Jeanice Kerr Swift, assistant superintendent of instruction, curriculum and student services for Colorado Springs School District 11, has accepted the position of superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools in Michigan. She starts the job Aug. 27.

The Michigan district's board of education voted 4-3 on July 31 to offer the position to Swift, one of two finalists, after its first choice for the leadership post turned it down.

The board last week approved a $200,000 annual contract with a $10,000 a year bonus if she stays for the length of the five-year contract.

The district, with about 16,550 students, has had six superintendents in the past decade.

Swift said she knew she would be a good match because the Ann Arbor district, like D-11, "has a significant focus on rich arts education, as well as a push for innovation" - areas she said she feels passionate about.

Swift also noted the similarities in terms of challenges and opportunities. While focusing on offering quality education, the districts also must be run efficiently and within tight budgets.

She has worked in D-11 for 15 years, including serving as the principal of Russell Middle School from 2004-2009. In that role, she led the transformation of the school into a performing arts and science campus, which resulted in the school receiving the Governor's designation for sustained high achievement growth and recognition as a National Trailblazer School to Watch in 2008.

"I'm exceedingly grateful to this community for the support," Swift said. "District 11 is a model of how districts can offer the very best in programming for students all across the spectrum of needs and interests."