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Posted on Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:56 a.m.

Ann Arbor schools plan to fill 2 principal, athletic director and special education positions

By Danielle Arndt

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the special education transition coordinator position was posted.

Summer is a time for staffing adjustments at the local schools.

Ann Arbor Public Schools officials have begun the task of filling key positions and developing plans to fill others.


Pioneer High School

Pioneer High School Assistant Principal Kevin Hudson has been named the interim principal following Michael White’s retirement in June. White announced in May he would be retiring at the end of the school year to take a job at Bolingbrook High School in Illinois.

The application period for White’s former position is complete. The opening was posted both internally and externally.

“The interim position of principal at Pioneer will remain interim for now,” said district spokeswoman Liz Margolis, adding she is unsure whether Hudson will remain at the helm for the duration of the 2012-13 academic year, or if the position will be filled prior to the start of school Sept. 4. “A plan is under consideration. But no other posting will go up at this time.”

High school principal salaries in Ann Arbor are on a scale of $113,220 to $127,840. White was at step eight, the highest salary, when he left the district, Margolis said.

Pioneer’s athletic director, Lorin Cartwright, also retired at the end of the 2011-12 school year. Cartwright worked for the district for 32 years, Margolis said. She made $103,690 last year, the top of the pay scale for her position, which starts at $91,965.

An interim athletic director will be appointed next week. Like the high school principal’s position, the interim will carry out the athletic director’s duties for the “foreseeable future," Margolis said. Officials are looking both from within and from outside the school district for a replacement, she added.

Ann Arbor Technological High School Principal Shelia Brown also made a late decision to retire. She announced her retirement in June, Margolis said.

The district will attempt to fill Brown’s position internally. If it can’t, AAPS will post the position externally, Margolis said.

The salary range for the A2 Tech principal’s position is $96,975 to $109,515. Brown made $109,515 at the time of her retirement.

The Student Information and Support Services department has two openings. One was not posted immediately out of respect for former a AAPS employee, Yolanda Bell, who died June 18, Margolis said. The posting went up Tuesday for Bell's position.

Bell, 59, a transition coordinator for SISS, was killed in a traffic accident near Cadillac. She was traveling up north for a special education conference at the time of the crash.

Filling the second SISS position is currently under consideration, Margolis said. The position, an assistant director’s job, was vacated when Lon Smith left AAPS to take a job with Milan Area Schools. The salary range for a SISS assistant director is $89,845 to $101,455.

In March, SISS began reviewing its programs and how it delivers special education services to each of the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Site visits, parent surveys and an analysis of efficiencies and compliances will be part of the review.

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



Sat, Jul 14, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

I am confused about the removal of one of the comments. In the comment, the writer said that they hoped that the district would consider diversity when hiring the new principal. Why is this offensive? Last year Pioneer had 3 African American principals and 1 one white principal. The writer was pointing out that we have many asian students at school and maybe we should consider this in hiring. Are we afraid to have courageous conversations?


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

Danielle: I am confused by the following statement by Liz Margolis. "One will not be posted or filled yet out of respect for former a AAPS employee, Yolanda Bell, who died June 18, Margolis said." The job was posted this week on Tuesday according to the following link from AAPS web site.

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

Hi Wondering, thank you for alerting me to this. I checked the website and also spoke with Liz Margolis on Monday for the story, not knowing that new postings always go up on Tuesday. I just spoke with Liz again and she said, yes, the position was posted and that she was not aware an alternate decision had been made about the position. That SISS would be waiting was the last she knew. Thank you for pointing this out. The story is being corrected.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

From what little is in the article you can see that AAPS is happy to max out the pay. All the people mentioned are/were at the top of their pay scale. There is something wrong with a system that allows full pension before retirement, it doesn't matter what your age is. Why are we going to be paying full pension to someone who is working at another full time job? I thought that pension was a benefit reserved for retirement. Wasn't he only here five years? Is this a result of poorly negotiated contracts? (Poorly negotiated from the taxpayers point of view, that is.)


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

DJBudSonic - It is the result of a pension system that exists on the books - much of it from when people lived a much shorter life span. Doing it right - hitting every block at the minimum, you can retire from the schools at 47 (I posted how a few weeks ago here). Almost no one does, but it is possible - remember the system is statewide, so you can move district to district and keep the retirement intact. I know a couple dozen former school and city employees who retired as soon as they could, so they could take another full time job in another state. They draw that salary AND their full pension. Wonderful system we have. Mr. White should draw over $50K in pension and then get his roughly $120K in salary - when he hits 65 he will draw (if he gets no raises) another roughly $60K in pension from the second job. Not bad, not bad at all. I always said he was the smartest administrator at AAPS.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 6:53 p.m.

