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    2020 School Board Candidates

    Flint Community Schools

October 20, 2020

Billie Mitchell

Pronouns:She/her
School District:Flint Community Schools
City:Flint

How long have you lived in your district?

5 years

Have you received any endorsements?

None

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I would love to see the Flint Community Schools flourish like they once did. I believe my experience with youth and my passion for the future of youth , gives me an advantage to seeing that our schools return to the great state and standard once held.

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

Education justice means serving students to the degree that THEIR environment and community deems necessary. No one school district is the same , therefore “blanket , one-size fits all” plans are outdated and out of the question , ESPECIALLY in Flint. Flint is unique because of our poverty , illiteracy rates , lead issues , etc…there is no other place that can be compared to Flint.

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

Aside from the obvious lack of aesthetics , school would be a place where children not only grow cognitively , but would grow in their family structure. The amount of support services for families would invest in the structure of the family , creating opportunities for financial , emotional , mental growth and more. I believe if we can support the family , we could ultimately alleviate many barriers that not only families face , but that teachers/administrators face when teaching our children.

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

This goes back to my previous answer around how I reimagine schools and parents , students and families have to be involved in making decisions with our school district because we can only create effective and lasting change when we get to the root of issues that create barriers for learning.

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

My family.

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

My top three educational goals for my school district are: funding , resources , family support.

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

My top three goals at a state level are: funding , the Read by Grade Three Law , School/municipal policies.

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?

I anticipate that due to COVID , schools will not resume in person as planned. My concern is the mental and social health of the students and families and how we can combat issues that may arise due to quarantine.

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

My schools top districts spending priority should be on staffing schools appropriately with teachers , administration and other staff in order to have the manpower to serve the children in the capacity the students need serving. What should not be my districts priority is updating buildings that will have a lesser likelihood of staying open due to repairs and maintenance.

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

I think if students are going to be standardized tested in Flint , then Flint students need to be prepared accordingly. Otherwise standardized test essentially fail Flint students.

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?

If I could have an impact on my school districts curriculum , I would definitely push for students to learn about the different histories such as African American history , foreign language , home economics , financial economics , fine arts and small business instruction.

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

I believe my schools district has a great responsibility in supporting students and staff mental healthy. Ones health without the other calls for a great disturbance and injustice to everyone involved.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?My schools district should handle student discipline by having those check-ins with the family in order to build that relationship that garners trust and respect first and foremost. Students who do not respond , would be offered counseling and if in fact , a student was violent appropriate measures should be considered.

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

Special education is crucial in Flint’s district because of the added barrier of lead poisoning to our children.

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

My perspective on working toward achieving equity within Flint’s district is shaping a future for our students that does not leave them behind , but in fact puts them ahead. Our poverty and lack Of opportunity should not be built upon in our educational system solely because we are a poor , predominately black community.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I am a tireless fighter for what is right and not what looks right or makes me look good. My work has never been about me and I look forward to continuing on the road of advocating for the greater good of others.

October 20, 2020

Timothy Abdul-Matin

Pronouns:Mr.
School District:Flint community schools
City:Flint

How long have you lived in your district?

Over 10 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Yes , Senator Jim Ananich.

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I believe my life experience gives me insight at what are school district needs to do for our children. We need more men from our community to step up and be a voice and I believe that my voice can make a difference in the decision making of our kids future.

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

Education Justice for me is ensuring that every student gets treated fairly and be invested in. That those with the most need get the resources they need and that policies that negatively and disproportionately effect students be changed or eradicated. Also , I believe that education justice is given students from impoverished neighborhoods and school district get the same opportunities to be part of the civic life of their community as those in affluent neighborhoods and districts.

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

My vision is to make sure that our facilities infrastructure is up to code and sustainable. It is environmentally unjust to have buildings in the 21st century where the infrastructure is outdated and dilapidated. We should expand our educating methods by implementing best practice models and bringTrauma informed practices to educate our children. Community involvement , we must work with community centers and organizations that can offer additional resources and outlets for students. Last but not less , we have to make sure we get funding and be accountable for making sure it is sustainable so that we don’t have to make decisions that could impact the health of our students.

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

Families voices should be heard and i believe that our school district should be engaging with families to see how they could work together. We need more school/family events and more transparency from school districts. I will create a community educational commission involving parents , students , educators , administrators , and community members with the intention of bridging the gap between them all.

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

N/A

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

1. Expanding the curricula
2. Rebrand our district’s mission
3. Training , we must get adequate training for our educators.

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

1. Increase per-pupil funding
2. Address institutional and structural barriers
3. Provide additional funding for students with special needs.

