Ann Arbor Open School

Ann Arbor Public Schools

Current Wednesday Packet Letter

  • March 22, 2017


    Dear Open Families,

    After years of dedicated service, a few of our veteran teachers have decided it's time for the pleasures of retirement.   Grandchildren, travel on their own schedule, and staying home on not-quite-snow-days await them. Information about a celebration to honor our retirees will be forthcoming so that you join us to thank them for their selfless service and love for Open. Please read the teachers’ heartfelt notes contained in this packet. We tearful emotion we wish these teachers a joyful and relaxing retirement.

    2017 retirees:

    Gretchen Suhre - Vocal Music Teacher & Play Director

    Rick Hall - 5th/6th Teacher

    Heidi Hargesheimer - Kindergarten Teacher

    Pamela Woodman - Resource Room & Teacher Consultant


    As happens when colleagues retire, the staff as a whole is left with an opportunity to rethink teaching assignments.  In the upcoming weeks we will communicate any changes to teaching assignments so families have the information prior to completing the input placement forms for the 2017-18 school.  In mid-April we will distribute the input forms which will be due at the end of April.  


    Stay tuned for further information about staff additions that will need to occur.  We will organize hiring committees in late spring and look forward to the participation of staff, students, and parents.  We plan to post the jobs separately on the district’s human resources website so that we attract applicants with a strong desire to be a member of the Open community.  When the jobs are posted we will work to communicate the postings broadly via Twitter and through contacts we have at universities and other open-school communication channels.  


    As we approach the end of March is Reading month, we look forward to two celebratory events this Friday.  At the start of the day 600 staff and students will participate in Drop Everything And Read.  We also encourage everyone to dress up as a favorite book character on Friday, March 24th.  Starting the following Monday the building will be abuzz with Focus Studies.  From learning how to play the ukulele to computer coding, our weeklong Focus Studies are certain to be highly engaging and enriching.


    Prior to March 28th we hope you can complete the Climate Survey for A2 Open  We examine your feedback to inform our practices and guide our improvement planning.  Thank you in advance for providing your meaningful input.  


    Warm regards,

    Meg & Chris, A2O principals



    A Letter from Heidi:

    It is with very mixed feeling that I announce my retirement. I feel both regret for what I am leaving and excitement to start a new chapter in my life. It seems like only yesterday that I began teaching in the child care program and moved into a classroom position more than twenty years ago. I love our school. My own children spent their elementary years at the open school. It is the only place I have taught and I will miss it greatly. I will miss the incomparable feeling of community generated in our school. I will miss how welcoming our community is to such a variety of people. I will miss the way the teachers are so caring and so concerned about doing what is best for children as they strive to build strong relationships. I will miss the way I have been able to watch students grow and change, first in Kindergarten and then throughout their entire nine years of schooling. In spite of all that I will miss, I am looking forward to being able to visit with my grandchildren, both near and far and finding time for other things I enjoy.



    A Letter from Gretchen:

    It has been my great fortune to have a career of teaching children to sing and to help them create various types of performances in the public schools.  As a girl I longed to sing in shows beyond what my school could offer, and as I grew up I did find a modest singing career.  But my first love was always teaching music in elementary school, and I now have the best job in town.


    But it is now the right time for me to retire from teaching music.  Lately I have imagined my career as a musician and a teacher as a quilt, with the various patches and designs representing the different schools and programs of which I have been a part.  But right in the center, in the most prominent spot, is the Ann Arbor Open School.  My heart is here, and I will never forget you.



    A Letter from Pamela:

    As I write this letter to the community of Ann Arbor Open, to inform you that I will be retiring from my position as Teacher Consultant this year, I have a mix of memories.  In 1999 when Lovey Bradley, then principal of Ann Arbor Open, called to ask me to teach here, I couldn’t believe the honor.  It‘s been my privilege to be a part of this unique teaching community ever since.

    I have worked in many roles here at the Open School.  I was a parent volunteer, a playground supervisor, and the Teacher Clerk, before teaching here.  I love everything about the Open school.  All four of my children went through MYA and Open.  My two granddaughters are currently at the school, as well.  Thank you for being part of my tenure at Open.  While I am happy to get more time with my family, I will deeply miss my work and friends.  I may be retiring, but as my life goes full circle, you will see me around the school again as a volunteer. The friendships and associations I made here will remain forever.