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Ypsilanti Schools accept transportation consolidation
By Adrienne Ziegler
Jun. 8, 2010   ·   3:07 p.m.

Connie Shelton, an East Middle School Teacher, speaks against the WISD transportation consolidation plan at Monday's special meeting of the Ypsilanti Board of Education. The board approved the motion to join the consolidation by a vote of 5 to 2.

"Shame on you" echoed through the audience Monday night after the Ypsilanti Public Schools Board of Education approved a plan to join a countywide consolidated...read more

Willow Run appoints new board member
By Adrienne Ziegler
Jun. 5, 2010   ·   8:16 a.m.

The Willow Run School Board looks on as Kristine Thomas, a district parent and previous board member, is sworn in as trustee on Thursday night. Thomas will take the position of Joi Jenson who resigned in early May.

The Willow Run School Board appointed a new, yet familiar trustee to the board of education during their regular meeting Thursday night.

Kristine Thomas, a Willow...read more

Willow Run approves county-wide transportation plan
By Adrienne Ziegler
May. 27, 2010   ·   2:09 p.m.

The Willow Run School District signed on to a countywide consolidated transportation plan at their regular board meeting last week.

The plan aims to save transportation...read more

Lincoln offers summer courses to area high-schoolers
By Mark Tower
May. 26, 2010   ·   7:49 p.m.

Students from Lincoln and other nearby districts are being invited to participate in Lincoln High School's Summer Academy this year, registration for which opened...read more

Willow Run terminates student services administrator
By Adrienne Ziegler
May. 26, 2010   ·   12:26 a.m.

Willow Run School Board President Sheri Washington said she didn't know if the district was going to press charges against former Student Services Administrator Laconda Hicks after the board fired Hicks during a special meeting Tuesday night.

The Willow Run Board of Education unanimously voted to terminate its contract with former Student Services Administrator Laconda Hicks Tuesday night during a special...read more

Jackson removed as Willow Run superintendent

Former Willow Run Superintendent Doris Hope-Jackson. Photo by Citizen File

Former Willow Run Superintendent Doris Hope-Jackson.

After six-week absence, board keeps her in district with new job title

By Tom Perkins
Dec. 6, 2009    ·    11:28 p.m.

The Willow Run Community School Board has removed Dr. Doris Hope-Jackson from the district’s superintendent position.

The board voted unanimously at their Thursday night meeting to make Dr. Jackson the director of information and assessment, and extended the contract of acting Superintendent Laura Lisiscki indefinitely.

Dr. Jackson was absent from work for six weeks before returning on Nov. 30 due to injuries suffered in a car accident. Board members said there had been minimal communication about her status during that time.

“Her indirect defiance clearly demonstrates that she does not have a good working relationship with the board of education,” Board President Sheri Washington said. “So many people feel like she abandoned Willow Run in its weakened sate and you can’t do that.”

Secretary Mark Wilde said the board sent several letters to Washington requesting her to fill out Family Medical Leave Act paperwork, but never received a reply. The FMLA allows employees to take a leave of absence due to illness or injury at the recommendation of medical professionals.

Dr. Jackson told the Board at the meeting that she didn’t reply to the requests for documentation of her injuries because she thought she was going to recover quickly.

Washington said she made several attempts to contact Dr. Jackson throughout the absence via e-mail and telephone, but never got a reply or returned call. She added that the only communication was through Rachel Plumley, Dr. Jackson’s administrative assistant.

“She chose to communicate through Rachel Plumley, and I made it clear that she doesn’t work for the administrative assistant, she works for the board of education,” Washington said. “It’s been a long time since she pulled the disappearing act and we last spoke.”

Dr. Jackson, who came to the meeting with her attorney, presented the board with a letter from a physician stating that she was injured and unable to work for the last month and a half.

“If any other employee in the district didn’t show up for even three straight days without calling, they would be terminated on the spot,” Wilde said.

The meeting began with a special session in which the board assessed Dr. Jackson’s progress on board goals, though Washington stressed that it was not an official evaluation on Dr. Jackson. She received poor marks in all areas.

“We’ve seen a steady decline in terms of her confidence rating from us and that’s serious,” Washington said.

Dr. Jackson’s counsel, Diane Carr, admitted to the board that her client had made a mistake in not communicating with anyone directly during her absence and asked them to move past it, but Washington called her failure “not indicative of a senior executive in the district.”

Washington said there were no objections from the standing room only audience largely comprised of Willow Run staff, and the extension of Lisiscki’s contract was met with applause.

As director of information and assessment, which is a new position in the district that Wilde said the board has talked about creating for the last five years, Dr. Jackson will be responsible collecting and analyzing data on student achievement, reporting it as necessary to state and federal government and using the data to help the district make decisions.

Trustee Anglesia Brown said given what is necessary for reporting and evaluating a district’s performance, she believes every district should have such a position.

“She has quite a bit of curriculum and assessment experience in her background, so this job really fits her,” Brown said.

Wilde added it was the best option available given the circumstances.

“I think it’s going to turn out to be a good thing for the district in the long run,” he said. “It was necessary because we’ve needed someone in a position like this for a while. With everything going on right now, the timing is right.”

Dr. Jackson has two years left on her contract and will receive her superintendent’s salary, while Lisiscki, who was principal at Kaiser Elementary previously, will continue to receive her principal’s salary.

If the board were to terminate Jackson’s contract, the district would have to pay her the remaining two years’ salary.

Washington said the board was able to change the contract because of a clause providing it with the right to reassign duties as it sees fit.

“It is something I have scrutinized heavily with our attorneys – they have been guiding us every step of the way,” Washington said.

According to Washington, Dr. Jackson did not react favorably to the change, but she is hopeful it will improve the district.

“We feel like we can get our bang for our buck with her in this position,” Washington said. “This is not a cream puff job. This is real work.”

Dr. Jackson called in sick for her first day of work, which was Friday, but Wilde is hopeful she will assume her new role today.

“The position we put her into is a position that we need,” he said. “We need this information form her so from that standpoint, it wouldn’t be ideal for us if she up and quit.”

Related Article:
Principal named acting Willow Run superintendent

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