School Bells: Test named new Pioneer head football coach

For more news and achievements in the district, see “This Week in the Ann Arbor Public Schools” from the superintendent.

Paul Test has been named the new head varsity football coach at Pioneer High School.

Test has served the past year as defensive coordinator at Skyline High School and coached in the Huron High School program for eight years. He was with the Pioneer program in the 1990s, when he served as head football coach.

He is also employed by the district, teaching physical education at Thurston Elementary School.

“Paul Test can best be described as a man of character and quality,” said Pioneer Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Lorin Cartwright. “He knows how to build relationships with students and their families.  I know the players are excited to have Paul leading the program and are ready to give their all for football.

“It should be exciting to see the program develop over the next few months.”

Community High wins state mock trial tourney

On Saturday, March 26, Community High School’s Mock Trial Team A won the Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament state championship for the second year in a row. The team will now represent the state of Michigan at the National High School Mock Trial Tournament in Phoenix, Arizona from May 5-8.

The top 10 teams from throughout the state vied for the title at the Veterans’ Memorial Courthouse in Lansing, Michigan.  Originally, approximately 60 teams competed in eastern and western regional competitions. The CHS team defeated teams from Grand Rapids, Capac, Detroit and Kalamazoo to win the title.

Team members are:  Shadi Ahmadmehrabi, Cooper DePriest, Michelle Grifka, Michael Savage, Tressa Stapleton, Eli Sugerman, Elise Wander and Garrett Wood. Coaches are  Cheryl Grace, Billie Ochberg, Griffith Dick, Robert West and Dan Dormer.

Read The Communicator article about the win here.

Wines parent the winner of AAPSNews drawing from Nicola’s Books

Elizabeth Hetrick of Ann Arbor is the winner of the first semester gift drawing among new e-mail subscribers to the AAPSNews.

She has won a $50 gift certificate to Nicola’s Books ( Hetrick has a daughter in kindergarten at Wines Elementary School.

Nicola’s has donated the gift certificate as one of the district’s business partners. The bookstore is located in the Westgate Shopping Center at the corner of Jackson and Maple roads in Ann Arbor.

The AAPSNews will have a similar drawing at the end of second semester 2010-11 among new AAPSNews e-mail subscribers. Log onto and click on the “subscribe” button to sign up.

Huron diving coach earns honors

Brad Huttenga, the men’s swim and dive team coach and an English teacher at Huron High School has been named as the Division 1 Diving Coach of the Year by the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association for 2010-11.

The award is given to the coach at each respective state meet, whose divers from the same school score the highest accumulated point total in the state meet competition. According to Huffenga, the award was due, in part, to the success and depth of this year’s team, but he specifically credited the strong showing of this year’s senior divers.

New principal named at county consortium high school

Consortium leaders of the new Washtenaw International High School have named Lambert Okma the school’s first principal.

Okma, the consultant who has been assisting with the school’s development, was the founder and former principal at the International Academy in Oakland County and currently serves as a member of the International Baccalaureate Organization Board of Governors.

The school is scheduled to open this fall to 150 ninth-graders at the site of the former East Middle School in Ypsilanti. Okma begins his new job on July 1.  Student applications are still being accepted for the school. For more information, go to

Skyline earns kudos at regional science fair

Skyline High School will have a Grand Award Winner representing the school at the State Science Fair. The weekend of March 12-13 was the Southeastern Science Fair at Washtenaw Community College and Skyline’s Health & Medicine Magnet had 60 students enter for the first time.

Lily Zmachinski (Principles of Biomedical Science) received a sixth-place Grand Award and a first-place Science and Society Award. Her area of study was “musicians vs. nonmusicians – a neuro psychological test.” Her project received numerous accolades and $225 in prize money. Next month she takes her project to Lansing to have it judged and if she wins she will go to California for the International Science Fair.

Other winners from the magnet include: Kaavaya Puttagunta, third place Science and Society $100; Carmen Flesher, Sustainability Award; Johanna Buchaus, Sustainability Award; Maya Gianchandani, American Meteorological Society Award & Stockholm Junior Water Prize; Aoarsh Ghosh, U-M National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network Award; Lucas Paschal, U.S. Army Most Outstanding Life Sciences Award; Theo Kuchar, U.S. Army Most Outstanding Life Sciences Award; and Rishika Ramireddy, Honorable Mention Biochemistry/Microbiology Award.

Honorable mentions also went to: Kimberly Graziamo, Leigh Yeh, Ben Ehrlich, Alex Kaldjian, Francesca D’Introno and Jessica Eisma.

Warren represents the 18th District, which is made up of the majority of Washtenaw County. Prior to her work as a state senator, she served as state representative for the 53rd House District for four years.

Sixth candidate to be interviewed for WISD superintendency

The Washtenaw Intermediate Board of Education will interview Pinckney Community Schools Superintendent Daniel Danosky at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29. He will be the last of six interviews for the WISD top spot.

Danosky is in his fifth year as Pinckney superintendent having served previously as superintendent in Harper Woods for seven years.  He received his bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Michigan and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University.

Also on Tuesday, March 29 at 6:30 p.m. the WISD Board will interview Deputy Superintendent and Chief of Staff Thomas Goodney of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio in Columbus.  Both interviews will be at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, 1819 S. Wagner Road, Scio Township and are open to the public.

