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    2020 School Board Candidates

    Royal Oak School District

October 7, 2020

LaKeesha Morrison

Pronouns:She/her
School District:Royal Oak School District
City:Royal oak

How long have you lived in your district?

I have lived in Royal Oak for 36 years.

Have you received any endorsements?

Yes , I have received endorsements from the United Auto Worker (UAW) , Royal Oak Multicultural Parent Association (ROMPA) , Royal Oak Education Association (ROEA) , and Michigan Education Association (MEA).

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I want to be a member of the school board because I want to help bring to positive change within the diversity and equality aspect of our school district. It is important to me to help voice the concerns of those too frightened or too shy to speak up about inequality and stereotypes unseen within the school district.

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

Education justice has many meanings to me. First and foremost , education justice to me would include the school system , its staffs , the students , their parents/families , and most important it would include the community in which we reside in. Education justice , to me , consist of a network of people working together to able to provide the children of our district the best possible equal education. No matter their ethnicity , race , gender , or preferences; each student should be provided with the best possible education that will enable them to graduate and become a successful adult.

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

If I could completely reimagine the way schools would look like after this public health crisis , I would want to see people held accountable for their behavior. I want to see more diversity and equality among students and staffs. I would love to see more resources available to those in need of it!

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

I believe that parents , students , and families should be involved in making decisions within our school districts by taking monthly surveys on how they feel about certain topics of concerns.

Also , by reporting their concerns to those in charge and the topic be addressed properly among a designated group of panel , who will then come up with a plan to better the situation.

I would love to see the line of communications between students , staffs , and the community open and free of judgement.

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

I do not have any top financial supporter. However , our Royal Oak community has helped contribute financially to my campaign.

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

My top 3 educational priorities/goals within our school districts would be:

1.) Equal treatment amongst everyone in the district regardless of their race , age , ethnicity , sexual preferences , and gender.

2.) The best possible education for our children , along with expansion of learning about the minority/Black History in America. One month (February) is not long enough!

3.) The change and positive encouragement with resources from things like social media , networking , and the communities to educate our students on life after they graduate because the goal is for them to GRADUATE!

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

My top 3 educational priorities/goals at state level for our students are:

1.) For students to reach their academic goals while feeling like they are in a stress-free environment.

2.) For all students to be able to have access to the resources that is needed without judgement , no matter their race , ethnicity , age , gender , and sexual preference.

3.) The safety of our students and our staff while they are in a school setting.

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 many challenges within the school year when battling with the COVID Pandemic. The most challenging of them all is being able to keep our students and staff safe from contracting and spreading COVID-19. Until a vaccine is available , we must take all preventative protocols which include downside in classes , masks , frequent hand washing , and properly advocating for our students/staff to encourage and educate one another to take these preventative measures.

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

Our School District’s top spending priorities should be

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

Standardized tests should be play a role within our school district when comparing student learning , however , the test results alone should not measure our student’s educational level. Some students are not good test takers , gets easily distracted , and/or cannot focus properly which affects their test results. This does that meant that they are learning , being properly educated , and/or lagging behind among other 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?

Elementary: Educate the importance of diversity , equality , and teaching about the true history of Black History months and all its leaders.

Middle School: Educate the importance of diversity , equality , and teaching about the true history of Black History months and all its leaders.

High School: A required course should be taught about Black History , equality , diversity among and within the US!

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

I believe my School District does hold responsibilities when it comes to supporting students’ and staff’s mental and emotional health/wellbeing. However , there is always room for improvement!

There can be assessment done for the staffs and then one done for students to see how much support they feel when it comes to their mental and emotion health/wellbeing within the School District.

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

I believe the safety of our students and staff is the most important thing while in a school setting. Students should be held accountable for their behavior and actions so that as adults , they will understand that you are held responsible for your actions!

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

My top priorities around special education is to make sure that they have the access to the best possible resources when they need it without judgement!

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

My perspective on working towards achieving equity within our school district is a positive one. I believe in our school district and I believe that if we properly address certain serious topics by looking at it from the students perspective , from the staff perspective , we could find come up with the proper resources resulting in a success!

