• Background Image

    2020 School Board Candidates

    Avondale School District

October 4, 2020

Lucille Washington

Pronouns:I use all of the above. It depends on the situation and the audience.
School DistrictAvondale School District
City:Auburn Hills

How long have you lived in your district?

24 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Michigan Education Association

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I’m a retired educator and I believe that experience will bring a different perspective to the board.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

Educational justice means providing the schools with adequate highly qualified teachers and staff who can provide quality education to the stakeholders (students) and equal access to necessary resources, advanced placement and honor classes. It also includes the utilization of restorative justice practices to ensure the graduation of all students within the district.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

Schools with a hybrid teaching structure that allows teachers and students to get the best of both worlds. Class sizes would be limited to 25 students per room. The classrooms and building would be thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

All stakeholders should have the opportunity to have input in the decision making process. This can be done with focus groups, surveys, etc.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

I don’t have any.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

1. Health and safety of staff and students with Covid-19.
2. Teacher retention.
3. Class size

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

1. Funding of schools
2. Clear directives
3. Teacher evaluation process

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

Students learn better with face to face instruction. The challenge is to keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, most schools have outsourced the custodial services in an effort to save money. These services don’t have a vested interest in doing a good job (This opinion is based on my personal experiences.) Therefore, teachers and staff are going to concerned with health. There needs to be protocols in place for the custodial services to follow and consequences for not following them. There needs to be a mask requirement, temperature checks and a holding place for students who don’t pass this check.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

Front line workers (teachers and staff). Central office administrative staff.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

I personally don’t like standardized tests because they are discriminatory to students of color and those who know and understand information but don’t test well. They are mandated by the state; therefore, they are necessary in the school district.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

I would add more career and technical classes that would help students to be employable out of high school. I would keep the process of preparing everyone to be college ready.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

The school district should do everything in it’s power to support the students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional wellbeing. If there are issue in these areas, the district will suffer and be less productive.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

It really depends on the situation. Students that are an immediate danger to others should not be in the general classroom setting. Alternative education is important to assist the problem students.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

I believe that we need more paraprofessionals in the classroom to assist with these students and teachers. When there are 10 special needs students in the classroom of 33 and no paraprofessionals, the special needs students suffer because they don’t receive the added attention that’s needed for them to be successful.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

I believe that the school district should be everything possible to ensure that all students have equal opportunities to be successful.

Any other information you want to include or share?

October 4, 2020

Wayne Kakuda

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictAvondale School District
City:Auburn Hills

How long have you lived in your district?

25

Have you received any endorsements?

No

Are you an incumbent?

Yes

Why do you want to be a school board member?

Develop policies and decisions that will: Retain and find great educational staff; Ensure financial success; Build an inclusive learning environment

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

Education justice is providing equalized opportunities – access to educational resources, quality instructions, and focus on restorative justice, – so all learners can reach their full potential. Avondale School District has diverse learners, which provides us the opportunity to lead in education justice. As leaders, we must be vigilant to always be aware of our unconscious bias to value all people for their content.

For me, I work hard to listen to the person’s words and not guess at their motivations. This approach helps me empathize with the situations and circumstances that are presented to us. My empathy to the situation allows me to work towards decisions that help everyone move forward.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

I have always believed that education is the key to our collective future. We need to continually assess delivering education to our students. I believe that to unleash the talents that our learners have, we must first recognize that all learners are different, some learners have complicated situations that need addressed before they can learn, and intrinsic motivation is the key to creating life long learners.

Based on my perspective, I feel that the school in the post crisis will have several channels to deliver education to our students in the format that best fits them; differentiated learning curriculum that will provide opportunities to unlock the curiosity in our students.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

The school district serves our parents, students, and families and therefore, they should be informed and consulted in the decision making process. The more we engage our stakeholders the better we can understand the situation, alternatives, and decisions. Additionally, I believe the dialog would promote empathy to each others point of view. The toughest challenge is balancing all stakeholders view points to arrive at a “community” decision. I believe that if we develop empathy, we will have grace for the decision.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

Wayne Kakuda

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

My top three educational priorities are:
1. Retain and Find Great Educational Staff: The key to great education is to have great teachers, administrators, and support staff
2. Ensure Financial Success: Long term success is driven by operating the district with financially responsible budgets.
3. Build an Inclusive Learning Environment: We best serve all in our community by listening to, engaging with and advocating for our diverse learners, parents, community members, and businesses.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

