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The Ypsilanti School Board whittled down the number of superintendent applicants Monday night, taking another step closer to hiring a new one.
The board received 17 applications for the open position, which were initially sent to the Michigan Association of School Boards in Lansing, the firm hired to conduct the superintendent search.
Dr. Michael Emlaw, of the MASB, assisted the board in its final decision regarding whom to interview. Each member of the board listed their top choices and Emlaw tallied the results.
The board is scheduled to interview Derrick R. Coleman, assistant superintendent of Detroit Public Schools and Dr. Linda S. Hicks, superintendent of Redford Public Schools.
Also on the list are Dr. Benjamin P. Edmondson, principal of Scarlett Middle School in Ann Arbor; Dr. Sandra J. Harris, superintendent of the Oak Park School District; Dr. Theresa E. Saunders, superintendent of East St. Louis District #189; Richard A. Weigel, assistant superintendent of Ypsilanti Public Schools; Dedrick D. Martin, executive director of equity and achievement for Champaign Unit 4 Schools in Champaign, Ill.
Not every board member was pleased with all of the choices. Trustee Andrew Fanta initially voted for none of the candidates.
“Obviously, I’m amenable to whatever the board decides,” Fanta said. “I thought it was a weak list of individuals—I have serious questions about every single applicant.”
Fanta added, if the board wasn’t pleased with any of the candidates, they should consider taking on another interim superintendent and re-posting the position.
Trustee Edward Jackson agreed the list of candidates wasn’t outstanding, but did like some of them.
“It didn’t look like an A+ list to me, but I thought there were some good people,” Jackson said.
President David Bates was more impressed with the quality of the candidates.
“I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say it wasn’t a strong list,” Bates said. “I thought there were two or three that I liked.”
Bates expressed concern about the possibility of re-posting the position, which Fanta first proposed.
“We might lose the opportunity to talk to quality people,” Bates said. “Interviewing still in no way obligates us to hire.”
Emlaw initially recommended the board offer the two out-of-state candidates a $400 stipend for traveling expenses, saying it would be a generous and gracious gesture.
“I don’t think it will cover the cost of the trip,” Emlaw said. “We’re not going to pick up everything.”
Fanta disagreed with Emlaw’s suggestion, citing the current economic situation.
“I just can’t see spending this money that way,” Fanta said. “If they’re interested in coming for an interview, they’ll come.”
Emlaw withdrew his suggestion before the board made a motion to accept it.
The new superintendent will replace Dr. James Hawkins, who has been serving as superintendent since 2005, following the departure of Dr. David Zuhlke.
The board is scheduled to offer a contract on April 27. The new superintendent is scheduled to take office July 1.
Superintendent interview dates and times:
Derrick R. Coleman, 6 p.m.
Dr. Linda S. Hicks, 7:45 p.m.
Dr. Benjamin P. Edmondson, 4 p.m.
Dr. Sandra J. Harris, 6 p.m.
Dr. Theresa E. Saunders, 7:45 p.m.
Richard A. Weigel, 6 p.m.
Dedrick D. Martin, 7:45 p.m.
All interviews are open to the public and will be held at Ypsilanti High School’s media center.