Cardon remains TCAPS superintendent — for now

Oct 11, 2019

Many residents spoke out in favor of Ann Cardon as TCAPS Superintendent at the meeting Friday.
Credit Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Ann Cardon still has a job, for now.

She’s the superintendent of Traverse City Public Schools — a job she’s had for a little over two months, after the school board unanimously voted to offer her the position earlier this year.

Four board members — Sue Kelly, Jane Klegman, Jeffery Leonhardt and Pamela Forton — allegedly want to remove Cardon from her post due to what has been described as differences in how to handle the school district’s budget.

Nearly 100 people were crammed into a conference room at the TCAPS administrative building for a special board meeting Friday. Every seat was full and many attendees had to stand, and Cardon was not present.

The nearly 90-minute meeting opened with a statement from Kelly, who defended other closed-sessions the board held in recent weeks over Cardon’s future.

“We are fully committed to the privacy of these procedures,” Kelly said.

The public comment got so tense that Kelly briefly said the meeting was adjourned, while a police officer entered the room to supervise the rest of the meeting.

After a loud and heated public comment period, the board went into a closed session.

The closed session began after nearly 30 speakers said they want Cardon to stay on as superintendent, and several people asked for the resignations of board members, like Kelly, that allegedly want Cardon gone.

Not one person in the audience supported removing Cardon from her post.

“If we lose this superintendent, you should all be ashamed and immediately resign your positions for this astounding failure of board leadership,” resident Michele Keith said.

Board member Erica Moon Mohr supports Cardon and read a statement where she claimed several members of the board, including Kelly, were bullying her into submission.

“Sue let every board member know her disgust of Ann,” Mohr said.

Kelly and the board’s legal counsel told Mohr that she could not disclose what was said in closed-sessions, a statement that was met with loud jeers from the audience.

The closed session lasted for roughly an hour and a half. At the end of the closed meeting, Kelly told reporters that Cardon is still TCAPS superintendent but did not elaborate further.

The looming removal of Cardon comes after several disagreements with some of the board members.

In a letter to the board members who oppose Cardon, Mohr wrote to the other members saying tensions have been rising between Cardon and the board for weeks. Mohr cited disagreements over school funding and how frequently Cardon would meet with the board have led to this situation, but blames Kelly for making it worse.

"[Kelly's] approach, the delivery, the tone, were absolutely atrocious," Mohr wrote in her letter. "Maligning [Cardon's] character. Questioning her work ethic. Disgracing her 26 years of experience."