Dickinson-Kelley retires after 38 years, most recently as deputy

From AAPSNews Service

Deputy Superintendent for Instructional Services Lee Ann Dickinson-Kelley is retiring June 30 from the Ann Arbor Public Schools after 38 years of dedicated service.

In a end-of-year note to the community, Interim Superintendent Robert Allen recognized her accomplishments and thanked her for the excellent leadership and service she has provided.

Dickinson-Kelley began her career with the Ann Arbor Public Schools as a teacher consultant at Northside Elementary School then moved on to teach Language Arts/World Cultures at Forsythe Middle School where she stayed for 12 years before moving into administration.

Lee Ann Dickinson-Kelley
Lee Ann Dickinson-Kelley in February 2011 during a visit to the district from the U.S. Department of Education at Pioneer High School. Dickinson-Kelley leaves the district this week after 38 years as teacher, principal and administrator.

She served as principal of Pittsfield and Angell elementary schools then moved into central administration as assistant superintendent for elementary education.  During the 2010-11 school year, she has served as deputy superintendent for instructional services.

Allen said he is especially grateful for her time as deputy as he led the district during this time of transition. “Whatever Lee Ann takes on, she gives it her all and always keeps a strong focus on what is best for students,” he said.

Dickinson-Kelley implemented a balanced literacy program for primary grades years ago and oversaw its expansion into the higher grades along with other reading intervention strategies, Allen said. She chaired a committee that developed a food allergy handbook that has received national recognition and accolades.

“She has always recognized the importance of early childhood development programs and was instrumental in getting the Preschool and Family Center built, which opened in 2006,” he noted.

Two years ago, she brought Spanish language instruction to elementary students through a partnership with the University of Michigan School of Education.  In addition, she developed an elementary humanities strand and brought in enrichment coordinators for each elementary cluster.  She also was responsible for administering and reporting of state and federal grants as well as coordinating, designing and reporting on School Improvement Plans.

“She did all this in addition to her day-to-day duties as an administrator and manager.  She is an extraordinary educator, visionary and leader,” Allen added. “She has been a pleasure to work with and her efforts have been tremendous and their effect immeasurable and far-reaching.  I don’t know if we can ever thank her enough.”

Dickinson-Kelley said she was fortunate to have worked in Ann Arbor throughout her career and noted that “being an educator was not simply what I did for 38 years, but who I am. My profession chose me as much as I chose it.” She said she is looking forward to spending more time with family.

“I have been rewarded a million times over by the opportunity to do the good work and serve our community,” she said in a note to staff. “That is all I ever aspired to. I’m very thankful I can look back and say I made a small difference in the life of a child.”

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