top of page
  • :

BLOOMFIELD HILLS SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION

Four-year terms terms, Non-partisan, Vote for four


JIM BAKER


Jim Baker of Bloomfield Hills is an attorney with Sterling Employment Law. He received his undergraduate degree in political science at Michigan State University and his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He is involved in National Employment Law Association/ Michigan Employment Law Association, National Association for Justice/Michigan Association for Justice, Michigan Bar Association and Marine Corps League.


Board responsibilities


In the last few years, there has been significant turnover of trustees of the school board and the schools' administration, as well as the removal of past president of the board, Paul Kolin, for actions he took independent of the board, although he remained a board member and is running for re-election. Is the role of a school board member to provide support for the school's administration, to provide leadership of the administration, and its efforts, to represent parents or the community, or to act independently of the school administration? Is it important to act as one, or as a unified voice? Should board members respond directly to parents' concerns or criticism of administrative or staff actions, or should they refer them to the administration? Please explain your point of view in detail.


Our position is “Trustee.” That word means we are entrusted to make decisions for our students and families. Doing our best includes working toward a consensus, but does not mean giving up on a firmly held belief or position. In the end, though, after debate has been had and is ended, we must act with one voice for the betterment of our district. We must be the leaders to end the division that is forcing us apart.


Pandemic problem in the district


What is your personal assessment of how the district handled the problems caused by the pandemic in the last couple of school years? What, if anything, should have been done differently? Does there need to be any extra effort to help students who may have lost ground in terms of learning with virtual rather than in-person learning? Please provide details.


We all did the best we could under the circumstances at the time. I do not believe virtual learning serves the whole of the student’s education. It was necessary then, but there are failings that need to be addressed. We need to identify those students at risk academically and emotionally, and focus in-school and after-school services on those students and their families, while maintaining the highest level of education services to the whole of our student body.


Parental role in curriculum decisions


There has been considerable debate about whether the state board of education, the legislature or local school boards should decide what is being taught in the schools. Now we are seeing a push by some parents/parent groups to have more of a role in determining what is taught in the classroom. What is the role of parents when it comes to deciding what material is taught in the classroom? What immediate educational reforms do you support, and which will you seek for the district if you are elected?


I believe local elected officials are chosen to be the voices of their constituents. When elected I will listen to all parents, make decisions with all views in mind, and at the end of the day, those decisions will be made in ways that best serve our students. We need to inform the public on what is and is not being taught. We need to quiet the divisive rhetoric. I propose holding public forums to discuss and debate topics surrounding curriculum, with a focus on speaking truth to what is being taught in the halls of our amazing schools.


Student safety


There was a terrible scare a couple years ago at Bloomfield Hills High School. Many students didn't know where to go, and ran to neighboring stores and restaurants for safety and to call their parents and police Do you feel evacuation plans were sufficient? What can/has been done to improve them? Are you satisfied that the district has done enough to safeguard students and staff? Should there be more security guards and liaison police officers at schools? What can and should the district do to better prepare teachers and staff for the possibility of a rogue individual with a weapon? Should more attention and dollars be spent on mental health awareness and help?


We must be prepared for violence to happen here. That is my reality as a district parent of three. We must focus on proactively identifying warning signs leading to school violence. Our schools are afraid of liability, they hesitate to act on warnings signs when intervention is necessary. We are too reactionary. We need to listen to our students and teachers, encourage them to talk with confidence their words will be heard and they will be protected. I do not believe in arming our teachers. We need to be vigilant, keep our eyes open, and be ready to act at the first suggestion something is amiss. What we do first impacts/changes the final outcome. And now as our state is operating in a budget surplus, our schools must demand more financial assistance from government to protect our most valuable commodities: our children.


What are your top goals if elected


If you are elected this November, what would your top goals be as a member of the board?


My goal is the S.E.R.V.E. Support our teachers and administrators by pursuing increased funding opportunities. Encourage all students to fully participate in their education experiences. Respect every voice, while working to end the division that exists in our district. Value our students, teachers, administrators, parents, and families by showing we are an inclusive education community. Engage parents and family members to be actively involved their student’s academic lives, and in the life of their student’s school.


