Snyder brings back ex-education adviser to fill vacancy

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

A longtime education adviser is rejoining Gov. Rick Snyder’s staff after his successor left the administration as it grapples with the financial rescue and restructuring of the Detroit Public Schools.

Craig Ruff rejoins the governor’s office after retiring 16 months ago and being replaced by Karen McPhee, a former superintendent of the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District. McPhee abruptly resigned earlier this month after about a year on the job.

Ruff is a temporary replacement as the Snyder administration lobbies the Legislature to approve a $715 million rescue plan that would also split Michigan’s largest school district into two separate entities and change regulations for the opening of charter schools in the city.

“I appreciate Craig’s willingness to serve as we reinvent our education system,” Snyder said in a Monday statement. “We must look at how to make sure Michigan students are prepared for the realities of a global economy and are ready to fill the in-demand jobs of today and the future.”

The governor’s office has been tight-lipped about McPhee’s departure.

Snyder sidestepped questions last week about whether she quit over a dispute involving the membership of his new 21st Century Education Commission.

“As we said, she resigned for personal reasons,” Snyder said April 12 after an event in Lansing. “I don’t go into personal matters to that degree. Those are decisions Karen can make. I respect Karen. She did a lot of great work for us and I wish her the best.”

Snyder said he plans to put educators on the commission.