My top three state educational priorities are

1. Increasing per pupil funding
2. Increasing local control on funding school
3. Revising how schools are evaluated

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

The school district continues to implement and adhere to the safety guidelines published by the CDC, State of Michigan, and the Oakland Health Department. The more difficult part is in the enforcement of these policies, especially when it comes to visitors to our school.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

The school district’s top priority is compensation for our Educators, Administrators and Support Staff. Retaining and finding great educational staff is a must. I believe that the key to education is great educators.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

Standardized tests need to serve as a compass in evaluating how we deliver education to our learners. With good analysis, we are able to identify areas for improvement in delivery and content. This compass also serves as a measure to ensure that all learners are growing and becoming proficient.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

Regularly reviewing the curriculum to ensure that the classes and topics are relevant in the eyes of our students are important. We are living in a world that has never existed, a world where at your fingertips you can access all the facts that you need. As educators, we must contextualize the facts and support our learners in shaping their behavior to become active members of our community. Thus, the curriculum must evolve as the context of our learners evolve.

I would keep our project based learning initiative. The project base learning methodology provides a driving question, leads students through a collaborate learning process, allows the student to explore solutions, and provides a structure for student reflection and formative feedback to increase curiosity and learning. Project based learning is a great tool for engaging student learning.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

Obvious or not, social emotional health is at the core of all people. When your social emotional health is good and center, your mind is available to learn, to be curious, and to be empathetic. So our school district, in partnership with the community, must dig deep to help fill the gaps that prevent social emotional well-being.

With limited resources at the school district level, I believe the school needs to engage the community to help fill the gaps. My experience tells me that when our community understand the need, they will step in to help support the resolution. Avondale has many initiatives that have blossomed when community members stepped up to support the initiative.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

Our school district has embraced Restorative Justice. We have implemented this approach and restorative justice has yielded significant results as measured by reduced second time offenses and reduced student days away from school. More importantly, the approach:

– Shows how their action impact another student
– Teaches them how to change their behavior
– Finds a way to make things right

Restorative Justice provides our learners a solid foundation for managing future situations in a conflict free way.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

Top priority is to identify learners who need special education support early and quickly. The faster we can identify our special education learners, the faster we can provide support.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

This is a work in progress. Equality is and has been on top of the minds for our Administration. As a leadership team, we discuss and have reviewed data to drive decisions to increase equality for our learners.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I believe that the youth of our world are the key to our collective future. The more we invest in them, the better humankind will be. I have partnered with two other kindred spirits my wife and Jeff Lau to form Gift of Giving (giftofgiving-mi.org). Gift of Giving is a non-profit organization with the mission to provide Avondale youth:
– Clothing and nutrition for those in need
– Entrepreneurial experiences to mentor future leaders
– Classroom enrichment programs to inspire people to go beyond.

Going in our fifth year, we have in total:

– Created two student run companies: Beans To Bags (beanstobags.org) is a coffee roasting company that purchases, roasts, and sells approximately 3,500 lbs of coffee per year. Moments Photography (momentsphoto.org) is a student run photography company where the business focuses on sports photography, family photography, senior photography, and many more. With no paid staff for both businesses, all profits go to students in need or scholarships for those who participate.

– Provided winter gear, clothing, and food to those in need. We have distributed approximately 3500+ winter items, 3500+ clothing and shoes, and 37,000+ canned of food.

– Provided back to school items to those in need. We have distributed approximately 40,000+ school supplies to our students and teachers.

– Provided approximately $50,000 in student scholarships for those who participated in Beans To Bags or Moments Photography.

October 4, 2020

Wayne Kakuda

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictAvondale School District
City:Auburn Hills

How long have you lived in your district?

25 years

Have you received any endorsements?

No

Are you an incumbent?

Yes

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I believe that I have a civic responsible to participate in my community where I believe my skills could be put to good use.