Any other information you want to include or share?

I just would love you thank you for taking the time to read my response.

October 4, 2020

Dustin Gabriel Kaupp

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictRoyal Oak School District
City:Royal Oak

How long have you lived in your district?

7 years

Have you received any endorsements?

NA

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

To help build a better district for my kids

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

I feel like education should be offered to every individual. Education justice to me would be getting students a face to face option of learning for the single mothers/fathers trying to raise a family.

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

I think school should focus on real life examples of learning and should have better exposure to different career paths.

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

Everyone should be involved in decision making for the school district. When it comes down to final decision the school board members need to think of what is right for the majority of students and staff. Hopefully listening to everyone who wants to voice their opinion will be a top priority for the school board.

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

myself-I am not taking any donations

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

-Face to face learning
-Safety
-Student Opportunity

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

I am more focused on our local community.

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?

Establish a plan, follow it. I think keeping our kids from daily social interaction would be more of a detriment than COVID. I would not want to put anyone in a situation they are not comfortable with. Keeping a virtual option is also a must.

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

staff, facility,

I would have to analyze the budget to see what should not be prioritized.

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

I think their role should be similar to what they have in the past but could be reviewed to see if there is a way to be more effective for the future.

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?

Make sure curriculum represents many cultures and cohorts. I think communication is also key.

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

I think the district has to be a key part in mental wellbeing. Having the correct support will help everyone in the district.

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

I would stick with the current protocol

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

I believe special education support needs to keep growing with what we offer our students every year

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

It has to be a priority to ensure all groups are given the opportunity to be themselves within the district. I have been a major contributor to LBGT+ rights in our workplace @ PepsiCo.

Any other information you want to include or share?

any other questions please go to www.dustinkaupp.com

October 4, 2020

Erika Alexander

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictRoyal Oak School District
City:Royal Oak

How long have you lived in your district?

17 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Michigan Educational Association; Andrew Rogers, the Vice President of Michigan Association of Bilingual Education and 20 year Royal Oak resident

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I have been frustrated with the slow movement in our district when it comes to issues of race and equity. While the current Board has taken some action, it has simply been statements of commitment and no actionable change. Stakeholders have been pushing this concern for years and the Board’s failure to take action is what prompted me to consider running.

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

Education justice means that there is equity regardless of racial, ethnic, sexual orientations, socioeconomic status and learning capacities. In a public school setting there must be accommodations in place to assure that there is fair and equitable access to learning. The curriculum should be inclusive of all students, culturally competent and regularly reviewed/updated. Discipline practices should be fair, equitable and most importantly transparent. There should not be disparities in disciplinary practices among Black and brown students or students with special needs. Education justice means that all students regardless of differences have the same access, the same chances for success and the same resources afforded to them on their learning journey.

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

We should take inventory of what worked with our students and families in virtual learning and explore how virtual learning components can lend themselves to a well rounded education. We should also use this as a time to assess what didn’t work and why. We should consider that some of those same factors impact schooling in-person. We should work purposefully to eliminate barriers to success for children and families. Most importantly we should be making data driven decisions when it comes to what instruction looks like post pandemic.

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

I am a firm believer in the importance of stakeholder feedback. Right now the district has only occasionally engaged in stakeholder feedback and often in response to pressure, rather than regular measurements being desired. In my opinion there should be formal avenues in place for parents, students and families to provide feedback. I would love to see regular opportunity for parents and students to weigh in on performance of administrators and teachers and for that feedback to be considered in light of formal performance appraisals. Feedback measures should be in place within the district so that corrections or adjustments can be made timely.

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

My father and two close friends

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

1. Adoption of culturally competent curriculum across all grade levels.
2. Intentional hiring practices to attract and retain teachers and administrators of various racial/ethnic backgrounds.
3. Transparency in disciplinary practices to ensure that discipline is fair and equitable across race/ethnicity as well as students with IEP’s and 504 plans.