LINDSAY G. BAKER


Lindsay Baker of Bloomfield Township, is a senior economist with Ford Motor Company. She received an economics degree from Princeton University, and masters and PhD in economics from University of Michigan.


Board responsibilities


The role of a school board member is to work with the other members to set the goals for the district and hold the superintendent accountable for delivering on those goals. School board members are elected to represent the community and parents to ensure that the district delivers on its objectives and is a responsible steward of taxpayer funds. School board members cannot set policy unilaterally, so must act together; at the same time, board members are elected individually and should share their individual voice in policy discussions. Respectful dialogue and deliberation are essential to developing sound policies. Board members are not always aware of every situation in the district, so, as representatives of the community, it is critical that board members listen to community member concerns, including parents, to learn where the problems are and where the district may be falling short on expectations.


Pandemic problem in the district


It is easy to be critical of past actions with the benefit of hindsight. Rather than focus on the past, I believe it is important for us to find the best way forward given the challenges now facing our district. Students lost academic, socialization, and enrichment opportunities over the past 2.5 years, but the impact has not been uniform. Gaps have widened, with some students excelling despite the learning disruptions and others falling behind. We should be using test and teacher assessment data collected during the year to target our interventions, such as summer school and tutoring programs, to reach those most behind while at the same time ensuring other students are not left to stagnate while they wait for their peers to catch up. We have the data and resources available to ensure that all students reach their potential.


Parental role in curriculum decisions


Parents play an active role in their children’s education, helping with projects, homework, and preparing for tests. With this in mind, parents should be aware and know what materials and curriculum are being shown and taught to their children. In fact, this is already part of state law and BHS has committees and public meetings that rely on parent input, among other things, to determine curriculum. I support increased transparency and engagement, so that parents are better informed of materials and curriculum in advance of it being used in the classroom. I also would like to see more of our resources being put toward instruction, as this would allow the district to deliver a more differentiated learning experience to meet the needs of all learners. Our goal with any educational reform should be to improve the outcomes for our students and make BHS the premier district in Michigan.


Student safety


With the recent school shootings around the country as well as close to home, safety and security needs to be a top priority for the district. With new legislation in Michigan funding school safety assessments along with our bond construction, the district has the resources and opportunity to assure that our schools are safe. I would look to school safety experts to inform and recommend improvements to our evacuation plans, teacher, staff, and student preparation, and the appropriate number of security guards and police liaison officers. Additionally, I support more attention and resources devoted to proven methods that identify and help students experiencing mental health crises and at risk of committing school violence.


What are your top goals if elected


My top goals as a school board member are to work with my fellow board members to make education first, assure safety, and ensure that the district resources are used responsibly and effectively. By making education first, I mean board discussions and decisions should tie back to the fundamental goal of improving educational outcomes for our children. Assuring safety means learning from our own and other incidents and reevaluating our plans as needed to ensure that our students, teachers, and staff are prepared and protected. As a member of the board, I will be focused on evaluating all financial decisions, including management of the bond, from a perspective of fiscal responsibility and educational impact. I am eager to leverage my expertise as a professional economist with extensive experience in policy and data analysis, forecasting, and financial planning to inform board decision-making.


SANDEEP CHADA


Sandeep Chada of Bloomfield Township is the dean of The Goddard School of Rochester Hills. He has a bachelors degree in biopsychology from University of Michigan and a masters degree in neuroscience from Michigan State University. He is active with Bloomfield Rotary and Rochester Hills Chamber of Commerce.


Board responsibilities


My opinion is that Mr. Kolin acted in a manner that is not helpful to the BH School Community. The responsibility of the board member is to work as a team with the other board members and try to come up with a consensus opinion that is in line with best practices. Individual board members should not be working independently. The role of the school board is to support the school’s administration and provide a vision of the school district. Any individual concerns should be directed to the administration and if needs should be addressed by the board as a whole. The board of education should be on the news for student and teacher accomplishments, not these types of acts. I feel that the focus on the students and their needs was lost during this critical time.