My passion, work ethic, fiscal responsibility, and leadership skills will enable me to help the School Board develop and implement strategies that will provide an enriching and fulfilling educational experience for all students.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

Education justice is providing equalized opportunities – access to educational resources, quality instructions, and focus on restorative justice, – so all learners can reach their full potential. Avondale School District has diverse learners, which provides us the opportunity to lead in education justice. As leaders, we must be vigilant to always be aware of our unconscious bias to value all people for their content.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

I have always believed that education is the key to our collective future. We need to continually assess delivering education to our students. I believe that to unleash the talents that our learners have, we must first recognize that all learners are different, some learners have complicated situations that need addressed before they can learn, and intrinsic motivation is the key to creating life long learners.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

The school district serves our parents, students, and families and therefore, they should be informed and consulted in the decision making process. The more we engage our stakeholders the better we can understand the situation, alternatives, and decisions. Additionally, I believe the dialog would promote empathy to each others point of view. The toughest challenge is balancing all stakeholders view points to arrive at a “community” decision. I believe that if we develop empathy, we will have grace for the decision.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

Wayne Kakuda

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

1. Retain and Find Great Educational Staff: The key to great education is to have great teachers, administrators, and support staff
2. Ensure Financial Success: Long term success is driven by operating the district with financially responsible budgets.
3. Build an Inclusive Learning Environment: We best serve all in our community by listening to, engaging with and advocating for our diverse learners, parents, community members, and businesses.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

1. Increasing per pupil funding
2. Increasing local control on funding school
3. Revising how schools are evaluated

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

The school district continues to implement and adhere to the safety guidelines published by the CDC, State of Michigan, and the Oakland Health Department. The more difficult part is in the enforcement of these policies, especially when it comes to visitors to our school.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

The school district’s top priority is compensation for our Educators, Administrators and Support Staff. Retaining and finding great educational staff is a must. I believe that the key to education is great educators.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

Standardized tests need to serve as a compass in evaluating how we deliver education to our learners. With good analysis, we are able to identify areas for improvement in delivery and content. This compass also serves as a measure to ensure that all learners are growing and becoming proficient.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

Regularly reviewing the curriculum to ensure that the classes and topics are relevant in the eyes of our students are important. We are living in a world that has never existed, a world where at your fingertips you can access all the facts that you need. As educators, we must contextualize the facts and support our learners in shaping their behavior to become active members of our community. Thus, the curriculum must evolve as the context of our learners evolve.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

Obvious or not, social emotional health is at the core of all people. When your social emotional health is good and center, your mind is available to learn, to be curious, and to be empathetic. So our school district, in partnership with the community, must dig deep to help fill the gaps that prevent social emotional well-being.

With limited resources at the school district level, I believe the school needs to engage the community to help fill the gaps. My experience tells me that when our community understand the need, they will step in to help support the resolution. Avondale has many initiatives that have blossomed when community members stepped up to support the initiative.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

Our school district has embraced Restorative Justice. We have implemented this approach and restorative justice has yielded significant results as measured by reduced second time offenses and reduced student days away from school. More importantly, the approach:

– Shows how their action impact another student
– Teaches them how to change their behavior
– Finds a way to make things right

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

Top priority is to identify learners who need special education support early and quickly. The faster we can identify our special education learners, the faster we can provide support.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

This is a work in progress. Equality is and has been on top of the minds for our Administration. As a leadership team, we discuss and have reviewed data to drive decisions to increase equality for our learners.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I believe that the youth of our world are the key to our collective future. The more we invest in them, the better humankind will be. I have partnered with two other kindred spirits my wife and Jeff Lau to form Gift of Giving (giftofgiving-mi.org). Gift of Giving is a non-profit organization with the mission to provide Avondale youth:
– Clothing and nutrition for those in need
– Entrepreneurial experiences to mentor future leaders
– Classroom enrichment programs to inspire people to go beyond.

Going in our fifth year, we have in total:

– Created two student run companies: Beans To Bags (beanstobags.org) is a coffee roasting company that purchases, roasts, and sells approximately 3,500 lbs of coffee per year. Moments Photography (momentsphoto.org) is a student run photography company where the business focuses on sports photography, family photography, senior photography, and many more. With no paid staff for both businesses, all profits go to students in need or scholarships for those who participate.

– Provided winter gear, clothing, and food to those in need. We have distributed approximately 3500+ winter items, 3500+ clothing and shoes, and 37,000+ canned of food.

– Provided back to school items to those in need. We have distributed approximately 40,000+ school supplies to our students and teachers.

– Provided approximately $50,000 in student scholarships for those who participated in Beans To Bags or Moments Photography.

