Five vying for Clarkston school board seats

Five vying for Clarkston school board seats

By Matt Mackinder
Clarkston News Editor

Five candidates are running for two spots on the Clarkston Community Schools Board of Education in a race to be decided on Nov. 8.
Incumbents Greg Need and Cheryl McGinnis are joined by Christy Giampetroni, Amanda Love, and Kathy Paul for the positions that come with six-year terms.
The Clarkston News sent all candidates the same questionnaire, and here is how each responded, in alphabetical order.
Giampetroni and Love declined to participate, and Paul did not respond to our questionnaire.

Age: 63
Occupation: Development Associate, Oakland University
Family: Married to Mark for 38 years. Three children: Sarah, Natalee, and Patrick, all Clarkston High School graduates. Grandchildren Tyler and Iylah, 4-year CCS preschool.
Years lived in Clarkston: 38
Q: Why are you running for a seat on the school board?
A: I am running because my work in our community is not yet finished.
For 30 years, I have been an ardent advocate for public education in Clarkston. I see the benefits of what a trained and experienced board can mean for the district’s students, staff and our community schools.
I believe a unified board and leadership team work best to bring about programs that are focused on research and best practices and deliver an exemplary education for all students.
I also seek to continue our investment in district infrastructure and technology that will allow us to deliver the kinds of programs we locally believe is right four our students, such as the current bond proposal for a new junior high school.
As a district, we need to ensure that proper safety protocols are in place so that we maintain a high level of vigilance to keep all children and staff safe.
Q: What do you see as positives for CCS?
A: Our teachers and staff are a dedicated group of individuals that didn’t come to this profession to become wealthy. The team of district leadership and the board works hard to ensure that we have hired and retained the best teachers available for our students.
We have a high retention rate among our teaching and support staff at 93 percent for the 2021-22 school year.
We have exceptional student programs support by dedicated staff advisors, such as Instrumental Music, Choir and CHS Madrigals, and sports programs.
We have parent-lead programs that achieve at the highest levels, such as Destination Imagination, Team RUSH, and Future Problem Solvers. Our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) has shown early success in raising student achievement, while enhancements to our literacy curriculum by having certified teachers trained in Orton-Gillingham will help our students with language and reading difficulty, and excellent financial positions have saved the community over $30M in cost avoidance and refinancing of bonds.
Q: What issue(s) will you address if elected?
A: I’d like to more aggressively address the guidance of more diverse career path opportunities for our students that don’t choose to go on to higher education.
The goals of education should be to prepare every student to have the option to be successful in whatever path they pursue.
Our Construction Tech program is one of these pathways that has shown great success already. Students are already achieving at local and state levels recognition for the skills this program is teaching them.
While I believe college is not for every student, I want to ensure that we are providing all students knowledge of the options they have, while guiding them into a pathway that meets with their strengths to provide them a future filled with their dreams.

Age: 68
Occupation: Attorney
Family: Married to Wendy 30 years. Two children, both CHS graduates: Samantha (CHS 2017) and Miguel (CHS 2021)
Years lived in Clarkston: 32
Q: Why are you running for a seat on the school board?
A: I have served on the board for seven years, and as vice-president the last three. The current board works very well as a team with our administration, teachers, support staff, and parents developing a positive culture throughout the district, and I want to continue and maintain this excellent working relationship and culture.
Our students are best served when everyone is working together, and my decisions are always made by what is best for our kids.
I want to continue to support the administration’s Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), making sure we understand where each student is in their learning and supporting them to help them maximize their potential every year.
If the bond issue (which I support) is approved, I will use my experience in implementing the 2016 bond issues to make sure our taxpayers dollars are wisely spent on the new junior high, safety and security measures, technology, and infrastructure.
Q: What do you see as positives for CCS?
A: We have an excellent group of administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, and community members that have built a positive culture throughout the district.
Unlike many school districts, Clarkston began the year with almost 100 percent of our teaching positions filled, and our retention rate is very high.
Over the past two years, we have implemented our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, which addresses the needs of all students, meeting them where they are academically and giving them the tools they need to maximize their learning. These efforts resulted in Clarkston test scores increasing in 2022 over 2021, while the Oakland County and state scores declined.
We offer our kids a very broad and diverse curriculum and a broad range of extracurricular activities at all grades which allows them to excel in areas like our band and choir programs, theater, Team Rush, Destination Imagination, athletics, and many others.
Q: What issue(s) will you address if elected?
A: 1) To continue to address the learning issues that occurred because of the pandemic. We need to monitor our Systems of Support and reallocate resources where necessary to make sure all our kids have the tools they need to learn.
We added certified teachers working as literacy and math interventionists, math and literacy coaches, and a school psychologist at every school.
2) Address historical inequities in school funding. Because of historical factors, Clarkston receives less per-pupil than most districts and we must continue to use alternative funding sources and make smart budget decisions.
3) Make sure our students are aware of the many career paths open to them- college for many, trade programs for others.
4) While the safety and security audit of the district resulted in a very good showing, we must always be vigilant as to threats to our schools and continue to improve our security efforts.

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