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

1. Culturally competent curriculum for K-12 students in all public schools.
2. Distribution of school funding should be fair and equitable. At present it is dispersed such that it benefits schools in higher socioeconomic areas which further leads to disadvantage students in lower socioeconomic areas.
3. Stakeholder feedback measures at the state level which will allow for students, teachers and parents to provide real life input into the education system.

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?

Schools have increased cleaning supply costs and facilities and maintenance changes which are recommended to keep everyone safe. These costs have not been factored into school budgets in past years, therefore they may pose challenges in this school year. Administrators are challenged with teacher resignations, teacher fears of safety and overall staffing demands. Parents are split in their frustration with districts as some believe we should be in person and others believe that we should be virtual. Teachers and students are having to navigate uncharted waters to learn virtually, overcome technological challenges with poor internet, inconsistent devices and IT challenges that parents are working to overcome. Teachers and students need to learn to connect and get to know each other in completely different ways from before. All decisions must be made with safety of all stakeholders at the forefront. Failure to do this, or failure to make decisions with the guidance of health and safety professionals places all stakeholders at risk.

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 that the school district must invest in the technology necessary for all students to have learning devices as well as internet access in order to remain engaged with virtual learning. I think that sports should not be prioritized as it only benefits some students.

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

I remain frustrated that the schools are continuing to have to teach toward testing, rather than teaching what is most important for our students. Standardized testing does not properly capture the capabilities of students and scores do not reflect the quality of a teacher. As long as we remain tied to these standardized measurements our ability to be dynamic in our curriculum will be held back.

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 like to see the development of curriculum that is culturally competent and inclusive of the history of all students. This means that Black history is woven throughout history, social studies, science etc. It also means that LGBTQ students should find themselves reflected in these same subjects. We should not continue to use text books or materials that have whitewashed history, instead we should be looking for materials that ensure all students can relate to the content and feel connected to learning more.

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

Social and emotional learning of students and staff is the fundamental foundation of success for any school district. Failure to meet the social and emotional well being of students will lead to cracks in the foundation through which there will be gaps in learning, dissatisfaction and decreased achievement. Districts should increase their commitment to counselors, social workers and psychologists to ensure caseload sizes low enough to allow individualized support. Teachers and support staff should be provided opportunities for mental health days, access to employee assistance services like counseling as well as professional development on the importance of self care and work life balance. This is particularly important when teachers are being asked to re-learn their entire jobs and provide instruction virtually with very little lead time to learn new software platforms.

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

I feel very strongly that police and security guards do not belong in the school environment. There is substantial evidence that shows that schools with this type of presence do not demonstrate higher levels of safety than schools without this presence. In addition, in light of the current social justice movement, having police present in the schools is likely to cause trauma to Black and brown students. Discipline can and should be handled within the administration staff and should only involve law enforcement in instances of deadly weapons. In addition,there must be equity in the way that consequences are applied when rules are violated. Schools should be held accountable to evaluate their data on a quarterly basis, broken down by infraction type, race/ethnicity of student and outcome of discipline action taken. When patterns are detected which suggest inequitable disciplinary practices immediate changes in policy and procedure must be made.

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

Special education students should be afforded all of the same opportunities for success in the public education system. Their plans should be individualized and it is imperative that they are followed by all staff members who are interacting with the student. There should be spot check audits and interviews with students and their families to ensure that they are receiving the services indicated in their plans. When there is dissatisfaction the family should have a standardized way to express their concerns as well as a timely response and corrective action plan from the district. Students with learning challenges are at risk of getting lost in a virtual environment, so there must be intentional practices in place to ensure this does not occur and to correct problems quickly when they are found.

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

Our district has taken some steps and made some statements of their commitment to change, but I remain frustrated that they have failed to deliver anything tangible in terms of outputs. When the new members are seated it is my hope that the Board will take action and request of the district concrete and measurable ways to impact equity for all students.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I am a proud member of the Royal Oak Multicultural Parent Association (ROMPA) and I am on the district’s Cultural Competency Engagement Committee and the sub-committee looking at curriculum.

October 4, 2020

Lisa-Aline Hanes

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictRoyal Oak School District
City:Royal Oak

How long have you lived in your district?

20 years and 7 months

Have you received any endorsements?