Pandemic problem in the district


The pandemic caused a major disruption to the schools. Given the circumstances the teachers did their best during the transition to virtual learning. I believe that the school should have hired or consulted more closely with an expert in infectious disease and followed Oakland County Health Department guidelines – masking is an important deterrent to prevent airborne illness in schools and closed spaces. We should now increase spending on mental health, support services, and counseling for children who were adversely affected by the isolation. There should also be tutoring available to help some students catch up to grade level.


Parental role in curriculum decisions


I believe that parents should support teachers in the classroom, the administration should create a climate conducive to parental participation. Engaging parents is essential to improving student achievement. I think there should be fewer standardized tests. Standardized test should only be used to track student progress, not to indicate teacher accountability. There are other, more effective means to measure teacher competence, such as observations, lesson plan reviews, and student surveys. I think schools should have a focus on teacher training programs and mentoring opportunities. There should be an easier path for students to attend technical or vocational careers.


Student safety


Every district or school should develop and implement a comprehensive school Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) that describe the actions that the students, teachers, and school staff should take before, during, and after emergency events, and everyone should have a common understanding of what will be expected of them. Being prepared allows schools to save time when reacting to an incident and this may help save lives. Each classroom must have a deadbolt that can be locked from the inside. My son was in school that day at BHHS. One of the problems they identified right away was that many of the students did not have phone numbers of their parents or emergency contact. One way to solve is for one of the administrators to carry out with them a master list off students and their emergency contacts.


What are your top goals if elected


I believe it is critically important that the school board member have sufficient time to investigate and critically think about solutions. I will make the time to properly take time to study each problem the district is facing and then meet and discuss with the other board members and hope to come with the best solution that meets the needs of the community and student population. As a final note, I truly believe that the school board should be apolitical and personal political views should not enter the decision-making process. I would like to look at the following in a comprehensive manner: Mental Health issues affecting some students following the isolation caused by the pandemic; recruiting, retention, and recognition of good teachers; understand diversity and making sure that there is equity and inclusion within the school.


TAREQ FALAH


Tareq Falah of Bloomfield Township is Chief Information Officer for Painters Supply & Equipment Co. He has a computer science degree from Weber State University and and a business administration degree in IT from Western Governor's University. He is involved with ISC2, ISACA and Intel Teach to the Future.


Board responsibilities


As a public board, all decision-making and deliberation must be done in public. While it is important for board members to think independently and voice their thoughts, ultimately, the decisions are those of a unified team of seven board members and a superintendent. A board member that makes unilateral decisions deprives not only the board, but the entire community of transparency and erodes trust. That said, good decisions involve the experts, and the superintendent is the representative of our outstanding professional educators. A board that does not solicit and value the opinion of their superintendent needs to reevaluate their role and/or superintendent. Each board member has a unique connection to the greater community we serve, and acts as a liaison to ensure all perspectives are considered. As a board member, I will listen to the community, my fellow board members and the superintendent and make transparent decisions in open meetings accessible to the public.


Pandemic problem in the district


In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, Bloomfield Hills Schools did a remarkable job of navigating a path for our students to still learn in the best way possible. Through collaboration with teachers who remained diligent and went above and beyond by creating new methods for teaching and supporting virtual learning, the District was able to make the best of a difficult situation. Although I realize the objective was to keep students in person if it was safe, I do believe a decision about whether to offer an in-person option should have been made sooner. This would have been easier for the parents struggling with how to manage their careers. A decision of in-person vs. hybrid vs. virtual for the start of the 21-22 year should have been made earlier. Mental health for students is at an all-time low, with many surveys indicating nearly 80 percent of high school students suffering from depression and/or anxiety. We must provide adequate resources for teachers and staff to identify students in needs of additional support.


Parental role in curriculum decisions


Parent involvement is one of the most influential contributors to success for students. Surveys consistently that students of engaged and active parents perform better overall and have a more positive educational experience. BHS is fortunate to have a very passionate and engaged community in addition to tremendous educators and staff who work diligently to ensure our students can reach their goals. Teaching our curriculum should be in the hands of our teachers. The state dictates curriculum and administrative teams make recommendations on how to implement curriculum for the board to then approve. Our district works diligently to continuously advance our curriculum, implement best practices, and deliver the most comprehensive learning opportunities to support our students. I support education reform which ensures equity for all children by providing the resources they need to succeed. That includes providing more programs for students in Special Education to have customized instruction and ensuring IEPs are truly individualized for each learner rather than broad categorizations.