Obviously Tex does not know what an Athletic Director does. Loren does a million little things that make athletics work at Pioneer/Skyline. Whenever there is a playoff, its up to her to get the results in the hands of the MHSAA officials, make sure the venues are ready to be played upon, make sure that the officials are on site, and on and on. A small thing, hire coaches! She did a good job and spent many hours over 40 per week to make sure that athletics ran smoothly at Pioneer/Skyline. I worked with her in the football program at Pioneer for quite a few years. I wish her well in retirement.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

I am confused about the open SISS positions. If it is not dire that they fill them, how necessary are they at all? Or is just because it is summer and they would be off and not helping students right now anyway? (and I don't mean to disrespect Ms Bell in any way).


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

The position is definitely necessary - I don't understand the "out of respect for Ms. Bell" part. What on earth does filling an open position have to do with respecting her? They definitely need the transition coordinator position and should be posting and filling ASAP. It's ridiculous to wait on it.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

As a former high school special education teacher(in another district) I did the transition planning for students on my caseload and helped middles school teachers get students ready for high school. Maybe Ann Arbor Schools has a higher population of students transitioning at all was just always a part of my job as a teacher. Also no disrespect Ms. Bell (she did a wonderful job)..I'm wondering is SISS considered doing this ...( returning the role to special education teachers and teacher consultants)?


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

$91.000 for a gym teacher? Wow. I am really in the wrong position. Kevin Hudson took over for Micheal White when he left for Afghanistan. As for interim? It usually means that they are giving this person a chance in these new shoes. Happened at Tappan. I wish them luck. As for that price tag? No wonder AAPS is broke.

J. A. Pieper

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 7:42 p.m.

Sorry, the person who took over for Michael White while he was in Afghanistan was Tamber Woodworth, not Kevin Hudson.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

Kevin Hudson was not the interim, when Michael White was in Afghanistan. Tamber Woodworth was the interim. She has since retired.

Tex Treeder

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

Hire an athletic director? What a waste of money. What a do-nothing position. Completely unnecessary for our children's education, and certainly lower on the priority list than having a real teacher for real classes.

Lac Court Orilles

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

Please make it a job requirement that all administrators have at least 20 years of successful experience in a classroom before moving them up to an administrative position. This way they will have enough experience to understand what a teacher goes through, to mentor teachers, and to evaluate teachers. Anything less won't earn the respect of senior teaching staff and harms ability of an administrator to lead an educational team.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Is there an opportunity to save dollars by eliminating some level of administration as natural vacancies occur? It isn't to say that any one of these four open positions might not serve useful functions, but at plus or minus $100K plus benefit costs per position, consolidating these away would represent a substantial budget savings, and would preserve funding for at least four classroom teachers.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

Layoff teachers and hire more administrators. Pay them large salaries. Gee AAPS is looking more and more like a Fortune 500 company where the people at the top get rich and the rest get...

Tony Livingston

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

@a2roots, if high school athletes do indeed out perform others in the classroom, it does not show that being in athletics is the cause. After 4 years of Pioneer, I have made quite a few observations about who exactly is playing sports there. Trust me, sports are no longer the great equalizer where a kid from either side of the tracks has equal opportunity. More and more, the sports teams are made up of kids with years of private travel team and club sports. Coaches simply cherry pick those kids, move them up to varsity and give them all of the playing time. Ordinary kids have little chance to get experience and coaching. So, a certain population is benefitting heavily from public high school sports. Many of those same kids also get the extras at home so that they can excel in the classroom.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

Don? I could not agree more with this sentiment. Also a parent of a hi school student. Who has also seen cuts in a lot of venues as well. Glad we are almost done. Won't be much left when AAPS hires more admin staff in balais and no one to teach our children.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

a2roots - There are a number of assistant and grade principals that could be slotted into these roles and the grade and assistant principal positions eliminated. As to Athletic Directors - AAPS is one of the FEW districts in the state with more than 1. Most schools have a single Athletic Director and then assistants in the various buildings - why do we need 3 in the high schools with staff to support them in each? Why not one for the district and 3 lower level assistant positions - one in each building, with one set of support staff for for the whole group? Local - I have asked the AD's in each building the same question face to face and not gotten very good answers from any of the 3.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

a2roots and DNB I work for a local high school athletic program and the coach and I do all our own scheduling for our team. The other coaches in the school program have a ton of say in the scheduling of games as well. We order busses, we order clothing and jerseys as well. What does our athletic director do? So in Ann Arbor, does the AD do all the scheduling and bus set up and so on, or do the coaches tend to deal with those things? I assume a2roots that you have insight into what the AD's do on a regular basis since you are bringing it up. I know from experience, that when we schedule games with the Ann Arbor schools for the sport I coach, the AD's aren't involved. Just saying!!


