Longtime superintendent at Ann Arbor Schools agrees to leave next month
- In a 5-2 vote, the board approved a settlement and resignation agreement with longtime superintendent Jeanice Kerr Swift
- Swift will stay the superintendent no later than Oct. 31
- The agreement includes a 18-month salary lump sum payment
Longtime Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Kerr Swift is expected to step down her post by the end of October after weeks of strained relations with the school board.
The Board of Education approved a voluntary settlement and resignation agreement Wednesday night that includes Swift remaining as superintendent until the board appoints an interim or permanent superintendent, no later than Oct. 31.
Swift will then become a “transition advisor” to her successor through Dec. 31, though that time can be extended by written agreement.
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In an email to district families Thursday, Swift, who has been in the position for a decade, thanked the community.
“I am deeply grateful for the close support and partnership of this AAPS team and school community, the many experiences we have shared, and am proud of the accomplishments we have achieved in our work together to support our students and staff, families, schools and community,” she said.
Swift has been district superintendent since 2013 and has been a finalist for other superintendent positions in recent years, including for the position of state superintendent.
But some board and community members have expressed concern over Swift especially in recent weeks including the way the district works with special education students. A few weeks before the school year started, board members approved two actions that started the process of ending Swift’s time.
In July, a mother of a student with autism filed a federal lawsuit against the district, alleging her son was physically and verbally abused by a bus aide and that the district failed to review security camera footage of the incident for five weeks. A group of close to 100 people including current and former parents of district students sent a letter to the superintendent asking her to resign as well.
Swift led the district during the contentious COVID-19 pandemic where she faced steep criticism from some in the community for the district’s strict COVID policies.
The agreement approved Wednesday in a 5-2 vote, references a clause in Swift’s contract that states she will receive an 18-month lump sum of her salary, which is currently $230,000 annually.
“We would like to thank Dr. Swift for her work in leading the Ann Arbor Public Schools since 2013 and we look forward to working together as we transition to a change in the leadership of the district,” the Board said in a statement Thursday morning.
“The Board is grateful for Dr Swift’s time and dedication to the Ann Arbor Public Schools and we wish her the best.”
It’s unclear who will lead the district next. Swift, in her email to families, said she is committed to a smooth transition.
MLive reported the board plans to call another meeting next Wednesday to continue discussions about appointing an interim superintendent. As of Thursday afternoon, a board meeting has been scheduled for that date but there is not an agenda yet.
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