former emergency managers at other in-state districts. Offer them the position, they have the experience in making the critical decisions about finance and are accustomed to public ridicule and backlash. Perhaps they would agree to stay on long term, but if you could get one here for a few years the district might then be more attractive, and we might see a better pool of candidates as a result.


    Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 11:01 p.m.

    maybe they should bring Robert Bobb in .He at least would shake things to their core. How about getting Uof M and EMU's education depts. involved in this.

    Roger Kuhlman

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 7:49 p.m.

    That sounds like a promising option. Why don't we try it.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

    I can think of at least 2 retired Ann Arbor Principals that are great candidates for a 2 year "transition" superintendent position. They know the district, the strengths, weaknesses, players. They have been through (been instrumental in) prior redistricting, they have the respect of their peers and the community. They would be able to make some of the hard decisions quickly and get us going in the right direction so that a new person could come in when the district is in better shape.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 9:55 p.m.

    You are correct, J.A.

    J. A. Pieper

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 9:21 p.m.

    I am willing to bet the person making this post is thinking of Galardi as one of them, but please save us from his reappearance in AAPS, we've been there, done that, with this guy!


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

    I've been here for more than twenty years and can't think of anyone. Who are you thinking of as possible transition candidates?


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

    With all of Ann Arbor's homegrown talent, why can't this position be filled locally?


    Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 11:03 p.m.

    because it's not politically correct to hire locally. another reason why i hate P.C..

    Jack Gladney

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

    This whole process has seemed to be a bit of a joke since its inception. You have a school district exercising a search firm's "buy one, get one free" option because their first result turned out to be a dud. When one of the principals of Ray and Associates was asked about the number of candidates they had screened for the position, the response was that numbers weren't important in the search (as in, "Shut up, we got your money; this is your freebie.") And I have yet to see or hear a further explanation of the sentiment held by numerous board members, as reported by this blog, that four of the seven candidates that were selected by the board as finalists were not even qualified to hold this position. At this point, the best option would be to offer Comsa a permanent position and let him show some forward progress and a pathway and then reevaluate things in a year. Clearly, most of this board is out of it's depth on these matters.


    Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 11:05 p.m.

    Consultants are after the $$$ and so will tell what they think u want to hear.

    Basic Bob

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

    i don't like recalls, but these have been earned. throw the bums out.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

    The last time I checked the school was still getting ready for the new class year maybe they should do a pilot program and leave the interim with a 5 % raise and let him stay for a couple of years and then bump someone else for another short run and see who is more effective. What's the difference they only last a few years anyway.

    Willie Reid

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

    If we're looking at an interim superintendent for a year, how about giving Dr. Edmondson a try? Maybe he wouldn't want the job, but at least it would give him a chance to get his feet wet. Maybe it would be his chance to prove himself.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

    A super job is not a "learn on the job" position. It's the executive level position for the entire district. Dr Edmondson needs to serve his time in the assistant super role and then move into a super job, maybe at a smaller district. That's how it works.

    Willie Reid

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

    Is the current guy qualified?


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

    There already is an interim superintendent. Lets not throw money at someone who isn't qualified just for kicks.

    Jack Gladney

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

    AAPS's superintendent position is not a position for one to get on the job training. That is what deputy positions are for. Comsa is in place and already knows the ins and outs of the job. He's seen it from the inside on a daily basis. Why would you take someone with his experience out of the position just to put in someone with even less experience?


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

    What's the hurry to hire a superintendent? Clearly the district would have been much better off without the last one. Let's take the next year and find someone who wants to be in Ann Arbor and is willing to make a strong commitment to the community for goodness sake. We don't want anyone who doesn't really want to be here. I'm sure Comsa won't do any real harm in the next year so let's just go slowly.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

    The AAPS BOE is so scared of who they hire because they know that who ever it is, they will remove the idiots who are running this show and replace them with people who know how to run a place like this. They need to get the principal they interviewed and get him into this position. He is the most qualified. But sadly the BOE and Balas are running the show and they know that who ever comes in against them? Will remove the problems that are plaguing this system in the first place. Glad to hear that Osborn is not coming to town. Solves an east coast problem. Now, lets hire the principal and move on. Beginning with getting rid of incompetent board members and an over priced Balas.