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

@local: I think your idea is a good one, but Plymouth-Canton-Salem are all on the same campus, and that is why it works for them. With our high schools in three different locations throughout Ann Arbor, I don't know if that's feasible. Their outdoor facilities are shared between all the high schools. Their varsity baseball field is one of the nicest that our Pioneer players visited this year.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

@kpete...I am a product of A2 schools and have a child that is as well. Get a clue pal. Most athletes in the A2 schools out perform other students in the class room and on the field. Athletics builds character and integrity, teaches team work and sportsmanship. Our young people need this and deserve it and we as a community need it as well. @local...Why is it that people spout off when they have no clue about the roles and responsibilities of someone else's job. Initially someone probably could have handled Skyline as well but now that they have a full complement of sports it would be impossible. Look around at your events and you will see the AD's. More often than not running from one to another.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

We have an AD at Skyline and one at Huron, couldn't one of those folks take over at Pioneer to save money. (see plymouth-canton, 1 AD for 3 high schools)


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

Actually I think Don has hit the nail right on the head... As a parent of a high school student (by the way are you a parent of a high school student?) I have seen slash after slash in Skyline's budget. A budget I might add that was APPROVED some time ago. I could care less about "athletics", what concerns me is "real education" and teachers being asked to suck up another freeze or paycut!!


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

So I guess you are saying the schools do not need a principals and that a school with an accomplished athletic program as Pioneer does not need an athletic director. You are kidding I hope.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:59 a.m.

Hasn't anyone realized yet that the "reporters" are simply bloggers? This isn't a paper anymore, it is an opinion piece.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

I don't see her opinions inserted here. Definitely much too much use of the passive, though. A good copy editor (not that even the A2 News had one in its day) would do wonders around here.

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

nekm1, I would welcome knowing where in this story you believe I am sharing my "opinion."


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:44 a.m.

Margolis said about the Pioneer position only that "a plan is under consideration." How about some investigative journalism that informs your readers what that plan looks like? I am only an armchair journalist, but on TV when the officials make "an official announcement" that is ambiguous (and mostly obfuscation), the reporters don't usually deliver that as "the news."

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

Floyd, I will continue to monitor the filling of key positions at AAPS and report more information to readers when available. I asked Liz Margolis for more details of the plan and what specifically was being considered, however she said the details still really are being developed. There is nothing to "investigate" here. It is not abnormal for districts to leave leadership positions open or in interim for up to a year to find the right fit or to save a little money. The purpose of this story was to report on the final "big" retirements in the district, as some parents like to know when staff is being shifted around and in which positions the new faces will be in their child's school next year.

Ron Granger

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

' the reporters don't usually deliver that as "the news." ' Yeah, on TV they spin it, they add their comments. They sigh, they whine. They seldom just report the news. How much are you paying for coverage to fund this investigative journalism that you so strongly desire? Do you think they've got 60 reporters sitting around in pork pie hats in front of their typewriters, just waiting to jump on a story and write some copy before the presses roll for the 5pm edition? The school has a temp principal. I'm thinking there are higher news priorities for the crack journalism team at

Nora S.

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

Please make the correction that Michael White did not retire and will not be drawing a pension at this time. Mr. White left AAPS for another job in another community. Our loss, their gain.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

Wow, can't wait until I retire. Maybe I'll start a second job with the state. Collect again? What a loop hole this is.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

It's sad that at a time when money is so tight, one of the 1%ers makes a decision that takes even more away from the schools.

Danielle Arndt

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

Nora, Don is correct. Michael White was eligible to retire from AAPS and thus, can collect his pension.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : noon

Nora S. Mr. White will be drawing FULL retirement AND taking another position in another state, building yet another pension. Sorry, but the story is accurate. Because of the way the system works, he can do both. He will, before he is 65 qualify for a second FULL pension if he stays in this new job.

Nick Danger

Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 10:41 a.m.

What they need to do is look at replacing the current special ed director. Morale is at an all time low in that department.


Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:41 a.m.



Fri, Jul 13, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

The current special education director is also the assistant superintendent for the district so I doubt that would happen.