Perhaps the most important question people may have is just what issues I am running on. As I told people when I was first seeking petition signatures to get on the ballot, I think it is important to note that I am not running because I am a single issue candidate. I did not come up with this idea simply because I became upset about something in the last year or two. Being a board member has been on my radar for years. I think SLCS does an overall amazing job and I want to see that continue. There are, however a few issues I feel are important to help South Lyon Schools to grow as a leader in education.
Helping schools grow as the community grows
We all know that growth in the South Lyon community is something that has been happening for years and will continue to occur. I've seen many families proudly share how long they have been a part of this community. Others are just moving here from places near and far. I believe it is important to embrace this growth and change by engaging with everyone. It is important that everyone in the SLCS community has a voice - whether their family has lived here for generations, or whether they just built here this year. By acknowledging that our community is growing, and seeking ways to use this to our students' advantage, we can make South Lyon even better than it is today. I will do all I can to connect and work with all families throughout SLCS.
As the community grows, it is important that we secure every penny for our students that we can. Many don't know that the state per-pupil funding is not the same from district to district. State school funding has a long and complicated history. I won't bore you with the details, but there are some important things to consider. For example, South Lyon Schools receives $8,700 per student. Neighboring Novi Schools receive $8.948. Farmington receives $10,353 per student while Bloomfield Hills, also in Oakland County, was able to secure $12,517 per student in state funding. It is only fair that our schools have as many resources as possible to work with as the district grows and serves an increasingly diverse community. I will work to find ways to ensure that our students have access to state resources which are allocated fairly, and not according to how far down 10 Mile their address is. This includes partnering with state leaders to make school funding equitable.
Fostering a safe, inclusive environment
As a law enforcement professional for over 20 years, safety means a lot to me. I have seen what it takes to keep a community safe; it takes the partnership of all stakeholders working together to identify and predict possible threats while working to mitigate them through policy and practice. As a board member, I will work to help the administration develop and improve policies which keep students and staff safe every day. The second half of that job is finding creative ways to fund safety initiatives without needlessly taking away from educational funds. I will work to strike a balance between creating an environment which fuels growth and learning and one which is also safe for all involved.
While we often see physical safety at school discussed in the news, it is just as important that we focus on the emotional and mental factors that help students and staff feel safe each day. Students should come to school each day in the proper mindset, ready to learn from staff who are emotionally prepared to educate. I will work to make sure that mental health is an area of focus so that the entire learning community is best situated for success. This includes ensuring that all feel welcome and included as South Lyon continues to grow and diversify. Our schools cannot be a successful team if some feel like they are pushed to the sidelines.
While these are only a few of my concerns, they are some of the issues which most compel me to seek a spot on the SLCS Board of Education. I welcome questions or feedback. You can comment below or email me at email@example.com. In the mean time, I hope you will share my name and why I am running with your friends and neighbors throughout South Lyon. Most importantly, I would love your vote on November 8th.
What made you decide to run? That is usually the first question people ask when they find out I am running to be on the school board. Sometimes it sounds more like ‘are you sure you want to do this?’ Or ‘are you crazy?’. But regardless of how it’s asked, the answer will always be that I have a committment to service.
Growing up, my parents were models of community service. As a contractor with his own business, my dad would donate his time and services to Habitat for Humanity when they were building new houses. My mother, a lifelong educator, volunteered with the Washtenaw Literacy Council teaching adults to read. As a kid, it was just routine that our family would spend at least one Friday night a month working at a local soup kitchen, preparing and serving meals. Experiences like this taught me the importance of contributing what you can to your community.
Every community has needs and all of us have different skills. The challenge is looking at ourselves to identify those skills and then determining how we can match them up with the needs around us. Throughout the years I have lived in South Lyon, I have looked for ways that I can help to give back. Serving on my church’s board of trustees or helping with my son’s cub scout pack are examples of fun ways I found to take part in the community I lived in. But as many of us know, there are a lot of things that make it very difficult to volunteer or get involved. Young kids, crazy hours at work, and projects around the house were just a few of the things that sometimes made it seem like there was not an extra minute for extra-curricular activities. As my children have grown older and (slightly) more independent, my work schedule has left me more time, and my education and work experience have armed me with more tools to take this on, I have realized that this is the perfect time for me to focus on service to this wonderful community by running for school board.
The SLCS Board of Education is something that I have been interested in for some time. Unlike my father, I am not so great at building things with my hands. Trying to help my 10 year old with math homework has shown me that I don’t have my mother’s skill as a teacher. When I earned my Masters in Public Administration, the focus was on leadership roles in public organizations, specifically in local government, so it only makes sense that I would be attracted to the idea of serving on the SLCS Board of Education. This is an opportunity for me to use skills I have developed in strategic planning as the board makes plans and decisions for the future.. As a de-escalation trainer, my conflict management skills will help me address issues which can sometime divide even a tight-knot community in a way that is rational and empathetic.
Our communities are only as good as the people in them and South Lyon is already pretty great. South Lyon Community Schools are an outstanding place for our children to learn and grow. In order to maintain these excellent schools, we need to work together to give what we can. For me, I think that means using my experience, knowledge, and leadership ability to serve as a board member. I hope that you agree and will help get me there by voting for me on November 8th.
I love to write and I'd love to explain where I stand on issues that are important to you in future blog posts. Feel free to email me with any issues that you'd like me to address and check back for future blog posts.
Need info on all the candidates?
Visit vote411.org, input your address, and see what all the candidates for SLCS School Board stand for. There are two different races this November. One is a six year term with four candidates running for two spots. That's Patrick's race! The other is a two year term with two candidates running for one spot.