    Tue, Jul 30, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

    From the sounds of things and the posters who gave me negative votes? Can't wait until we become another Inskster. closed due to lack of money and lack of a way out of this mess. Maybe AAPS needs an ER after all? Can't wait to see this place fail and the BOE on top of it all.

    J. A. Pieper

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 9:17 p.m.

    The current principal interviewed would ruin AAPS before the BOE had a chance to finish the current job they are doing! He is not qualified, in any way. He has not been successful at any of the building he has been at, his people skills are great if you are willing to bow down and feed his own ego, and there are so many teachers/community members who do not want/or support this person, it would be a total disaster for the district. There is the small group of people who want him, who have shared their interest in a recall of the BOE members, but this district is about a lot more than his loyal fan club.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

    The principal was one of the least qualified. Seriously. Lets not hire someone just because they're local, who will "utilize resources" since he doesn't know what he's doing.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

    What a phony "rationale" he has given for not accepting...very lame, to say the least. Also, my guess that the REAL reason is that he had no clue how hands-on the BOE is, so maybe he thought wise. We think the local threesome candidates should merit serious consideration>


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

    The parents and I am one of them, got a copy of that letter and it was pretty lame if you ask me. Something to do with a family illness, young children and deciding it was not in their best interest to move to Michigan. So glad he changed his mind. We need someone from Michigan to solve Ann Arbors problems. Not some yo yo from the east coast like green was.

    Steve Hendel

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

    AAPS = Osbourne's bargaining chip ?

    Joel A. Levitt

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

    I urge to thoroughly report on each candidate for Superintendent of Schools, answering all questions such as the following. • How well have the candidates done in their present positions? • Were they liked by their superiors, by their peers and by their subordinates? • How do they think the racial achievement gap can be cured? • Do they think that the AAPS should be involved in pre-schooling? • What role do they see for computers in the school system? • Do they believe that we should we have a vocational education program? • Which foreign languages do they think should be offered, and in what grade should they be introduced? • What thoughts do they have about opportunities the AAPS should offer students for participating in the affairs of the general community? • How would they mobilize the resources of the UM and of Eastern Michigan? What else should we know about the candidates?

    Roger Kuhlman

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

    More important to know is if a potential Superintendent knows that taxpayers pay the bills and she is capable of effectively controlling exploding education costs.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

    Mr. Levitt - There are a number of achievement gaps, economic, racial, and others. To focus only on the racial one is a mistake. Probably the largest one is the economic one, yes there is a racial component to it, but it is the one that if solved, will benefit the most students.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

    Kind of reminds me of the situation when U of M hired Rich Rodriguez. A bunch of money is spent conducting a nationwide search, a hot-shot candidate is decided upon who then adds further conditions to the agreement, (In Rich Rod's case the buyout of his West Virginia contract, with Osborne it was a job for his wife). The same thing happens with the Police Chief, City administrator etc. We spend buckets of money on a search only to find candidates who have no connection to Ann Arbor and to whom self-interest is the #1 priority...they then leave after 3 or 4 years for a higher-paying gig elsewhere while we ignore the extremely deep pool of talent right here in Treetown. It also sends a signal to other very talented employees, ( Mr. Trent for example), that they will never be promoted to the top job, as it will always go to an outsider, so they leave.

    Nicholas Urfe

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

    I thought buying the kids iPads would solve everything.