Already interviewed for the post: Oscoda Area Schools Superintendent Christine Beardsley; Olivet Community Schools Superintendent David J. Campbell; Beverly A. Knox-Pipes, Assistant Superintendent for Technology and Media Services at the Genesee Intermediate School District; and Superintendent of the Livingston Educational Service Agency Scott A. Menzel.

The WISD board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 30 at 5:30 p.m. in the Board Room of WISD’s Teaching and Learning Center, 1819 S. Wagner Road to select superintendent finalists from among the six candidates.  Finalists will be called back for second interviews. The Board will select a new superintendent to succeed William C. Miller who retired in December.

Upcoming book events around the Ann Arbor community

Following is a list of book events of interest around the area, as provided by local independent bookseller and AAPSNews partner Nicola’s Books. Unless otherwise noted, events are at Nicola’s in the Westgate Shopping Center, Jackson Road at Maple.

Thursday, March 31 7 p.m. – Free lecture with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Sarah Marwil Lamstein Lecture Presents Young Adult Author Lois Lowry at Rackham Amphitheatre. The book sale will start at 3 p.m. and continue until 6 p.m.with a book signing from 5-6 p.m. Lowry began her career as a photographer and a freelance journalist during the early 1970s. Her first children’s book, “A Summer to Die,” was published in 1977; she has since written more than 30 books for children and published an autobiography. Two of her works have been awarded the Newbery Medal.

These events are scheduled in April:

Weekly Children’s Story Time – Saturdays at 11 a.m. An experienced teller spins yarns for the 7-and-under set. (Saturday April 23 – Stay after the regular story time to meet an Easter Bunny aka Peter Rabbit.)

Tuesday April 13 at 6 p.m. – Meet author Ruta Sepetys here with her new novel for young adults, “Between Shades of Grey”. Set in Lithuania in the wake of the Russian invasion of 1939, this story told in the voice of a 15-year-old girl named Lina, who along with her family, is forced onto a crowded train car one night and sent, under Stalin’s orders, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here is a story of love and survival under the cruelest of conditions during a little-known real-life event in history.

Wednesday April 6 at 7 p.m. – Meet local author Dr. Evelyn Katz with her new book playfully told in limericks, “Young Ing: A Guide to Staying Young Forever”, the story of a woman who refuses to grow old.   Learn how to compose limericks of your own.

Sunday April 10 at 2 p.m. – Meet “Tweak” author Nic Sheff. In “Tweak,” Sheff shared a heartbreakingly honest account of his days as a crystal meth addict. In this powerful follow-up for young adults Sheff writes candidly about stints at in-patient rehab facilities, devastating relapses, and hard-won realizations about what it means to be a young person living with addiction.

Tuesday April 12 at 7 p.m. – Author William Lychack will be at Nicola’s with his new short story collection, “The Architect of Flowers.” The stories in this dazzling new collection explore the inevitable distance between people in loving relationships and find hope in dark situations. With tiny, precise details, Lychack observes the overlooked moments of everyday life.

Thursday April 14 at 7 p.m. – Meet author Alan Paul here with his new memior ” Big in China.” Based on his award-winning “Wall Street Journal” online column The Expat Life, “Big in China” explores Paul’s unlikely, three-and-a-half year journey raising a family, playing in a blues band, and reinventing himself as an American expat in Beijing. Paul is a senior writer for “Slam” and “Guitar World” magazines, and his writing has appeared in “The New Yorker,” “Entertainment Weekly,” “People” and “Sports Illustrated.”

Tuesday April 19 at 7 p.m. – Local author Pat Smith will be here with a new mystery set right here in Ann Arbor, “Hard Pill to Swallow: A Willis and Macintyre Mystery.” A detective and PI join forces to search for a missing girl and solve her mother’s murder.As Willis and Macintyre immerse themselves in a world of corporate greed, murder, and academic politics, they encounter unethical doctors, a corrupt university official, a professor with something to hide, and a hedonistic villain.

Thursday April 21 at 7 p.m. – “Foreign Babes in Beijing” author Rachel DeWoskin will be here for a reading and signing of her latest novel “Big Girl Small,” a scathingly funny and moving novel about a 16-year-old girl attending Ann Arbor’s elite Darcy Arts Academy who becomes caught in a controversy that might bring down her whole school–a scandal that has something to do with the fact Judy is three feet nine inches tall.

Wednesday April 27 at 7 p.m. – Local author and Pioneer High School Creative Writing teacher Jeff Kass will be at the store with his book of short stories “Knuckleheads.” These stories explore generational intersections – teens making, and adults looking back on, choices that define their lives. Kass directs the creative writing program at  The Neutral Zone, where he founded and continues to direct The VOLUME Youth Poetry Project.

Friday April 29 at 7 p.m. – Fans of wordplay can meet world pun champion John Pollack, here with his book “The Pun Also Rises,” a funny, erudite, and provocative exploration of puns, the people who make them, and this derided wordplay’s remarkable impact on history.

The AAPS District News welcomes thoughtful comments, questions and feedback.

All comments will be screened and moderated.

In order for your comment to be approved:

  • You must use your full name
  • You must not use  profane or offensive language
  • Your comment must be on topic and relevant to the story

Please note: any comment that appears to be spam or attacks an individual will not be approved.