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 biggest challenge we will face will be keeping our students and educators safe. Our school district must put in the proper safe guards for students and educators. Acquiring PPE , decreasing classroom sizes , and creating a safety plan that will be best at minimizing the potential spread of COVID-19.

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

Our top priority should be focus on our children that need special education and on decreasing the digital literacy gap.

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

I believe that standardized testing should play a very little role. Often times educators are pressured to teach their classrooms based on these standardized testing dates and students get left behind because the may not learn as quick as other students , or they don’t perform well on testing. Not to mention , some studies show that standardized testing are culturally bias.

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 elevate Black and non-dominant narratives and promote relevant , culturally-influenced education and self- determination for minority communities. I would provide culture and history training for educators and increase teacher diversity. One of the most important things I would like to see is skill trades programs , expanding art programs and implementing artificial intelligence learning , blockchain development and cloud computing.

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

My campaign mantra is entitled: “Bring back the village” and I believe that every person involved in a students life has a responsibility to provide that child/student with a safe and healthy environment. Nonetheless , we must also provide our educators with that same
Kind of compassion and love as well. After all , these are the individuals who are part of our village that will be educating our children.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?I believe our district needs to adopt best practice restorative justice models and have trauma informed Individuals to deal with any students with disciplinary problems. If we can find monies to bring in these trained professionals we could eliminate criminalizing our students because we don’t know how to manage their behaviors.

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

More funding for special education
Additional resources and trainings for educators who are education those students who need special education.

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

We must adopt a just plan on ensuring that we achieve equitable outcomes for students and provide an avenue for using an equity lens to review all policies , practices and procedures within our school district.

Any other information you want to include or share?

Unfortunately Due to work , I can not attend this virtual forum but I want voters to know that I will fight hard for our children , educators and our school district. We will bring back the village so that as a community our schools will be the best choice again.

October 20, 2020

Michael D. Doan

Pronouns:He/him
School District:Flint community schools
City:Flint

How long have you lived in your district?

25 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Teamsters local 332

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I want to become a board member because I believe education is the most important tool on your tool belt in this world. No one can take you knowledge from you. We have to teach that to our new generation of young people like it was taught to us. Everyone wants to become successful over night but not be educated or taught that you have to work really hard for that type of success. I believe someone like myself a person that’s still considered to be young and Still learning myself , who else is better to teach that to our generation coming up now. I can relate to the tough issues students go through in their daily life. I believe I can be a person who advocate for our children and can come on this board and create real change in the way our district so desperately needs. Flint needs a board who can relate to the issues at hand.I believe that the children need to have an advocate. A person who really has their best interest at heart. We need to get back to the basics and make sure they are getting the things they need to be successful members of society. They are indeed our future and we need to make sure we are developing our future the children to continue on the work for Flint schools just as we are.

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

Education justice means to me that every child that goes through the flint school district has the best qualified teaches , guidance counselors and opportunities to elevate and graduate. To have advanced courses , skill trades , home economics , and financial literacy to ensure every child has the opportunities to figure out and develop their skills and abilities so that they can move forward in life productively.

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

If I could reimagine the way schools would look like after the pandemic; it would be to update the schools we have left In the district. Each student being able to have advance home health and skill trade opportunities. For each student to have the option of extra tutoring and working online from home during a sick day or a day where it’s just I’m possible to deal with the traditional brick and mortar setting , but still can complete their classes/courses to not fall behind.

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

I believe bringing different groups to the table in the decision making of the district , a mother’s group , auntie group , fathers , group. Also board town hall meetings sharing ideas , speaking to the community , having good old conversations with students and families creating an open dialogue between the district and the community.

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

Family and local businesses

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

My top three educational priorities within the district is bring back home economic , financial literacy , and last but not least skill trade programs. Those three are very important educational priorities because you use them in your everyday life. Even after high school and college.

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

My top three educational priorities at a state level would have to be (SAT , ACT , PSAT , MEAP). Which are all state test but also Early childhood development and Special Education because a lot of the time those two get looked over.

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?

I believe the challenges where not having a plan to began with always believing brick and mortar was the only option when covid hit , also not having virtual school an option in the beginning before covid , which led to not enough equipment for the students. I believe the challenge was not having enough “what if” plans in place for a pandemic such as covid19. I believe the district has to put a team in place that reports directly to the board on keeping students and staff safe this school year. That team being responsible for collecting data on students and staff health and if they may or may not have the covid symptoms. sanitation for all the schools and also having the student and staff practice social distances. Bringing a Certified nurse back into the schools. Last but not least; keeping virtual school a option for so many who have other health issues and can’t risk coming back into the traditional brick and mortar setting.

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

The top spending priorities should be teachers , advanced study programs , special education , updating of old school buildings. An alternatively I believe everything thing dealing with the school district has some level of priority rather big or small.