Student safety


In 2019, BHHS experienced a terrifying and costly unintentional activation of the Blue Point alarm. With utmost empathy to our neighbors in Oxford, the entire community gave collective gratitude and relief when it was announced that there was no threat, and all our students and faculty were safe. While it is a delicate balance between providing emergency evacuation plans and keeping safe locations unknown, lack of information causes panic. Efforts to protect against an active shooter must be evaluated by effectiveness. This requires an analysis based on facts and data, not an emotional reactionary one. This is why I am advocating for the district’s comprehensive safety analysis to be done by a committee of professionals. It must include all district buildings and property and be as transparent as possible while protecting the safety of our students. It must balance the overall safety of students from multiple threats and include the mental and physical safety of all our students.


What are your top goals if elected


Student safety is my top goal as a Board member. I will ensure a comprehensive audit is complete with a robust long-term plan to protect every student in our facilities. Additionally, I will partner with experts and community members to add resources to ensure mental health needs are addressed and we have successful campaigns to promote awareness and opportunities for families to learn more. Academic excellence is another key priority. While numerous studies indicate gaps for BHS and learners on a national level, the challenge is not simply looking at the numbers but finding root causes at BHS so that we can create ways to allow every child to achieve their goals. Math and reading are two critical subject areas where numerous gaps exist at multiple grades. I will partner with educators to help strengthen the relationship between teachers and caregivers in an effort to enlist support so that every student can reach their individual goals. Lastly, I will work toward making sure the board is focused on our shared objectives and goals and that they remain student-centric and reflect the highest standards of achievement.


NICHOLAS HAUGEN


Nicholas Haugen of Bloomfield Hills is a teacher with Southfield Public Schools. He has an education degree from St. Cloud State University.


Board responsibilities


The board should speak as one unit.  Board members should not unilaterally make decisions big or small. This not only denies the other board trustees their input, it violates the duty to make transparent decisions in a public forum. School boards must make all decisions after collective deliberation. That deliberation should include the superintendent, who is the representative of our professional educators. Good decision making shares multiple perspectives, and by making unilateral decisions in secret, a board member is not only violating the Open Meeting Act, he is eroding the trust the community has placed in him. Board members and administration/school staff should work as a team with the goal of providing the best education possible for all students. The multiple opinions should be shared with the public and feedback from community considered. BHS is a district of over 5,000 students and a community of tens of thousands. One person acting alone cannot possibly decide what is best for everyone.


Pandemic problem in the district 


Considering the unprecedented nature of the past couple years, I think BHS emerged better than could be expected. The board was getting mixed messages from our former President, and CDC, and yet they were tasked with making very hard choices. In hindsight, several things would have made the pandemic easier. As a working parent, I needed as much lead time as possible to make decisions about my own family. As a teacher, I would have benefitted from the vast amount of research and resources taking place in our world, but not shared at the speed in which we needed it. Two key things BHS did better than other districts were to offer as many choices and flexibility as possible (the ability of high school students to deicide, on a class by class basis, whether to attend virtually or in person was unmatched by other districts) and to err on the side of grace and understanding. Support was given to those who needed it, not accusations or penalties. 


Parental role in curriculum


Under the euphemism “parental choice," some parents are, ironically, doing the exact opposite.  Parents/parent groups are depriving other parents of their choice, or the right to have lessons taught by professional teachers. Parents should have the right to voice their opinions, and those opinions should be considered, but the curriculum taught in our public schools should be taught by teachers. Parents have every right to directly influence what their own child is learning. I would encourage any parent that is unhappy with the education offered at our public schools to do research, share their opinion at whatever level is appropriate, and invoke opt out alternatives if they are in opposition. The one reform I’d like to see is a more robust civics curriculum focusing on respect for divergent thought and respectful disagreement.