I am waiting to hear on several endorsements

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I want to be a school board member because:
– I have kids in our schools and have a stake in their education
– I am a new and passionate voice
– I want to be a part of RO Schools continued growth and excellence… we still have more to do!
– I want to be a part of bringing Cultural competency, understanding and awareness to all students, teachers and leaders
– I would like to bridge the gap between what the school board does and what our community thinks they do.
– Communication is key and the whole city should want to be involved in the growth and empowerment of our youth.
– I believe that the school board should be a representation of our city’s residents and cultures
– I believe that our school board should have some parents with school aged children on it. We are living the Dream ??
– I would like to bring my experience in education and healthcare to the table.
– This experience can shed some light on how health impacts a child’s learning, growth and success
– Chronic disease, mental health, nutrition and family dynamics are all determinants of educational success

I am running because I love my city, it’s residents and I want to make a difference anyway I am needed

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

Educational Justice to me is making sure that every student has the same high quality education regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. Parents, students, educators and community members must come together to demand this justice and stand strong in condemning any and all policies or laws that threaten to take it away.
In terms of educational justice in my school district it can be seen in the way students of color are disciplined and made to feel “less than.” It also is apparent in the use of police officers for non-violent disciplinary actions by students of color.

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 our school district would look after the pandemic, it would be more broadly diverse than it is today. Every student would feel safe and have educators who put their needs first. Every child of color would have role models and mentors within our district that they identify with.
Every classroom in every school would have the most up to date technology and curriculum would include more cultural diversity.
The health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally, would be a priority for each school district which would mean additional funding to make sure every student’s basic needs are met (food, shelter, support and safety). We cannot expect a student to thrive and achieve more academically if their fundamental needs at home are not being met.

I truly believe that the items above can be met if we have the right people on the school board and in community leadership positions.

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

I believe that parents, students and families should have a seat at the table when it comes to decisions that impact their lives. This would mean that committees, programs and leadership positions would have to be widely available and communicated to the residents so that they can join in the work.
There are currently opportunities in my district where residents can become part of the solution: The Cultural Competence Engagement Committee is an example.

Many residents are not aware of all the ways they can be involved, whether or not they have a student in our schools. I, if elected to the school board, would like to be a community liaison and work on drumming up more community involvement in our school board, school foundation activities and student service needs.

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

My financial supporters are friends, family and residents in my community. I do not have any large donors at this time.

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

1. Diversity: In terms of teachers, leaders and curriculum improvement. As a ROMPA member I support our mission and goals to make our schools a safer and more equitable place for students of color. Every child of color in the Royal Oak Schools should feel safe and have educators who put their needs and quality of education first. Every child of color should also have role models and mentors within our district. The School Board should also represent the community by being diverse and having representation from parents who have school aged children.

I believe one way we can implement change quickly is to supplement the curriculum with additional subject matter on diversity throughout the entire year. In an age of technology, subject material is readily available and can be added to enrich the learning experience.

I am currently a part of CCEC (Cultural Competence Engagement Committee) and more specifically the co-chair for the Recruitment, Hiring and Retention sub-group. We are working to find new ways to attract and recruit diverse and well qualified candidates while ensuring that the interviewing process showcases what is working well in our district and what we want our future to be. We are also working on a retention strategy that includes quarterly anonymous surveys so that our educators can share their concerns and needs in a safe environment and without fear of retribution.

Our city has a young generation of diverse students still in elementary school who need us to provide a safe, accepting and empowering atmosphere for them in order to grow and be successful. WE need to make impactful change now.

2. Healthy and safe environment: As a healthcare professional my passion is to assist others in living healthier lives: physically and mentally. As we are dealing with a pandemic, our school system has been working on putting in place what they believe are the healthiest and safest options for our students and teachers. If elected, I would like to enrich this effort by ensuring that all students have resources that improve their physical and mental wellbeing. If a child does not have enough food to eat or live in a safe environment how can we expect them to focus on their education? The mental health of our students is also important and while there are some Social Workers in our school district now, I believe we need to review to see if what we have is enough. Brainstorming other options and collaborating with community resources could provide additional support to our student population and their families.

