Trustee Jacinda Townsend Gides announced her official resignation from the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education on Tuesday, Sept. 19, two months after stepping down from her position as president of the Board in July. She was elected for a four-year term in November 2022 and served on the board for nine months before resigning. Townsend Gides will be moving to Rhode Island where she has accepted a position as a faculty member of literary arts at Brown University and plans to officially start next fall.
In an email interview with MLive, Townsend Gides wrote that her decision to step down from the Board was in part because of several instances of bullying in the district that have gone unresolved, including to her own daughter who attends AAPS. In the email, Gides reportedly told MLive she received multiple emails over the past couple of weeks from AAPS parents detailing bullying across the district. Gides expressed her disappointment and frustration with the district’s inaction.
“As I cleaned out my AAPS inbox, I found no less than 15 emails from parents who had complained that their children were bullied at school over the course of months,” Townsend Gides said. “As a parent, I experienced this myself. I can’t possibly know how many parents have just removed their children from AAPS, but I can tell you it’s exactly why I’m removing mine. There’s a tolerance for bullying in this district that is just mind-blowing.”
Townsend recently voted to accept AAPS Superintendent Jeanice Swift’s resignation. Swift will continue to serve until Oct. 31, or as soon as the board selects an interim superintendent.
The AAPS board is currently searching for an interim superintendent and is now taking next steps to fill Townsend Gides’ position as well. Applications for the position are open and are due at noon on Oct. 2, with public interviews scheduled to be held at the AAPS Board of Education meeting on Oct. 11. If the board does not approve a candidate by Oct. 17 to take over as trustee, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District will appoint a replacement. The selected candidate will serve the remainder of Townsend Gides’ term through 2026.
Daily Staff Reporter Natalie Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.