Lansing School Board Board Member 6 -Year Term, 2016 {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Lansing School board member, six-year terms, vote for 3

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Mark Eagle

  • Amy Hodgin

  • Ronald L. Holley

  • Candidate picture

    Gabrielle Johnson

  • Candidate picture

    Melissa Lilje

  • Candidate picture

    Stephen Purchase

Social Media

Biographical Information

What are your thoughts on how the district is handling its facilities plan?

What would you do with the high schools? Build new, renovate, other?

Is enough being done to address academic achievement problems in the district?

Is enough being done to address safety concerns in and around school buildings?

Do you believe the current superintendent is doing a good job?

Are you current in all tax, alimony and child support obligations? If not, please explain.

Hometown Lansing
Education Bachelor's Political Science from CMU Master's Public Administration from WMU
Family In a loving relationship for the past 18 years, 1 daughter that attends Lansing School District
Political Experience Former State Commissioner, Michigan Commission for the Blind Chairperson, Ingham County Equal Opportunity Committee
Of course Lansing facilities need improvement, but the voters in May 2016 passed the Lansing Pathway Promise that addresses many of the problems facing our buildings. As a board member, I will ensure the bond is implemented properly.
In an effort to support the views and opinions of the teachers, students and parents of the district, I would need more feedback on what they feel would be the best options. I favor renovating Sexton and Everett over building a brand new high school.
The district has turned a corner in providing a wide range of specialty programs to enhance the learning environment of our students. STEM, STEAM, Montessori and bi-lingual programs provide a more enriched learning experience. Student performance can be advanced further through proper increased funding from the Michigan legislature and better standardized tests to measure student success. Making class size smaller to allow for more individualized one-on-one will also help to increase the learning experience.
Security and safety is an ongoing issue that needs to be evaluated. The first phase of the Pathway Promise addresses some building concerns through security upgrades to at least nine school district facilities. The board of education should continue to work with community partners to promote such initiatives as community policing.
Although the superintendent is the chief administrator, the board also has a responsibility to serve the students and parents of the district. The board needs to consist of checks and balances and not just a rubber stamp. The Board shall provide critical feedback for improvement to superintendent. The superintendent is only as good as the people around her.
Candidate did not provide a response.
Candidate did not provide a response.
Candidate did not provide a response.
Candidate did not provide a response.
Candidate did not provide a response.
Candidate did not provide a response.
Hometown Born in Jackson, Michigan Graduated from Parkside High School 1966 Lived at MSU graduated in 1970 Worked in St. Johns until 1976. Lived in Lansing since 1983 so I have four hometowns
Education BA MSU Social Studies, Psychology and History Secondary Teaching Certification MA MSU School Curriculum, Elementary certification 46 Credits from ETS working toward a DMIN, Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Detroit, Mi.
Family My wife of 27years is Diane Holley Two Daughters Emily MSU MA, Rebeccah BA UofM, Law Degree American University one brother, two sisters, my mother is a healthy 97, my father passed some years ago
Professional Experience Elementary Teacher St. Johns 1971-1076 Reading and GED [all subjects] Instructor, Michigan Reformatory 1976-1997 School Principal STF and SLF St. Louis, Michigan 1997-2007 MDOC School Auditor, Career/Tech administrator under Education Director 2002-2007 Board of Directors AHM past 11 years
Political Experience I have voted since I was 21. I was in state worker union politics MSEA Region IV Alt. Director 1yr. MSEA Region !V Director 2years MSEA President elected to two 1year terms Elected by the UAW Local 6000 as a delegate to the UAW International Convention twice.
Campaign Website http://in process
Not having insider information I would say improvements to the Sexton High School perimeter are well done. Future goals listed in the '15-'16 Annual Report include coordinating with SodexoMAGIC to provide clean, safe and healthy building environments. Therein lies quite a bit of rub. Delegating provision of safe and healthy building environments seems impracticable to me. The goal at the bottom of the list is the implementing and prioritizing of all projects curious. The School District intend to do its own H2O testing for lead. I am unsure how this will be accomplished in house.

