AAPS Superintendent Search: Role for Public

Board hopes to make decision by March 2011

At a meeting Wednesday night with Ray & Associates – the search firm hired to help find a new superintendent – Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) school board members set a tentative timeline for the search process. They aim to have a new superintendent in place by the end of February or early March 2011. Ray & Associates met yesterday with each board member individually to solicit input to be used in developing a candidate profile.

The next step in the search process will be to gather similar input from board associations, community leaders, and the public at open forums as well as invitation-only meetings by the end of October. The firm also suggested posting a 33-item survey on the district’s website to encourage even wider participation in the profile’s development.

After some discussion, the board tabled a decision about allowing all trustees individual access to the full set of candidate applications. At issue was the possible impact of that access on the selection process: Would it make applicants’ names public earlier in the process than the board and possibly some applicants would like?

Dave Comsa, AAPS assistant superintendent of human resources and legal services, who attended last night’s meeting, advised board members that the applications would be kept under lock and key, but also cautioned: “FOIA may unlock them.” Board president Deb Mexicotte requested that Comsa look into the implications of allowing individual board members full access to the candidate list, and report back to the board.

Though the board did not reach consensus on setting the new superintendent’s salary, they did approve an advertising budget of $6,500 to place notices in a variety of national publications. Liz Margolis, AAPS director of communications, will aid in the development of advertisements and other print materials related to the search.

At its Sept. 15, 2010 meeting, the board named current deputy superintendent Robert Allen as interim superintendent to replace Todd Roberts, who announced his resignation in August. Roberts’ last day on the job for the district will be Oct. 8. Allen has declared that he will not be a candidate for the permanent job.