Former superintendent, 85, dies
■ Jack Elzay oversaw building of Huron High, several other schools.
By PAUL RIOUX
DEC 14 1998
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Jack Elzay, former superintendent of the Ann Arbor school district who oversaw a school construction blitz during his tenure as baby boomers reached school age, died Friday in his Ann Arbor home. He was 85.
When Elzay took over as superintendent in 1953, the school district had 6,200 students and about 200 teachers.
By the time he resigned in 1967, enrollment had nearly tripled to 17,250 and the district had about 950 teachers.
Hazen Schumacher, a school board member from 1963-69, said Elzay managed the construction of about 10 schools, including Huron High School.
“He did a fine job of staying ahead of the curve,” Schumacher said. “You’ve got to plan ahead and buy land in areas where the city is going to grow. You’ve also got to make sure you have the money necessary for all those projects.”
When he resigned in 1967 to become superintendent of a school district near Flint, Elzay said he was proud to leave the Ann Arbor district in good shape.
“Excellence does not just happen,” he told the school board. “Excellence is the result of leadership, vision and courage on the part of many and the understanding and support of the general citizenry. In this sense, Ann Arbor has had and continues to have the right to claim a school system of distinction.”
Elzay came to Ann Arbor after serving as a school superintendent in Downers Grove, 111., a suburb of Chicago. He succeeded Otto W. Haisley, who had served as Ann Arbor’s superintendent for 29 years.
Elzay is survived by his wife, Wylma, two daughters and a son. Cremation has taken place, and the burial of remains will be at the Woodlawn Cemetery, Ada, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Hospice of Washtenaw, 806 Airport Boulevard, Ann Arbor, MI 48108.