BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Kelli Horst is entering her fifth year on the Clarkston Community Schools Board of Education – but her first as president after being elected to that position at the July 8 meeting.
“Having the confidence of my colleagues to serve and represent them as president is a tremendous honor,” said Horst, who has previously served as secretary, treasurer, and vice-president. “Quite simply, we respect each other. Even when we don’t agree, we listen to each other and try to find common ground in the best interests of our students and staff.”
Like school itself, Horst said the board is a role of continuous learning with daily challenges.
“We plan a pretty aggressive professional development schedule throughout the year of conferences, classes and workshops through the Michigan Association of School Boards and our own administration, who are the real experts,” Horst said. “Perhaps the biggest ongoing challenge for us as a board is the constant battle with our legislature over school funding. We still do not know what our revenue is for the year because there is no state budget. We also deal with constant proposals by the legislature to raid the School Aid Fund, the source of public school revenue, for other projects.”
Still, Horst said the district is a source of pride for herself.
“I am extremely proud that we are a district that values and cares deeply about the growth and well-being of every student,” she said. “I believe our community supports that mission, as well. It’s a much richer and deeper partnership than you find in most communities, and what makes living and raising a family in Clarkston so special.”
And while there are certainly numerous areas of positivity within education, Horst said there are some aspects of CCS that can be tweaked.
“Two areas have been designated as priorities by the board this year, as discussed at our retreat earlier this month,” said Horst. “First, we are eager to start telling the stories of our vision and strategic plan. How we are preparing students for a future that excites them? How we are capturing each student’s unique growth? It’s important we communicate these important measures to our parents and community.
“Second, the board is going to start a conversation on a long-term view of stewardship and sustainability beyond the current bond. We want to ensure the district’s programs, finances and facilities are well-positioned to serve our students and community for decades to come.”