Monday, May 27, 2013

Around the County

Superintendent Searches and Related Information

Ann Arbor is in the middle of a superintendent search. I've written about it here. You can take a survey about what you would like to see in a superintendent You might find some of the "desired character traits" can be read in two ways. There is also an opportunity for comments. Take the survey here.

Dexter has been employing an interim Superintendent and it looks like they have identified a preferred candidate for the permanent position--Dr. Chris Timmis, currently Superintendent in the Adrian Public Schools. The school board president's letter, posted on the school web site, starts out like this:
Superintendent Search UpdateThe Board of Education would like to share current information about the superintendent search process. If you have any questions, feel free to ask a member of the School Board, or you may ask one of the building principals or union leaders who will contact us to get an answer.
Later, he writes:
Dr. Timmis embodies most of the characteristics the district and community identified as important for our next superintendent. He is a visionary leader who has shown the ability to solve existing problems and to be an innovative leader by thinking outside the box for meaningful improvements. As superintendent of Adrian Public Schools for the last five years, Dr. Timmis took his district from a low-performing, financially distressed district to one that has become a model in the state for rising student performance. Although the issues in Dexter are different from what Adrian Public Schools has faced, we see in him the ability to help Dexter move from good to great, and expand the opportunities for success of all our students.
Read the full (and detailed) letter provided on the Dexter Schools web site.

There will be a public interview. According to the letter,
The Board will interview Dr. Timmis at a public meeting on June 4th at 7:00 PM at Creekside Intermediate School Media Center. If the Board decides to continue the process, a site visit to Adrian Schools will take place the week of June 10th to talk with Adrian Schools staff, Board members, and the community. Following the site visit, a date will be set for the Board to vote on whether to hire Dr. Timmis as our superintendent.
I'm glad they are. . . doing a site visit. . . and having a public interview. And I didn't find Chris Timmis' name coming up on any searches related to Broad Foundation information.

Ypsilanti Community Schools

Dedrick Martin--current Ypsilanti Public Schools superintendent, who was to continue as an assistant superintendent in the new district because the district was going to have to pay him anyway, has taken a job in St. Johns, Michigan. So now they are going to hire a Chief Financial Officer instead of an assistant superintendent. What do you think of that?

Schools of Choice

Saline is opening a limited Schools of Choice, with at least 50 kindergarten spots, at least 10 first grade spots, and at least 15 high school spots. There are some other spots available as well, depending on enrollment over the summer. Find out more here.

Lots of other schools have schools of choice as well, including Lincoln, Milan, Whitmore Lake, the new Ypsilanti Community Schools, Manchester. I think Chelsea has schools of choice this year (but I could only find last year's form); Dexter has opened to a very limited schools of choice (I think five students) and Ann Arbor had schools of choice but the "window" for applications has closed.

Additional Information

Chelsea Update, found at, is a local news source, and at the top of the page there is a "Schools" tab if you are looking for Chelsea Schools information.

Dexter Patch is also a source of information about Dexter schools.

Good Reads

Why Minnesota's Governor Vetoed Teach for America Funding

This has absolutely nothing to do with schools, but it is about valuing our histories. This is a fascinating article about how historic treasures were saved in Timbuktu when northern Mali was taken over by radical Islamists.


  1. Ruth - Thanks for the article about TFA. TFA is a strange organization - amongst Ivy League/top tier schools, there is a sense of pride/accomplishment in going into TFA. TFA has cited something like 60% of teachers stay on past their 2 years of teaching. After five years, I've seen the stat. drop down to about 28%. (

    If we could prove that the TFA model benefited student achievement (not just on standardized tests, but in other areas too) then I would fully support it. But the reality is that students right out of college can only do so much for K-12 students; they do not possess the skills learned over time or the complexity that teaching, learning, and understanding of social-emotional development of children require. What they do have is a lot of energy (at least for a few years) and the willingness to work for cheap pay. Even Michelle Rhee, in her one year of TFA experience, talks about putting tape on students' mouths in order to get them to walk quietly down the hallway. This (embarrassingly novice) approach should be expected of someone not formally trained in any capacity to be a teacher.

  2. What I think about TFA could be summed up as, "It's a great experience for the students who get hired; and probably not such a great experience for their students." Still, 28% after five years is actually a lot better than I expected!