I believe it’s equally important that our students feel safe when they are in school. No child should have anxiety about the teachers, leaders and other school employees they come across during the school week. As a school board and elected officials we need to listen to what the community and our students are telling us AND investigate the issues. This needs to be done timely so that issues can be resolved and action taken where needed. Law enforcement should not be brought in to handle behavioral issues when there is no threat of violence or injury. It is the job of the administration along with counselors and parents to work with the students when behavioral issues arise. Scaring a child with a police officer should never be the answer.

3. Modernization of classrooms and curriculum: work to equip all classrooms with the latest technology and use best practices in enhancing the curriculum to meet the varied needs of our students. Inclusion of culturally competence material in all subjects.

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

1. Increased funding for public schools
2. Cultural Competency requirements added to State mandated curriculum
3. Affordable College and/or support for Trades training

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?

Royal Oak School District in the beginning of COVID-19 seemed behind when compared to other school districts in the area. Many students and parents felt as though the spring semester was unsuccessful academically and hoped that the next school year would be better.
Over the summer the school board, leaders and teachers worked hard to ensure the 2020-2021 school year went off without a hitch. As a high school parent, I am satisfied with the start of our school year. I cannot speak to the middle school or elementary schools success.

I believe our school district must remain transparent in decision making and communicate plans as they become available. One of the larger complaints from district parents is that they felt out of the loop on what the school year would look like.
I believe that our school district should use research and the expert advice of the CDC and World Health Organization when deciding on when the students should return to the buildings and not be bullied by political agenda.
Our district had brought on county public health nurses to address the concerns of COVID and support the needs once our students return to the classroom. Additional training and support of the leaders, teachers and support staff is also ongoing.

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

Spending priorities:
– Staffing for lower teacher to student ratios
– Additional support staff: Social workers and behavior health counselors
– Modernization of curriculum and classrooms

Not a priority:
– Police presence in schools

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

I believe that standardized testing should be used to gauge the learning needs/deficits of their students. I don’t believe it should be used to determine funding, overall excellence of a school/district or ability of a student.

Because not all students test well, I don’t think a score on a standardized test should count against them. Specifically in terms of where they are accepted for post secondary education.

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 the power to impact my school’s curriculum directly I would start with a more culturally diverse curriculum. I believe that many of the text books we use are not authentic in their history and lack a broader view of the world. I believe that all cultures and their successes/failures should be represented in each subject where applicable.
I would like my district to look at best practices across the state where course options are broader and extracurricular activities can earn school credit (Model UN for example).

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

I believe school districts have a large responsibility to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of their staff and students. Both spend approximately 8 hours per day in the classroom and require the safety and support of the district. Like any company, the health of its employees/community, is a top priority. One cannot succeed and thrive if they aren’t feel supported and safe.

Also, if a school identifies issues with a student, I believe it should be in their best interest to work with the student, their parents and any supportive staff to resolve any issues. When a child feels supportive and safe, they can focus on their education.

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

I believe that schools should handle non-violent disciplinary events with the help of the principal/assistant principals, counselors/teachers and the students parent(s). I do not believe it is ever ok for a police officer to be brought in to handle a non-violent, non-threatening issue. Research also shows that police officer presence in a school or in non-violent situations has a negative impact on students of color.

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

I believe that special education programs in my district should received increased funding in terms of support, educator training and improved curriculum.

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

Cultural equity is one of my top priorities as I mentioned previously. I believe it takes a whole community to realize and admit that racial injustice exists on all levels and then to want to change this injustice.
I believe our district has begun this work by the creation of such groups like the Cultural Competence Engagement Committee , but that we still have more to do. We have to go beyond saying what we are or what we want to be…. there has to be action and commitment behind the words.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I am a dedicated member of the Royal Oak Multicultural Parents Association and have lived in Royal Oak for over 20 years. I am married and have 2 children at Royal Oak High School: Bryan, who is entering his Senior year, and Maddie, who is entering her Sophomore year.
I am a first generation American on both sides of my family and am proud to share that I am of Lebanese and Maltese descent. I was raised to value hard work, honestly and integrity while embracing the strength and fortitude that makes living in our country so great. In my teenage years my family was hit with tragedy when my younger brother died and it was then that I realized my passion for helping others.