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

I think standardized tests are very important as a focal point and should play a big role in the district to see where exactly is students achievement level are at in certain categories. However I don’t believe that should determine where the state will invest dollars. I believe that no matter what state dollars should be distribute equally and fairly through each 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?

One major change to the curriculum I have that I think would be a huge impact is to bring back home economic and Financial literacy. Just like in grand Blanc or flushing , Fenton ,etc. Go back to the basic bring back the skill center. Bring coding into the game. Partner with Kettering who’s here in flint for robotics for flint students. Last but not least bring arts and craft back. Not just band but studio , videographer ,etc. I honestly don’t know what I would keep the same now , everything in this district needs to be reformed.

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

I think the school holds a lot of responsibility in supporting the teachers and students mental and emotional wellbeing. I believe that there are not enough outlets for the children. Sports should not be the only outlet. We need band , choir , arts , drama , glee , journalism , yearbook classes as well as newer things such as music production , coding , robotics , photography and videography. These children need things to do that interest them , not just the traditional things. The teachers also need things for support. Life is stressful and everyone needs and outlet. We need counseling readily available to the children as well as teachers , meditation classes and yoga. We need to make sure our teachers mental is taken care of so they can take care of our children while on their care.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?I believe the disciplinary actions need to be redesigned. I do not believe that everything warrants a child being expelled. Maybe we need to find different ways like maybe a community service program for certain things. As far as making the children and staff feel safe I believe we need to be proactive not reactive about situations such as weapons and threats. More security guards or even train the teachers for situations.

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

I believe especially since the water crisis special education is so important! We have children with ADHD , PTSD , dyslexia , autism , and numerous other learning disabilities that don’t necessarily warrant a special classroom , but the teachers need to be equip to handle them and they need to have programs and outlets directly geared towards them. For those that need special classes and classrooms we need to make sure that they have highly qualified teachers to assist them in their learning as well. We want ALL of our children to succeed.

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

Auction off or selling old buildings and land to developers for the city.

Any other information you want to include or share?

No thank you

October 4, 2020

Mario DeSean Booker

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictFlint Community School
City:Flint

How long have you lived in your district?

40

Have you received any endorsements?

No

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I have always longed and strived to serve the community I love and grew up in. Growing up I very rarely saw Men in position of power or with strong educational backgrounds. Sadly, within the urban community, there are very few role models who display images of integrity and come with strong scholastic backgrounds. It is important that children see broad spectrum or see themselves in local leaders. I feel as someone from the community who never left, who surpassed the adversities of the “ghetto” achieved high academic success, and wants to make impactfully change and model that your current reality doesn’t dictate your future i need to serve.

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

Education justice involves schools and communities that work to provide equitable and adequate distribution of highly qualified teachers who can provide quality instruction, equitable access to educational resources, advanced courses, and a focus on restorative justice to ensure that all students graduate high school ready for career or college. Specifically for Flint community schools, resources need to be put in place and refocusing is needed to ensure students receive equitable instruction coupled with equitable resources. Flint suffers significantly with funding educational programs and the educational system. This is in part due to a reduction of pupils in the Flint Community Schools. This creates an injustice of education to the students and can and oftentimes due cause futuristic deficiencies in this student.

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

One of the key areas I can see reimagined is the continuation of virtual learning. Most higher learning education facility and colleges have already transitioned to offer classes virtually years ago. I feel in order for children to be successful in an colligate environment and navigate these new technological landscape the continuation of virtually learning is needed.

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

Yes, i believe elected board members need to be the voice of those who elected them into office. With a seat on the Board of Education the member need to be an advocate and voice to those who put him/her into office.

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

None

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

• Establishing working relationship with law enforcement and the court system with goals to reduce arrest at schools
• Strategic re-branding Flint Community schools,
• devote resources to scout and capture students
Enrollment increase, must be coupled with enrollment retention. We need to retain the students we have, while at the same time increase enrollment. The board need a strategic plan to increase enrollment. Strategic points (which I will push for) includes, community involvement, rebranding Flint Community schools, devote resources to scout and capture students, and launch a parent ambassador program. I believe incorporating these into a solid strategic plan, and enlisting community partners to help rebranding, will change the narrative and prospective on Flint Community Schools. Which in return, will cause parent to send there children to our community!

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

NA

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?

Covid has had detrimental effects on the educational system, many of which were unforeseen. To keep children and staff, I feel school system should continue virtual learning for those that are able, and reduced classroom size and implementation of social distance practice throughout the school building.

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

I believe the top spending priority needs to be investing back into the educational enrichment of the students. This pandemic has clearly demonstrated that fragility of the Flint Community School system and the growing need to fortify the district with more qualified teachers and developing our educational infrastructure to accommodate virtually learning. We must invest in ourselves to help ourselves.

