October 4, 2020
School DistrictFenton Area Public Schools
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
Pat Lockwood, Mayor Pro Temp., City of Fenton, Scott Grossmeyer, Fenton City Counc; Scott Grossmeyer, Fenton City Council Member, Linda Hathaway, Owner, Brad Hoffman Insurance Agency; Mark Suchowski, Coordinator, Fenton Virtual Academy
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
Dedication and love for children; how we can provide safety, and a strong education; using the best and latest technology; highly qualified administration and staff, ensuring the best education possible with the resources that are available and affordable for our youth today. Equal education for ALL regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation. Community outcry for a leader in decision making, that speaks and understands the community needs and doesn’t carry a personal agenda to the table negating education for all students.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
Educational justice mean fair and equitable education to every student in the district, including administration, staff and support staff. Fenton has and will always provide the best education possible with the latest technology and learning materials.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
The current pandemic is something we have not had to consider before. It is a new creative exploration that has never been on the horizon. It is a learning process or avenue we never have had to travel, so we have to keep an open mind and explore every opportunity, right or wrong, we, unfortunately, will not be able to make everybody happy nor will we ever have all the answers. We will work diligently together to find the best possible techniques in educating our students. As a district, we have numerous government directives we will meet using and updating extended COVID-19 learning plans to be in compliance with state government mandates and expectations. But, one must remember this is a liquid subject which changes from day to day, minute to minute.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
We have to work together as a team, the Board, Administration, Staff, Support Staff, and parents of the community, and families, in order to make this a successful easy learning process for everybody.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
Safety, Education, and Success
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
Safety, Education and Success
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 could be far more than we anticipate, however, we have developed an extended COVID-19 learning plan that will be reviewed and updated every thirty days. The district must receive approval for all plans from the Genesee Intermediate School District before they can be implemented.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
Student materials, books, technology, educational tools and student safety on the other hand we should not prioritize items that are not a direct influence on safety and education.
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
I am not against standardized tests but believe every student learns differently. We should not base education on one single test but multiple tests. We have students who “freeze” at a test but when asked the question in a different setting, they can respond quickly and correctly. As far as the role is concerned, I don’t think it is a true example of a students learning ability and should not carry the same weight value as non-standardized tests.
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?
Fenton is very fortunate that the curriculum director brings extensive knowledge and research in the recommendations to the board and staff as to why we should adopt certain programs into our curriculum. However, we are always open to hear and adopt a different program if it can be shown to improve the learning process.
Our district works as a team including the parents of the community and will do trial evaluations of programs before adoption if necessary. I believe the current system has worked well and we should continue with our current process. Should there be something better, my mind is open.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
If you want the district to provide effective learning you must always keep all students and staffs’ mental and emotional health in mind. Failure to do so will result in failure for the district, its’ students, staff, and community.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
We have a code of ethics we must follow at all times. Each year parents and students receive a hand book outlining the rules and expectations each student is to follow. Should there be a violation, depending on the nature of the violation we have specific disciplines that apply.
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
That every student, even those with IEP’s receive the necessary help needed to maintain high educational standards. Genesee County offers special programs to the 21 districts, educating all individuals, no matters were they fall within the educational spectrum, meeting staff and students mental and emotional health. I will continue to advocate special services to meet all student needs.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
Equal equity should be common within all school districts. It is unfair that Fenton and surrounding districts only receive approximately $8,100.00 per student where a neighboring district not far from here is receiving more than $12,000.00 per student, yet we have to meet the same state standards of the district receiving a higher payment per student. Equal equity does not exist in Michigan Schools. We have formed numerous committees and parent groups to try and change this unfair practice to no avail. I think we must continue to keep our communities knowledgeable of this unequal apportionment and continue to work towards balanced equity in all Michigan schools.
Any other information you want to include or share?
As a member of the Fenton Area Public School Board of Education I bring 23 years of Service to the district; 14 years on Genesee County Association of School Boards; 10 Years on the Advisory Council for Genesee Career Institute; Level 5 Certification from the Michigan Association of School Boards; Advocate for the educational process of ALL students; Safety; Education and Reading Proficiency; complete knowledge of budgets (General Fund/Sinking Fund, etc.); visible in ALL school buildings and community affairs; married to a retired teacher with 40 years of teaching experience; daughter employed by the Genesee Intermediate School District; Two daughters graduated from Fenton Schools; three grandchildren currently in the Fenton School System; Hosted exchange students and served my county in the United States Army.