Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pat Green Resigns: Survey Results, Part I

Forty people took my survey! Here are the results. I've split them into three parts. Part I is the post you are reading.

Part II: Do you have any thoughts/ideas about why Pat Green is leaving?

Part III: Looking to the future, what qualities do you think are important for the next superintendent?

And then there's what you could think of as Part IV: My Commentary.

But first, Part I of the Survey:

As you can see, 2/3 of the people who responded had never seen Pat Green in person or had only seen her from afar. By the way: I didn't take the survey, but if I had, I would have said I had only seen her from afar: at Skyline's graduation; at a budget meeting; and at school board meetings. But I have never spoken directly with her. In other words, don't take not having seen her as a sign of being disengaged with education in the Ann Arbor school district. I think it only highlights her lack of communication with people outside a limited circle. I have met several of her cabinet members multiple times.

You can see that 20% of people who responded had no opinion about Pat Green's work. Nearly all of those (7/8) were people who had never even seen Pat Green in person. On the other hand, 2/3 of the people who responded had a somewhat negative or very negative opinion of Pat Green.

Only two people who had regular contact with Pat Green responded. However, I think it's important to note that those two people had very positive feelings about her.

Can you give any concrete examples of why you feel the way you do?

Very Negative: She didn't really know how to talk about anything other than Pat Green.
Very Positive: She was hired by a bunch of  special interest Board Members. Support their cause and you do fine. Green felt that every student was important and no special interest group is more important than the group as a big hole,. She had the integrity to make that point known and that upset the special interest people. Same thing happended to Todd Roberts.

Very Negative: Her tenure there has been problematic as she is one of three people at the top that have no experience with AAPS, and instead of getting to know the district and variety of programs, she has spent a great deal of time running things from the top. Additionally, she was hired in at too large of a pay package, that is the fault of the school board.

Somewhat Positive: She told someone I know that she supported the arts.  She seemed engaged at the school board meeting.

No Opinion: The district's information sharing politics were centralized, making it necessary to submit formal FOIA requests when making routine requests for information. I don't see that as a step in the right direction.

Somewhat Negative: "The story about using a ""peace flag"" to reduce discipline infractions. The raises given to administrators. The inability to balance the budget. The exorbitant salary that returned mediocre results."

Somewhat Negative: Did not work with AAEA and AAAA [Ed. Note: teachers' union and administrators' union].  Did not understand A2 culture.

Very Negative: Lack of interaction with parent and community. New testing requirements that are not clear

Somewhat Negative: "Discipline Gap," accessibility, disjointed communication

Somewhat Negative: Asking various departments of the administration to give annual reports to the board was well conceived but poorly executed. These reports were implemented by claiming large chunks of board meeting time for their presentation. Guess what: AAPS board members can read (reportedly). The reports should have been distributed publicly via BoardDocs a week in advance. Board members could be expected to do their homework. Five minutes of overview plus 10 minutes of board questions at the meeting. That way you don't have meetings that last until 3 a.m.

         Her letter was poorly executed. She portrayed the decision as just the normal course of events. If you leave 2 years into a 5 year contract, I think you owe some kind of acknowledgment that, things didn't go as intended. At least say: I had intended to stay longer, but ..."" and fill in something fluffy if you like after the ""but ...""  But her resignation letter should have at least owned the fact that this was a premature departure.

Very Positive: I thought she was really committed to addressing some of the problems AAPS faces, especially with regard to serving the most vulnerable children. (Bringing James Comer here was a strong signal.) I also thought that she gave AAPS a much-needed shaking up.

Somewhat Negative: She hides behind jargon. Often to misdirect her real meaning. 

Somewhat Negative: She was a lousy listener--the meetings I attended, all she did was talk about herself. Her role at these meetings was to hear from a specific community of parents (she was not invited to give a presentation) but they never got a word in edgewise. I felt steamrolled. When I compared her to how Todd Roberts interacted with the same group of parents, I was not impressed by her. She had her agenda and didn't listen to anyone else. I actually supported some of her agenda (emphasis on Positive Behavior Plans for discipline, for example) but because there were plenty of things that she advocated that I disagree with, I knew that I wouldn't be heard. I found it hard to work with someone who wasn't willing to listen.