October 4, 2020

Robbin Hopkins

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictAvondale School District
City:Auburn Hills

How long have you lived in your district?

6 years

Have you received any endorsements?

no

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I am a lifelong resident of Michigan. I attended the Pontiac School District. I attended Oakland Community College and Oakland University and I am a graduate of Wayne State University (BA Sociology) and Thomas M. Cooley Law School (JD). I live in Auburn Hills and have one student in the Avondale School District. I currently work for the State of Michigan as an Adult Services Worker. I worked with youth and families in the Child and Family Services Department for 10+ years. I am product of the public school system. I am running for the school board because I believe the board sets the path for the district. The teachers cannot do it alone, there has to be a vision for the district with policy that benefits all the youth and holds leadership accountable to ensure there is equity and equality in education for all students. Avondale has a diverse student population but lacks diversity on the Board, in administration and with the teaching staff. I am running to promote diversity and inclusion in education. I feel I can give valuable input to the board. This is my way of serving my community. I enjoy being a part of the decision making process regarding how to best prepare our children for their adult lives.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

Minority students are more likely to receive negative treatment in education; less likely to be selected for advance placement opportunities and are disproportionately disciplined. Avondale’s staff is is not representative of the student population. Minority students need to see professionals that reflect their race, ethnicity and culture.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

More opportunities to learn in a method that is conducive to the individual student by creating an environment where students want to participate.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

Utilizing a team approach in decision making while building skills that allow students to actively make choices early in their educational career is imperative to longterm success.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

None at this time.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

Diversity and Inclusion ; Educational Injustice towards minority students; and Career Path Readiness

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

Budget, Technology and Curriculum issues.

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

Making sure that students are able to learn during this pandemic rather in school or virtually. Equitable resources for the entire student population. Keeping the youth safe in school and out of school must be a priority.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

Technology, facilities and staffing are a priority.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

Standardized testing has historically been detrimental to minority students and highly prejudicial in urban school districts. Testing should be individualized with necessary accommodations to fit the students needs.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

Increasing the cultural representation in curriculum.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

If the mental health of the student is ignored failure of the student is very likely. The school must address the whole student to ensure success.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

The punishment should reflect the crime and not be biased.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

Lack of resources to provide educational opportunities reflective of the student’s individual needs.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

The staff and administration should be reflective of the student population. Increase incentives to attract minority and male teachers.

Any other information you want to include or share?

Thank you for this opportunity.

October 4, 2020

Kelly Brault

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictAvondale School District
City:Troy

How long have you lived in your district?

16 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Yes – Michigan Education Association (MEA)

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

Most of my career has been in higher education, because education is a key value of mine. I have had great experiences in the Avondale School District, having two children in the district starting with preschool. They are now in seventh and tenth grade. I am passionate about the fact that we need gender diversity on the board, which is currently 100% male. I also think that we need some creative problem solving which I’ve prided myself in throughout my career in non-profits. We need this generally, but even moreso right now in a pandemic.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

To me, education justice is about fairness and equity for all involved in education. At a time like now, it’s ensuring that everyone can learn and teach in a safe environment. It’s also about resources – ensuring that everyone has the same access to education. Funding also plays a role – not all districts are funded equally. Avondale specifically receives less per pupil funding than many surrounding schools. We also have a much higher percentage of student on free and reduced lunches, so the support resources needed are greater.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

I think the pandemic has forced us to be more creative and collaborative in our approach to education. I think that it has helped us appreciate the value of in-person classrooms and the expertise that teachers bring to the classroom. It has also helped us to expand to utilize more technology in creative ways. I’d like to see this continue. There are opportunities to continue some use of technology to make education accessible in multiple ways (for example, utilizing google classroom as a hub for assignments, etc). I think it also can lead us to more access to education for special situations, like students with an extended illness. Sick policies in general could benefit from online tools, so students who may otherwise spread illness in the classroom won’t be too far behind because they can access assignments online. It’s also interesting to think that snow days may now be a thing of the past, replaced by learn from home days. I’d also love to see options for content in the summer to prevent the summer slide.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

Involvement helps make a better district. Feedback should be encouraged privately and in open forums. Inviting stakeholders to take part in task forces and other planning forums and/or question and answer opportunities is also ideal. I’m a firm believer in clear communication and transparency, so that people can be informed.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