    Roger Kuhlman

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

    We have not thrown enough money at the problem. More spending that is the innovative solution.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

    I Pads, I Pods and everything electronic did not solve what is missing from AAPS.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

    Focus on candidates with financial management experience and someone who can navigate the political quagmire that is AAPS. It's going to take a tough cookie to implement a financial plan that involves closing schools and making even more deep cuts and then surviving the fallout. Not many people are willing to take that on.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

    No one will survive it. If you look at statistics, redistricting typically ends the tenure of a Superintendent. The best thing is to find someone who will do the job over a 2 year time period and really clean up the structural issues with the budget and the district. Then happily move on to other challenges. Looking for someone long-term when the community will be very unhappy after the budget fixes and the redistricting is a pipe dream.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

    "Stead favors keeping the leadership team in place and starting a new search in January or February." Why wait? Start a new search now and hope to have someone in place by spring or possibly mid-year. ************** The board needs to find someone who is willing to take on the financial challenges that are reality. The other finalist may have other options and may not want to start in a new job as second choice. Start over, and use a different search firm to identify candidates.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

    And I wouldn't want a candidate that is willing to leave mid year. A person with good character wouldn't do that to a school district either.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

    One belief is that the high quality candidates are not looking to take a new job mid-year.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:02 p.m.

    this guy got just what he wanted,a free trip to michigan! he played the board like a bunch of fools! he new dam well that he wasn't going to take the job when he got here and he strung them along just to boost his ego!!! outsiders don't have any sense of community and are only looking for the 'BIG BUCKS'. this guy is as unprofessional as they come ! lets hope the board learns from this and hires someone from the community !


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

    Hate to say it, he got a free ticket to ride and I believe he was also in town to do the Art Fair. How cool is that I wonder? Sadly this guy I agree with everyone here, stroked and rode it so he could stroke his own ego and get a better raise in salary at the school he is currently working at now. Hey look at me, I am Mr Bigshot. Not.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

    Yeah, that's right. He spent all that time and effort just to get a free trip to Ann Arbor. Maybe he and his family spent a few moments reading commenters and said, these idiots will make life impossible for all of us, so it is better to stay with what you know then jump into this community. Maybe his current employer made promises of changes or did something different to keep in place. I have interviewed for many jobs in my life and been made many offers. I have turned down far more than I have accepted. It is hardly for the free trips that I talk to these companies

    Chester Drawers

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

    Whoopee, a free trip to Michigan!!!


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

    This is embarrassing. It's too bad that Brian didn't put more forethought into the plans that it takes to move from the East Coast to the Midwest. Whatever his true reasons are, the board needs to move on quickly and they should have one or two other back up candidates in the event of what happened, happened.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

    That is exactly what he did. Got a better raise from his bosses on the east coast to keep him there. Contract up? Negotiate a better deal. Happens all the time in the big corporate world.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

    Money talks!

    Martha Cojelona Gratis

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

    Maybe just eliminate the position


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

    Bill: You're assuming that the current BOE members can be educated. One believes that school finances are rocket science. Another thinks $5,000 is just pennies. Collectively they do not like each other, can't work together, etc., etc., etc. A tough challenge even for the best candidate. Maybe, just maybe this will be the reason that no viable candidate will accept the job.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

    If you have no Superintendent, who will run the District, the BOE? AAPS needs a strong leader to take charge and run the district in an effective manner while at the same time educating the BOE how to be an effective BOE.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

    Snyder has been making exemptions lately. Maybe he might for this district? Get a sub and after 150 days let them go? Not a bad idea.

    Chester Drawers

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

    State law requires a school district to have a superintendent.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:53 a.m.

    I'm not sure the Ann Arbor board recognizes the depth of the problem they face. Let's go ahead and assume that Brian Osborne negotiated in good faith. Even so, the field of candidates this round didn't strike me as particularly stellar (the fact that so many people have reservations about the #2 choice speaks volumes). And last time, the hiring process end with an out-of-touch, ill-equipped superintendent who lasted less than two years. I think the reason is simple: the board wants to hire a proven, smart, driven superintendent to run Ann Arbor. But anyone who meets those qualifications is smart enough to figure out what they're getting into. Which means that this "nationwide search" process is simply ludicrous. Would you leave your current job go halfway across the country, for the same pay, to clean up a mess? I didn't think so. As a result, the only way for this to have a good outcome is to compromise on the qualifications in some way. The bad way is to hire an underachieving superintendent. But the smart way to do it would be to look carefully at the career trajectory of folks who aren't currently superintendents but are interested in taking on a challenge. Promote a high-achieving principal who is deeply involved and invested in the local community. Or go sideways and find someone with a background in educational policy, who would bring academic credentials and the political competence to deal with Lansing. Would it be a gamble? Yes, but it's the best shot Ann Arbor's got at the moment.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