Student safety


I’ve been a teacher for over 20 years. I’ve had hours and hours of safety PD (Professional Development) dealing with bomb threats, fire, hurricanes, tornados, and active shooter drills. Most emergency plans look fine on paper, and when we practice them in low stress environments, they still seem fine. The problems start popping up when we have to do it for real, under intense situations. Expecting our staff/students to respond to these situations like they are a military unit, is unfair and unrealistic. I don’t think adding more police is the answer either. According to The Sentencing Project, “Research to date has demonstrated that it is counterproductive for public safety goals to add more police to schools.” These problems are only going to change with state and national policy changes. Until better gun legislation is passed, limiting access to guns, our best strategy for an active shooter situation, is to train our students/staff to: Evacuate the building if possible; Make it as hard as possible for the shooter to enter the classroom, using whatever is available in the classroom; and If the shooter is able to get into the  classroom, make your students as “hard” to target as possible. What the district can do, maintain strict prohibition of guns on school property and invest more in the mental health of our students.


What are your top goals if elected


Ensure every student learns in an environment safe from violence, bullying and prejudice so that they can achieve their highest potential; give every student the tools necessary to become global citizens, able to consider multiple perspectives and engage in civil discourse; and support teachers and empower them to utilize their education, intuition and genuine desire to educate students to become the best teachers they can be.


MEAGAN M. HILL


Meagan Hill of West Bloomfield is a senior real estate manager with PXG. She received her bachelors degree in political science from Eastern Michigan University and her juris doctor degree from Detroit Mercy School of Law.


Board responsibilities


The role of a school board member, in a literal sense, is to collaborate with other members, as well as the superintendent, to set measurable goals and hold the Superintendent accountable to them. The role of a school board member, in a practical and real-world sense, is to conduct oneself with integrity and professionalism. Kindergarteners in the district should be able to attend a school board meeting and observe the real-life civics lesson with adults behaving respectfully towards one another. When a school board is achieving a blend of each of the goals outlined above, the rest of the details on how their plans are executed will flow seamlessly. Therefore, vetting candidates and their professional qualifications is crucial. Adults who can respectfully present diverse viewpoints and engage in meaningful debate surrounding the same, are who we need at the school board table.


Pandemic problem in the district


As a former prosecutor who prosecuted child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse and criminal sexual conduct cases – I can say that one of the greatest resources our schools offer our children is a safe haven from abuse and neglect. For many children who are victims of abuse, school is the only place they can receive the legal interventions they need to be protected. These problems affect all social classes. We must rigorously evaluate data when making school shut down decisions. Threats to children’s safety, in all forms, must be heavily scrutinized prior to shutting off the resources that are a lifeline for some children. The learning loss many children have experienced must be reconciled. The state and federal Covid funding we have received should be redirected specifically to create measurable plans for each of our students and get them back on track with their education.


Parental role in curriculum decisions


The debate around parental roles in curriculum has become an increasingly partisan topic. I am truly committed to treating this nonpartisan election with the open mindedness and neutrality that it deserves. Our children deserve decision makers who aren’t tied to political agendas; rather common sense and level minded adults who approach all facets of decision making with sound reason. The role of parents when it comes to deciding what material is taught in the classroom is established and outlined in the Michigan Revised School Code Section 380.10. Adhering to this law and applicable case law is the guide for how these decisions should be made.


Student safety


I’m a parent of a child in a school in America. Just like every other parent of a child in a school in America, worries surrounding school safety keep me awake at night. We all wish that our child’s school/district could find the perfect answer to this issue. I will not pretend that I have “the” answer we seek. What I do have is the tenacity to never let this issue lie. As a district we must constantly seek input from reliable experts, utilize funding in a way that aggressively combats this issue and create a school environment where our children are never worried about safety so they can focus on learning.


The above will require putting aside partisan politics, listening to experts in law enforcement and obtaining constant input and feedback from our teacher community on how they think these plans will work in their classrooms.


What are your top goals if elected

My goal as a member of the board is to move past the events of the past few years and start fresh with a new set of opportunities to advance our children’s learning. We have the funding, professional talent and a myriad of additional resources to make this happen. Now we need decision makers who will steward these resources in the right direction.