My campaign is 100% self-funded. I am not accepting financial support.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

Right now, the pandemic has taken the front seat as the biggest issue for the district. While safety needs to be a top priority, we also need to do everything we can to restore in-person learning so that it’s safe for teachers and students alike. This will take lots of planning, benchmarking other districts and listening to our district’s stakeholders. This is closely followed by budget – funding continues to be a struggle, with Avondale having much lower per pupil funding than surrounding schools. We need to advocate for more funding as well as ensure that we’re spending funds on our top priorities. I’d like to look at ways to collaborate and use our resources as efficiently as possible. I’d like to further lean on our partnership with Oakland University to help. The third priority is to attract and retain students and teachers by working to show our community how great Avondale is. We have underappreciated strengths like our arts programs, robotics, ASD support and more.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

Again, the pandemic looms large, and as such, having clear guidelines from the state is critical. While the return to school roadmap offers some help, things continue to evolve and new orders have made interpretation difficult. The funding of schools is also problematic – more funding is needed and more equitable distribution is needed. Michigan is also lagging behind other states in student performance overall and in special education. The key causes of that need to be determined, starting with curriculum standards and the frequency of testing.

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

The challenges that our district faces with COVID right now are many. Families are in a difficult situation juggling work and children, particularly those with younger children. Mental health issues that were already near crisis-level before this are getting worse. And disadvantaged families are at even greater risk of falling further behind due to technology access and other supports that are needed. The school district’s top priority must be safety, however it’s important to work diligently to get back in classrooms when that can happen safely. To do that, there is a great amount of legwork to ensure clear policies and procedures are set. There must also be training of educators to know how they can stay safe and teach their students to follow safety procedures as well. There also need to be funding for tools to keep people safe – PPE, hand sanitizer, individual tools, cleaning supplies, etc. There also needs to be flexibility and community feedback to help guide this.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

Instruction and instruction-related items should be number one. In this unique time, safety and technology may be higher than normal. While administration and operations are necessary, efficiencies should be examined to ensure budget is being spent as prudently as possible. One thing that I am largely not in favor of is utilization of privatized services if at all possible to avoid.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

I would like to see less standardized tests. There are multiple tests multiple times of year, which takes away from the ability for students to learn new things. The tests used seem to change almost every other year too, so there’s no consistency or understanding of what they mean relative to other tests that existed before. It would be nice to see more accommodations for different types of learners, particularly those with an IEP.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

I’d love to see more focus on STEM and earlier interventions for students before they fall through the cracks and “hate math” or think that they are just not good at it.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

This is a critical piece of the education picture. If you are not emotionally well, learning becomes that much more difficult. Our district is already maxed out in terms of counselors and mental health professionals’ bandwidth. I’d love to see this as a priority from the state or federal government to provide resources in the schools. Without more funding, though, schools can only be a triage point, to identify issues and provide resources for families to handle outside of the school system.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

There are a few items that need a zero tolerance policy, for example bringing weapons to school, making threats that endanger lives and other extreme behaviors. Involving local law enforcement may be necessary with some of these types of examples. Other discipline items need to also be taken seriously including violence, bullying and more. Involving families, problem solving and keeping students accountable through detention and in-school suspension have been effective for our school district.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

I’d like to ensure that we’re meeting the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and that our outcomes for these students are positive. I’d like for Avondale to be a district of best practices in the state for the work that we already do like the Bridge Buddies program and special programs for students on the spectrum (ASD). I’d also like to see more partnership with Oakland University in this area to continue to elevate our programs.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

Avondale is a diverse district in race, religion, socioeconomic status and much more. We are much more diverse than our neighboring districts. While we have a lot of programs aimed at equity and services to help those with need, our district could use this diversity as a strength if we can utilize our differences to learn from each other. I’d love to see more collaborative efforts among the four elementary schools, so students will become friends with those from within the district long before middle school – anything from athletics and drama camps to community gardens and more.

I also think that this needs to start with our board’s lack of gender diversity being addressed.

Any other information you want to include or share?

My background in non-profit organizations makes me particularly well-suited to problem solving with limited budgets. My role at Oakland University provides me access to community leaders and faculty members to develop an even stronger partnership with the Avondale School District. I am eager to serve the Avondale community and work with multiple stakeholders to better understand the issues and find solutions.