    Unfortunately, in smaller districts you are not afforded the luxury of an out of state search. When the person I referred to was hired, everone I know scratched their head and said really! Smaller districts are not always looking for "new" ideas, they just want/hope for continuation and wish to hire a "yes man" so to speak. What I dont think people understand is that most superintedents and the like are rarely hired with the support of the teaching community and this is why there is a trust issue. When the candidate the administration decides to hire does not have the support of the people they will manage, trust issues always appear. Especially when they have previous baggage that is known or comes to light. See the article on Carpenter elementary school principal who was promoted from within the disstrict even though there was some who questioned why so soon. This is common in education.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

    If what you say is true in South Lyon, bubbap, then they selected the wrong person to develop. We have to trust that correct candidates are selected for development. You are showing us that trust is a fleeting concept.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

    Too bad we don't have any "high achieving principals." Why would we dig ourselves into a deeper hole with an inexperienced SI? This is not a cushy position.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

    Be careful what you wish for! South lyon is going thru this process of promoting central administration from within, albeit in a slower manner. The woman they promoted to be next in line for superintendent has absolutely NO people skills and threatens teachers with discipline when they question her. She obviously has something admin wants but other teachers and support staff cant figure out what "that" is. If and when she takes over, it will be a dark day for the south lyon community. My point is that extending your search to beyond ann arbor and michigans boarders will provide AAPS with the best possible candidates. What AAPS needs to find out is how they could enter into such a long interview and negotiation process with a person who ultimately wasnt interested in moving. Maybe they should just enter negotiations with their top two candidates and decide who is really serious about the job. When you have trouble filling a high paying and prestigious position in an organization and community that is considered a top 100 place to live in the country, that speaks volumes about the people doing the hiring AND potentially the politics in the district.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

    The BOE is so clueless that they did not realize that they were being taken for a free ride. Osborne does not have to clean up a mess in NJ. But does in Ann Arbor. Guess his shovel wasn't big enough? BOE? Time to be recalled.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

    "I'm not sure the Ann Arbor board recognizes the depth of the problem they face. " Bingo!


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:44 a.m.

    Stopping, taking some time for reflection is a good idea. Does the board know what they want? Can they agree? Can they create an advertisement for the person they want that has the quality of the districts they compete against? Do they have a clear set of metrics to measure a superintendent against? What are the 3 most important things that MUST be done in the next 1 to 3 years? Can these things be realistically accomplished? Has the board assessed the strengths of the leadership team that is in place at Balas? Do they know what type of a leader they need? Until the board can come together on metrics and goals no Superintendent can succeed. There are 3 major types of District leaders. Dr Green and Dr. Swift are instructional leaders - focused mostly on what is taught and how it is taught. Dr. Osborne is a team leader - leaving details to a support group. The third type is a financial/structural leader who typically focuses on budgets and how things are done from a management point of view. With Dr. Flye in place the district has a strong leader for instruction and curriculum, if the board wants to drive her out, then picking someone with the same strengths will do exactly that. The internal audit is going to turn up some stinky problems, they always do. The question is will the board be willing deal with the issues, or will they turn it right back over to Balas and move on? The ball is clearly in the BOE's court. The question is can they pick it up and really deal with it this time?


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

    Another one flew over the cookoos nest...


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

    All these complaints about the school board, yet they get elected, and repeatedly, ins some cases. Don't vote for them, next time around!