I am a graduate of Michigan State University where I earned a BA in Psychology and then went on to earn by BSN in Nursing. I have been a nurse for 23 years and have not regretted my decision to enter into this selfless profession once. Being a nurse has given me a chance to help others, save lives and share my empathy and compassion when it was needed most. I have loved being a nurse so much that I volunteer at the high school as a guest lecturer in the Medical Skills program. I also have experience as an educator, project manager, leader and community advocate which I believe will help me as a School Board member should I get elected.

I have been very involved in Royal Oak through the PTA, Choir and Drama Boosters, Royal Oak athletics, Gilda’s Club and Stagecrafters theatre. I love our community and want to make sure it continues to grow for future generations. We have seen good and challenging moments in our city but I believe, at our core, we all want the same things: a safe, healthy and successful community to raise our families.

October 4, 2020

Timothy J. Ciechorski

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictRoyal Oak School District
City:Royal Oak

How long have you lived in your district?

12 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Royal Oak Multicultural Parent Association, MEA, AFSCME Council 25, UAW Region 1, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, Fems for Dems

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I have been a champion of social justice and public education my entire adult life; these both have intertwined themselves. I feel the School Board is the perfect place for me to make an impactful positive change in my community.

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

Education justice to me is equity and equality. All students need to be given the same opportunity. Minority students, which includes in my view those of differing race, religion and sexual orientation from the majority, should not feel any different than any other child. Specifically in the Royal Oak School District, the discipline of students needs to be equitable and done by educators, not law enforcement.

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

I want us to learn form this crisis. We have seen the weaknesses. These weaknesses are in equity and equality. This is our time to seize this awareness. We can not leave any child or staff member behind. The COVID-19 virus exposed this to us. We owe it those most impacted to ensure they are not left behind ever again.

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

There should always be open and comfortable conversations between the school board and the parents, students and families. I would like to see a non-voting student member of the school board. I would like to see the school board be more receptive and approachable with any and all groups with in the community.

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

At the time this was completed, I have received financial support from my family, friends and community members.

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

1. Encourage a stronger emphasis on mental health awareness for both students and staff.
2. Call for a greater diversity in curriculum and hiring.
3. Promote a stronger focus on vocational education; providing a pathway for students into the skills trades.

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

1. School funding reform.
2. Teacher development.
3. Provide additional funding for at risk students.

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 loss of face to face instruction, social interactions, the uncertainty of the unknown are all challenges of the 2020-2021 school year. The district needs to stay stedfast in resolution to keep the students and staff safe. These are uncomfortable and surely inconvenient times, however we must do all we can to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It is my opinion that keeping students and teachers out of the class room is unfortunately the smartest and safest course of action.

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 priority needs to be payroll. We need to recruit and retain the best educators. We can not recruit nor retain if we do not offer leading salaries and benefits. We also need to be sure the budget is dedicated to the best technology and instructional materials.

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

I think standardized testing is a very unfair metric to both students and teachers. these types of testing severely narrow the curriculum, it forces instruction to simply pass a test that is often times constructed by legislators that have no background in education. It is also a very poor way to evaluate educators.

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 will work to make the curriculm more diverse in all was possible as a School Board Trustee.

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

I believe the school district has 100% responsibility in supporting awareness and support to the mental health of both students and staff. Especially during this global pandemic.

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

A public school is an institution of education. Therefore, all discipline needs to be administered by Educators. Law Enforcement should have no jurisdiction when it comes to student disciple, unless there has been and alleged crime committed.

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

I will make it a priority to advocate and work to increase the funding for our most vulnerable students.

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

Equity needs to be achieved. It needs to be achieved now. For too many years and, quite frankly decades this issue has been talked about and then pushed aside. I will listen to the community that has been calling for this reform. I will sit and meet with those calling for this reform. I will not dismiss their concerns, as I share in their concerned outrage.

Any other information you want to include or share?