I do think she did a decent job advocating with Lansing, but they are such a bunch of nutjobs that even a steamroller doesn't have much effect.

Somewhat Negative: The invisible woman. So, she has stood and waved at Bands in Review, but that's about all I can say about her, other than her willingness to take a pay cut/forego a raise, whatever that was. It could be the decline of local media that contributed to her invisibility -- we all know the Dotcom would rather highlight car crashes that get clicks -- but in contentious times the superintendent needs to be out front.

No Opinion: I think she had a very high bar of expectations as soon as it was learned how large her salary was going to be. Then the fact that she was not an Ann Arbor local added to a sense that the board believed that the local pool of talent and ideas was insufficient. This put a chip on the shoulder of Ann Arbor and she carried that into the job.

She never shook the fa├žade of being aloof- but that impression of her may have been due to the fact that, not being local, she didn't know anybody.

Somewhat Negative: Her starting salary, I blame the BOE mostly for that.  Took over 6 months to appoint a principal to Pioneer.

Somewhat Negative: My sense was that she wasn't communicative to staff and to families. I don't recall the issue exactly,but I remember her response to a question regarding an issue re:AAPS was that the questioner should just FOIA for an answer. I also thought she was way over paid, that the board shouldn't have bumped the salary up so high. Then it came out that she was the highest paid Superintendent in the State! Not good. I was surprised  to read that she hadn't spent time in each AAPS building. Seems like it should be a priority for most Superintendents. Finally, I know this is petty but she parks in staff-only spots where they hold the AAPS board meetings. Parking is free on the streets, and even if it wasn't AAPS would pay for parking.

Somewhat Negative: I'm a teacher in the Ann Arbor Public Schools District, and I struggle to come up with positive, long-lasting things Pat Green has done for our district.  She may have visited our school once, but I only recall seeing her from afar.  

Somewhat Negative: I have negative impressions simply based on 1)  I haven't seen much in regard to fiscal decisions made, 2)  She did not advocate for transparency, and 3)  Balas still spent much money on retreats and food deliveries while some teachers are buying their own supplies.

Somewhat Negative: I have not heard of her looking to actual teachers for any input on running the district.

Somewhat Negative: She didn't/doesn't seem to have a very open approach to sharing information.

Somewhat Positive: Based on conversations with Dr. Green, she was positioning Ann Arbor not only to take a leadership role in the county but also to provide income-producing services to other Districts and ultimately to position Ann Arbor for a leadership role if consolidation were inevitable.

Very Negative: 1.  Non-transparency of her administration.  This includes meetings that continue into the wee hours to make decisions, information available only through the slow process of FOIA, 

2.  A good leader gets everyone on board so they can be cheerleaders of your vision.  She failed to do this.  For example, the ""discipline gap"" - giving school administrators the education adn training to discipline effectively within the new guide lines and so that they could educate thier communities about why the district is changing course with discipline would have been helpful. 
3.  She did not seem to have a relationship with the BOE or any principal or teacher that I know.  The position is ""political"" and unfortunately, you must do some hand shaking in this position.  She didn't seem to be very good at this.

Somewhat Negative: She seemed to be a very top-down manager--you can construe this as "empowering" her subordinates, or as removing herself from the day to day hurlyburly, but I would prefer to see a more hands-on, more collegial and less hierarchical management style.

Very Negative: Dr. Greene  did not put effort into trying to be a part of the Ann Arbor community.  She physically had a wall built around her office area at Ballas and never lived in Ann Arbor.  She flew home weekly to be with her family.  One wonders if she even worked a full week in order to fly back to be with her family. 

1 comment:

  1. I didn't respond to the survey, but here's my impression of Pat Green: seems like every (Chronicle) news story I read about her included a "how we did it at my previous district" comment, and they always reminded me of that girl in the Magic School Bus stories who was always saying "at my old school, we..." :^)