PAUL KOLIN


Paul Kolin is a current board member, and past president, of the Bloomfield Hills School board. A resident of Bloomfield Township, he is head of HRIS/payroll for Gentherm. He has an undergraduate degree in social sciences from Binghamton University and an MBA in accounting from Baruch College. He is involved with Bloomfield Youth Assistance and Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition.


Board responsibilities


Last year a parent called me about a list that was circulating around the community targeting certain families. Given the divisive state of our country and general safety concerns, the superintendent and I decided the list should be shared with the school resource officer. Six days later without due process, I was removed from the board president position. A number of community members demonstrated an outpouring show of support and voiced their disagreement with the board’s actions. I stand behind my decision and firmly believe if you “See Something Say Something.” I am also grateful to the community for their support. Board members have an individual and collective responsibility to taxpayers, district families, and employees to provide a quality education in a safe environment to our students. I am running again to continue supporting all community members, and to help improve our education outcomes by making Education First a priority.


Pandemic problem in the district


The pandemic was very difficult for our community, especially our students and staff. I believe some mistakes were made in regard to delays in returning to in-person learning and as a result, many students suffered learning loss, lack of socialization with their peers and additional mental health concerns. To address the learning loss, the district has set up summer programs from the money provided to us by the state. The district also added additional social workers to address student mental health issues. Going forward I would like to work with our future board members, the administration and staff to track these additional support metrics to determine if additional programs and/or changes to existing programs are necessary. We must continue to focus on students and how we can best support them.


Parental role in curriculum decisions


Curriculum decisions are mandated by the state. The board of education’s role is to decide which textbooks are utilized to deliver the curriculum. The district has piloted textbooks to get stakeholder feedback. Stakeholder feedback includes educators and community members. I am a supporter of all stakeholders having input in whether the textbooks used are helping deliver the curriculum in the most effective way. Regarding educational reform, we need to focus on teacher preparatory programs with a focus on differentiated learning at all levels. Our district should be able to provide resources to learners at all levels, including those with special needs and those on a path of accelerated learning. At the end of the day, it is important to meet students where they are at with the goal of 100 percent of our students being college and/or career ready at graduation.


Student safety


After that tragic incident and continuing today, I have pushed for all aspects of school security to be continually reviewed. The district has since hired an administrator of public safety who is a retired police officer with a decade of experience as a school resource officer. Additionally, the district has hired a district nurse who serves students Pre-K to age 26 who has helped implement best practices and training for medical incidents that may occur in our buildings. I have consistently pushed for the 2020 bond expenditures to include additional security improvements in our buildings, including increased security measures at points of entrance at all our schools. The district has also updated the district administrative tool kit for the handling of investigations, student disciplines, and threat assessments to ensure the process is consistent throughout the district.


What are your top goals if elected


My top goals are as follows: Continue to work with administration and staff to analyze our educational data and curriculum to help improve academic outcomes for all students; work with new board members to balance the budget and ensure the district is being fiscally responsible with taxpayers’ money; continue to monitor progress under the 2020 bond to ensure the projects are on time and on or under budget; continue to ask questions and challenge our safety processes and protocols to make sure we are implementing best practices; and continue to work with our new board, administrators, and staff to solve any issues or concerns that will come forward with the goal always being how can we better serve the students in our district.


HARRIS NG


Harris Ng is senior partner at Kearney. A Bloomfield Township resident, he received dual bachelors degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering from Kettering University and MBA from University of Michigan. He is a former board member of Children's Village Foundation and involved with his homeowner's association.


Board responsibilities


The past two-and-a-half years have been an extremely difficult period for our district. Rather than re-litigating the past board issues, we need to look forward. Our future is Education First. Our children’s education should be the priority. The school board is elected by taxpayers (which includes parents) to provide governance and oversee the school district and superintendent. Each board member must perform their fiduciary duties and do what is best for the school district to educate students. Dissent and disagreement are normal in a high-performing boardroom. Only with healthy debate and discussion will the best answers emerge. When a board has mutual respect and trust for their fellow board members, disagreement is healthy and respectful. A “unified” board can lead to groupthink. If elected, I will lead that respectful behavior and be a role model for my fellow board members, district employees, and the student community.


