Pennsylvania’s Patricia Green chosen as new Ann Arbor superintendent

From AAPSNews Service

Patricia Green, superintendent of North Allegheny School District in Pennsylvania, has been selected to lead the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Ann Arbor Board of Education trustees met on Saturday following final interviews that morning and a community forum on Friday evening, during which the community was able to hear the candidates and submit questions to hear their responses. Following several hours of afternoon deliberation, the board voted 6-1 to offer the superintendent’s position to Green and enter into negotiations with her; Trustee Susan Baskett voted no on the measure.

Patricia Green
Patricia Green, selected as the new Ann Arbor superintendent on March 5, 2011.

The other finalist considered during the final two-day process was Michael Muñoz, chief academic officer of Des Moines Public Schools in Iowa. Another finalist, Shelley Redinger, withdrew as a candidate earlier this week after accepting another position.

During Friday’s session, Green answered submitted questions from the public, which were asked by officials from Ray & Associates, the firm that assisted the board in its search and selection process.  She spoke about parent involvement, leadership, diversity and her philosophy on education.

Green said she advocates strong parent involvement and said that in her current role, she hosts a series of superintendent-parent committee meetings. “They set the agenda,” she said. “We’ve changed things based on the passion of the community. Sometimes as leaders we have to sit down and listen.”

She notes that a good superintendent needs input from a variety of sources to be successful. “You don’t do things in isolation,” she added. “You reach out for partnerships.” Green said in her current role, she has a variety of advisory committees in place, including ones with local police and ministerial groups. She also hosts a regular dinner for student leaders.

In the area of equity, diversity and global awareness, Green said a school district must celebrate each student and community member and what they bring to the system and must prepare students to be citizens of the world. “It has to come from the leadership of the school district and it has to be valued,” she said. “We must celebrate what you are, what you bring to the table. And we have to prepare students for their world of the future – not our world of the past.”

She said good leaders should have “kaleidoscopic vision,” including many opinions and viewpoints. A good leader also needs to know when to step forward and when to step back and allow others to take the lead, she said. “Some pieces look different depending on how you turn the lens,” Green said of her philosophy. “It looks different with new information.”

When asked for her definition of an exemplary school, Green said it is one that is “child-centered and has a high expectation for success” and one that brings arts, athletics and academics together for a well-rounded experience. “I’ve always focused on what’s best for the child with academics to match,” she said.

In terms of budget issues, she said those are the toughest things for a superintendent to tackle. “It’s a challenge across America,” she said. Green noted that she always puts academics and children first and advocates “using a scalpel, not a machete” in making cuts. She also said she advocates cutting, not eliminating programs, because “once you eliminate good programs, they rarely, if ever, come back.”

Green has served in her current post in the North Allegheny School District since May 2002. She has experience on national, state and local levels in the areas of instructional leadership, administrative and organizational management, labor management,  instructional improvement and issues of diversity and multiculturalism. A main focus in North Allegheny under her leadership has been work on the district’s Strategic Plan.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Maryland, a Master of Education degree in Human Development Education from the University of Maryland’s Institute for Child Study, and a doctorate in Education Policy, Planning, and Administration from the University of Maryland.

Prior to her time in North Allegheny, she served as Acting Deputy Superintendent for Instruction for the Prince George’s County Public Schools, a large district in Maryland. She has worked as a teacher, principal, elementary administrator, assistant superintendent and served an administrative role in special education and pupil services during her educational career.

Green has been married for 35 years to Dr. Stephen I. Green, a periodontist.

She said she enjoyed her visits to some of the Ann Arbor schools during a district tour on Friday. “The best part of today was talking to the kids,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about, folks. It’s about the kids. They have so much to offer … having their voice spoken often.”

The new superintendent will replace Todd Roberts, who resigned his post last fall for an executive education position in North Carolina. Robert Allen, the district’s Deputy Superintendent for Operations, has served as interim superintendent since Roberts departed and was not a candidate for the position.

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