October 9, 2020

Denise Petoskey

Pronouns: she/her
School District: Public Schools of Petoskey
City: Petoskey

How long have you lived in your district?

30+ years

Have you received any endorsements?


Are you an incumbent?


Why do you want to be a school board member?

I’m a district parent and graduate. I love the opportunities that these schools provided me , and continues to provide for my child. I thought representation from my community was missing in many conversations about the schools , so I decided to run for office.

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

Educational justice is about making sure all the kids have access to all the tools to actualize all the opportunities. It’s recognizing what disparities exist and rectifying them. In my district that means that some families need assistance with food , or internet and technology.

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

My hope is that schools return to the center of community life , and the funding follows. This public health crisis has reaffirmed how important public schools are to children , families , and the community at large. COVID has highlighted the vital role teachers play in our society. I’d like to see public support result in more funding for schools on all levels so that we can invest in our future.

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

Input from parents , students , and famiies is instrumental in sound decision making for school districts. Opening up a variety ways of communicating with these groups could increase engagement. Now that we know what technology can do in terms of reaching people who may not otherwise come to a public meeting , we can continue to engage this way even when we can go back to seeing people in person.

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

Just me 🙂

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

1.Making sure students and teachers have what they need to do what we are asking them to do.
2. Expand opportunities and assistance to students and families.
3. Smooth transition from retiring native imagery to native inclusion in the curriculum.

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

1. Fix the funding formulas and increase funding
2. Quality public education as a right in Michigan
3. More opportunities for local input on education legislation

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?

Things will change. That’s the only thing that is certain. We all need to be adaptable; students , teachers , parents , administrations , communities. We need to all help each other through this with empathy and compassion.

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

Staff is always a spending priority. This year , technology needed to be a priority. I think school budgets have become so tight in recent years that anything left is essential.

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

I think standardized test are snapshot in time and are should only part of an equation during evaluations.

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 think its important to include the history of the indigenous people of the area in any curriculum. There is some , I just think it could be more comprehensive especially with the Tribal resources available.

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

Districts have the responsibility to make sure students and staff feel comfortable and empowered enough to discuss their needs. Resources in house and outside of the schools should be available.

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

There are some disciplinary issues that keep our whole communities safe. No tolerance for violence or threats still needs to be the standard.

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

As a newly appointed School Board Member , I’m unfortunately not as informed on this topic as I should be.

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

I think we all benefit when all facets of our communities are engaged. That engagement may look different in different communities , but it all contributes to achieving equity.

Any other information you want to include or share?

Miigwetch for the opportunity to share my views!