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

    Our community DID vote for our board members the last time around, which was after the AAPS teachers gave a concession on their salaries. and then after the board approved the increased salary for the new superintendent and also after the wee hours decision to give generous pay increases to her cabinet. Cut the teachers pay and then use the savings to increase pay to administration- a "Let them eat cake" attitude. Some superintendents (including Osborne) have donated their raises back, or taken similar pay cuts as the teachers (Roberts). The voters spoke. Most of them are not commenting on Ann, but they spoke with their ballots.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

    Apathy prevails in AA, don't you know. Vote turnout is normally very low. Having to wait until an election to correct ineptness, poor leadership and bad decisions is rather tough to swallow.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:01 a.m.

    After reading this article and assuming what is being reported is accurate and factual, the AA BOE is proving again that they are inept, clueless, lost and arrogant. I have no faith that they would even know a good supt. candidate from a poor candidate. Once again, the school system personnel (teachers, support staff, students and tax paying parents) will be the ones to suffer from their poor or lacking leadership. Go figure!


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 5:17 p.m.

    "They are inept, clueless, lost and arrogant. I am not any of these in my career, nor have I ever been this way." Really? Based on your comments here, I think I would prefer the board members to you, when it comes to any position of responsibility. If you are so competent and wise, why don't you infuse your comments with such qualities?


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

    You are correct, arborarmy. I do not accept any responsibility for any of the BOE's actions. They are inept, clueless, lost and arrogant. I am not any of these in my career, nor have I ever been this way. I would gladly join a new AA BOE if the majority of members are new. Once I joined, I would accept responsibility for my actions and the actions of the group.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

    Ahh, I get it. Transaction: you have no desire to actually assume any responsibility whatsoever for the functioning of the AAPS. Just what I thought.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

    Goober; WARNING watch out your boardering a censorship.

    Willie Reid

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

    But we are the ones that vote for them so what does that say about us?


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

    I would gladly run (PS: I have been asked to run), but my greatest fear is that I would be elected and the only new face on the AA BOE. Then I would be stuck working with the incumbents, who are …………you know my feelings!


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

    And we can expect the three of you to announce your candidacies for the BOE . . . when? Or is it easier and more fun to hurl invective from te cheap seats?

    Silly Sally

    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

    Well said, but do not forget the non-parential tax payers who also suffer from these poor decision makers.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:06 a.m.

    Well said, Goob. Short and to the point. Well said!


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 10:18 a.m.

    Can the Board learn from this experience and make changes? You could take the view that the string of bitter divorces between the Board and prior superintendents shares something in common: The Board itself as the troubled entity. Even as membership on the board changes, the patterns of ineffective school board leadership dooming needed change and stable finances has been a staple in Ann Arbor school history. A search for a new superintendent, whether it's an interim one (Comsa is an attorney, and should not be more than a place holder, and should be moved back into his overpaid regular position) or a new one, the Board needs to demonstrate to voters that it will do things differently. Commenters and BOE members defend the positives in the process and rightly so. But the district needs trustees to have the courage to face up to the errors, new and old, to turn this district around. The only board members who have shown glimmers of courage in this respect are Stead (more consistently) Lightfoot, and Thomas. The leadership troika of Mexicotte, Nelson and Patalan who lean towards emotions and kumbaya reassurance, validation and ego-stroking of one another and the district, need to step into the background before morale and cynicism in this district dips any lower.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 10:01 a.m.

    He clearly was not eager or enthusiastic in his response to the offer. They should have immediately moved on to the next runner up.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

    guess I'm just odd then. When I apply for a position, it usually means I want it... that I did all those deliberations up front. Not that I want the opportunity to decline it. I know, I'm weird that way.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

    @Ricebrnr, That is silly. People should be allowed to weigh offers and make an INFORMED decision based on what the actual offer is. People who jump at jobs when the offer arrives are usually desperate and do things on impulse rather than weighing all the alternatives. The fact that he took his time and weighed it over actually tells me it was right to offer him the job.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

    While that may be the case I left that up to another discussion. The point here is that their first choice didn't jump at the opportunity. Thus his offer should have bee revoked not declined.


    Mon, Jul 29, 2013 : 11:04 a.m.

    Swift is not the right person to lead our school system, she has no prior experience in this type of position and is weak in financial acumen. Oh - just like the AA BOE!