Pandemic problem in the district


COVID-19 was difficult and challenging for our district. It was an unprecedented pandemic in our generation. In the spirit of looking forward, our opportunity for improvement is learning from the past and creating better instruction reaction plans for disruptions from pandemics and other school closures. All children suffered greatly during COVID with learning loss, mental health issues, and lack of progression. The district has received significant COVID funds from state and federal sources. We need to properly leverage the funds to address the learning loss. This should be achieved through extensive summer programs, targeted tutor support, or other academic support. How and where we use the funds for targeted support should be determined by assessments and individual needs. Every student is different and how COVID impacted them varies greatly.


Parental role in curriculum decisions


There has been significant national media coverage on the parental role in schools and we have increased partisanship in schools. The school board and our children’s education are non-partisan. There should be no debate in Michigan, since our Revised School Code Section 380.10 already establishes the role of parents in our schools. Since our district follows state law, parents are involved, and some already participate in curriculum committees. Educational reforms should be focused on the rigor of education and performance of our students. Forty-two percent of our junior students are not considered college ready by the state. Our proficiency levels lag our peer districts. We need to direct more resources toward instruction and ensure the curriculum is rigorous and drives high student performance. Our district should have differentiated education so accelerated students are challenged and those with support needs are given the resources necessary to succeed.


Student safety


We must never rest with school safety. Every child should return home from school safely. We must constantly audit, review, and improve our safety plans, and we still have work to do in our district. Additional school resource officers are necessary for our district. We have fewer officers than Uvalde. Furthermore, our buildings and campuses should be more secure and patrolled by security. Students often use school facilities on weekends and nights. The vast open school property is not often patrolled and can be a threat to our students. In the past year, there has been significant focus on mental health. Many of the mental health initiatives are now integrated into classes. We should reassess the current implementation for effectiveness before we spend more time and money since many of the programs are new and untested.


What are your top goals if elected


My goals are: Education First – prioritize education in board discussions, funding, and other resources. Balance the budget – we had a $3 million deficit last year. This takes resources away from future generations of students. We need to be fiscally responsible and ensure money is spent on education. Further, $200 Million of bond money is still being spent and needs to be managed. Safety – our district should learn from past events and ensure that we have a robust safety plan and process. Everyone asks what will you do? We also need to ask, are you qualified to do it? Good intentions are not enough. I am a successful business professional that will bring experience in leading large organizations through positive change. Using my financial, organizational leadership, and strategic planning expertise, I will raise the professionalism of Bloomfield Hills Schools.


CAROLYN NOBLE


Carolyn Noble of Bloomfield Hills is the Dean of Development for the College of Business at University of Michigan, Dearborn. She has a psychology degree from Beloit College, clinical psychology masters degree from Madonna University and a law degree from Wayne State University. She is involved with Friends of Johnson Nature Center and Bowers School Farm.


Board responsibilities


Once elected, I intend to abide by the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB), and act accordingly within the bounds of the board position. I will evaluate the performance of superintendent Patrick Watson as he accomplishes our shared goals. It is not my job to run the school district. I will make sure I partner with superintendent Watson so we can ensure our goals of excellence are met. If a parent or student voices concern about something specific, I will refer that individual to the superintendent to engage the assistance of the appropriate staff member within the Bloomfield Hills School District. Our administrative team and teachers are educational experts best suited to address students’ academic concerns. I will always act under the best practices as defined by the MASB. You can count on me to support the best interests of our children, having two young children in our school district.


Pandemic problem in the district


Under the circumstances, I have nothing but respect for the superintendent, the current BH School Board, and all the dedicated teachers and students. We have all gone through one of the toughest periods ever imagined. My three-year-old went to Bloomin’ Tots at Fox Hills, and we had a teacher quit her job very abruptly last year during the height of the pandemic. That was certainly a challenge for us and for the school. Students and teachers have been tested, and I give them a lot of credit. COVID-19 robbed students of their most formative years. We all need to take time to grieve and acknowledge that elephant in the room which is the longest self-isolation period we have every gone through. One objective of mine will be to support student mental health policy goals. If students aren’t feeling relatively good about life, it can be very hard to learn.