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

Many studies have deem standardized testing to be impractical and cultural non-inclusive. I am not a proponent of standardized testing, studies has not showing any improvement in student achievement and furthermore, standardized testing are not reliable tool to measure student performance especially with special education students. It creates a “teaching to the test” mentality, where teacher teach student just to pass this test, but this hinders good practice teaching methodology.

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 encourage and want to implement more trade skill development and increase STEM training. I feel these are areas that need to be expanded within the Flint Community School district.

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

I believe it is the responsibility of the school to ensure both staff and students operate in positive emotion and mental wellbeing. Failures in this area hinder developmental growth and education potential.

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

Studies have shown that zero tolerance polices don’t work. This default position need to change. It creates a manage up or manage out policy and feeds the school to prison pipeline. Comprehensive discipline polices and corrective action plans tend to cause the most correction in students struggling with behavioral problems.

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

As a parent of a special needs kids, i wholly believe in parental involvement and when the child comes of age include the child to ensure all parties agree and their voices are heard. IEP meeting should be hosted frequently. This, from my experience, doesn’t happen in my district.

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

I vehemently support equity in education. Not to me things equal but equitable and fair. I believe in fighting and pushing for the resources need to establish a fair education platform for students in Flint.

Any other information you want to include or share?

October 4, 2020

Ariana Hawk

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictFlint Community School
City:Flint

How long have you lived in your district?

30 years

Have you received any endorsements?

No

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

The reason why I want to be a school board member is because I have a lot invested interest in the Flint schools. I have attended Flint school and hawk children who are current in Flint schools. I know how important it is to have a school board that represent not only the schools but the kids and parents as well. I still believe in the old Motto “It takes a village to raise a child” As part of the community I want to do my part and make sure that the kids in Flint get the education funding and support they need to be successful.

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

Education justice to me involves the schools and communities working together to provide quality instruction, equitable access to educational resources, advanced courses, and a focus on restorative justice to ensure that all students graduate high school …

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

Tough Question as I still can’t imagine what our Flint students have had to endure since the water crisis. Of course until a cure is found and is safely distributed schools must follow guild lines and require mask and check temps upon entry but I believe we need to have more staffing available so that are students have more one on one time so smaller class sizes which mean more teachers will have to be hired. Ideally we would have similar setting just a few extra requirements.

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

When I was a parent attending board meetings the one thing that I hated is public comments came before describe were made. Example if budget was the topic we wouldn’t have any input until the following meeting which then isn’t important because what’s on the mind of the board is the agenda for the day. So as parents we felt although we had a voice we weren’t being heard our Issues weren’t being addressed, move public comment to the end would be helpful. I also think doing surveys are helpful but we have to make the education process inclusive making parents feel like they have to be apart of the education rather then feel like they opt in when they want. When I was in school our parents were involved because they had to not saying we won’t the parents to be at every thing but makin participation mandatory helped.

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

I’m running my campaign in Grass root organizing talking to my neighbors frriends and family and using my resources as a Community Activist

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

Funding
Resources
Special Education

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

More awareness and funding towards the Special Education programs Making sure that our District Secures the Resources needed for our students to be productive and graduate High School

Bring the graduation retention rate up I feel like our students aren’t giving it their all because they don’t have all the resources and support from the community to be successful we have to bring back things like GearUp more college prep classes things to motivate our students.

Funding finding out ways that we can find funding to get our district out of debt and bring in teacher we can afford to pay. I want our teachers to want to come to work and love it not come to work and feel underpaid and not give it their all. Our district has to find a way to turn around the debt.

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?

I think the district has done everything they can by making this year remote which is keeping everyone safe. The challenges we are going to face are going to be the lack of participation(students and parent) and retaining our students meaning some students can’t log on to class everyday because mom is working so their not on or for instance some schools have resumed in person learning so our kids our leaving our district to go where they can be accommodated.

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

Bring our buildings up to code and creating a better budget for our teachers.

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

No role

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 believe our curriculums are pretty set in stone. I’m fine with that

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

Our school district plays a big role in the mental and emotional health of our kids and staff Student’s and staff sometimes spend more time together than a family does so it’s important we work hard to keep everyone safety and well-being as a top priority.

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

I think we have already took a lot of extreme measures with putting officers in schools I think we have to be more understanding with what has happened to Flints kid’s and the fact that the water has done damage to our babies that they need stages of discipline not extreme discipline. I’d like to not contribute to the school to prison pipeline. And find ways to work with our students.

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

Awareness Understanding and funding

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

Educational equity means that all students should have access to the right resources they need at the right moment in their education, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, language, religion, family background, or family income

Any other information you want to include or share?