Parental role in curriculum decisions


The Bloomfield Hills School Board will listen to the expert that we have hired, the superintendent, regarding recommendations for curriculum. That’s what I intend to do. A few parents in the district should not make the curriculum decisions for all children. I will come to a decision on the curriculum based on what is the best material for all children based on expert options. I believe in strong, inclusive learning environments for all our children in the Bloomfield Hills School District.


Student safety


I read about what happened a couple of years ago in a local paper. An alarm was activated by the BluePoint alert system that turned out to be a false alarm. People don’t feel safe in schools. It’s unfortunate, but BH High School should train students on what to do and where to go in an emergency on a regular basis to keep the information fresh in their minds. There is research that having more regular police presence results in students’ mental health problems and intimidates them in the long run. We should partner with the police through technology, but they should not be in the halls and buildings of our high school all the time. Furthermore, school safety experts say anonymous tip lines are among the most effective tools for preventing school violence. In Michigan, that tip line is OK2SAY. It can be reached at Call 8-555-OK2SAY. It’s good that the local businesses were involved during this false alarm.


What are your top goals if elected


My first goal when elected to the Bloomfield Hills School Board will be to learn more about becoming an effective and collaborative board member. That is much more than any of my opponents are willing to do. Every week, I have been reaching out to community leaders and residents, trying to hear from them. I think Bloomfield Hills Schools educates students very well, but I will always strive to ensure that we become even better. I would like to make sure that every student has equitable opportunities and that each one feels supported in a welcoming and nurturing environment. Some parents have pulled their children out of our school system because of the pandemic. Many parents think that students were learning virtually for too long. I’m hoping those parents will reconsider their choice. Virtual learning is not effective, and I will strive to keep kids safe but in the classroom. Every student deserves the chance to achieve more than they thought possible with a supportive community and learning environment.

LAUREN WILSON


Lauren Wilson is a resident of Bloomfield Township. She has a psychology degree from State University of New York at Buffalo.


Board responsibilities


The school board is a democratically elected group of seven individuals. Whenever you have seven individuals on a board there are going to be differing views and opinions. That is why the board votes on matters and issues affecting the district. As a board member I will work tirelessly for the students and the community and provide the leadership needed to address the fiscal and performance issues that are afflicting the district.


Pandemic problem in the district


The district did not do a good job of handling the pandemic. The district lost a lot students and funding because parents knew virtual learning was not working. Parents who lived the day to day of virtual school while working from home looked for a solution and found it by sending their children to private schools with in-person learning. I will work tirelessly with the teachers and administration to make up that lost ground in terms of learning as result of the district not getting the children back in person soon enough.


Parental role in curriculum decisions


Parents have a right to know what the government is teaching their children. It is imperative for the parents of the Bloomfield Hills Schools to have curriculum transparency. The district’s minimum responsibility is to provide accurate, timely, and comprehensive information about the curriculum — especially as it relates to sensitive and controversial topics such as race, gender, identity, and political ideology.


Student safety


School safety is a paramount issue for most parents. We trust that when our children go to school, their safety is priority. I will work to ensure that Bloomfield Hills leverages all assets and takes best practice measures to protect your child.


What are your top goals if elected


If I am elected to the board, my goals will be to defend parental rights in an effort to increase enrollment, establish transparency in the schools – including the curriculum and libraries, and hold the board and administration accountable to taxpayers through balanced budgets.


Comments


PayPal ButtonPayPal Button

DOWNTOWN: Unrivaled journalism worthy of reader support

A decade ago we assembled a small but experienced and passionate group of publishing professionals all committed to producing an independent newsmagazine befitting the Birmingham/Bloomfield area that, as we like to say, has long defined the best of Oakland County. 

 

We provide a quality monthly news product unrivaled in this part of Oakland. For most in the local communities, we have arrived at your doorstep at no charge and we would like to keep it that way, so your support is important.

 

Check out our publisher’s letter to the community here.

Sign Up
Register for Downtown's newsletters to receive updates on the latest news and much more!

Thanks for submitting!

Cover_June2024.jpg
RestReportsTomb.gif
StdUpToHate.jpg
BeachumNEW.gif
bottom of page