I will stay informed on the status of delegated responsibility by attending to the sub-conctract terms.
I am looking into the plans outlined before the bond issue was presented to the taxpayers. I want to look at all options being considered by the current board, joint community/school officials' recommendations and any other reports in the public record. Plans for reconstituting the Pattengill Campus appear to be underway. I am hopeful that the Board is considering using local contractors, engineers and construction companies to make structural changes approved by the Lansing voters. This cooperation with local companies, workers and suppliers would be a way of building relationship with those that fully supported the millage at the request of the district. It should be a high priority!
I have seen no plan made public to address the six Lansing schools targeted in the bottom 5% of all public schools in Michigan as defined by Governor Snyder's Office of School Reform. That office if quoted correctly by The Lansing State Journal was taking absurd positions on the right of Governor Snyder to use old MEAP scores combined with two cycles of M-STEP scores to close up to 125 public schools in Michigan. This would be overboard arrogant. The same party pandering to local control of schools wants to order school closings? So many interested parties are fighting this move; it is likely it is posturing for the hidden agenda of disrupting public education Michigan.

This will be critical to observe, monitor and pay close attention to what the community is telling us in regard to safety issues. The school district will have to be much more attentive to practice and procedure of an outside agency, their goals, mission, and focus vis a vis those oft school district. Once again the language and agreement and the process by which the two entities accomplish the tasks together will determine whether or not safety concerns will be addressed in accordance with MIOSHA and NISHOA mandates. If the answer is yes we will be much less vulnerable liability wise. If the answer is no, we are up the creek of excrement without a paddle.

Liability may loom large.
I have spoken with the superintendent for about an hour. She is observant, experienced, confident and very capable. I believe her wheelhouse is the academic side of the equation. She clearly knows her stuff and has reorganized the grade level and school campuses in innovative ways.

I do not think she realizes to what degree the district is held back by the ghosts of the past. She seems willing to assume responsibility for the outcomes to date of all that has happened during her tenure. But she does not seem to think she needs to resolve any of the unresolved issues of the past.

There is an opportunity to move ahead. Lansing Schools can be the very best. But everyone must be all in
I am more than current. My credit ratings are all excellent.
Hometown Lansing
Education JW Sexton High School, Michigan State University, Cooley Law School
Family Husband, Mark
Professional Experience Estate planning attorney, 4 years. Prior to law school I worked as a Civil Rights Investigator for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
Political Experience Current member, Lansing School Board.
Our facilities plan is constantly changing and is in a state of evolution now, due to the passage of the bond campaign in May of 2016. Our facilities committee meets regularly to keep tabs on the plans for renovation of our buildings, and the Board of Education is updated accordingly. As our student population has dwindled since the advent of Proposal A and schools of choice, our facilities needs have changed. The Board of Education has proactively taken buildings offline when they were no longer needed and, in many instances, sold those buildings to private companies who maintain the buildings and promote a better quality of life in the neighborhoods. Moores Park is a great example of this.
As part of our successful bond campaign, all three high schools will be renovated. With the sale of Eastern High School and relocation to the current Pattengill, Eastern students will attend classes in a beautiful, relatively new facility. I do not support closing a high school or spending the funds to build an entirely new school at this time- we have a large enough student population to still need three high schools and we will focus on renovation and repair of those facilities. My hope is that the Lansing School District will begin to attract more families and those buildings will again be operating near capacity in the near future.
We are constantly focusing on academic achievement. We were proud that as many as nine of our schools moved off 2016's priority list as issued by the School Reform Office, but we are disappointed that two of our schools are on the list of the bottom five percent of Michigan's schools. We have recently adopted new math curriculum to try to provide better material for our teachers and our students, and, when fully implemented, the Pathway Promise will ensure that our students each have a focused and concentrated path of study charted for them. We have adopted pacing guides for our teachers, so all teachers, parents, and students have measurable goals for the students.
As the largest district in the Lansing area, with 27 buildings and 11,000 students, we will always have safety concerns. Our district is sprawling, but through cooperation with our public safety officers and the Lansing Police Department, we are able to proactively prevent most problems in the district and quickly respond to situations when they escalate.
I am a huge supporter of Superintendent Caamal Canul. Her educational and professional background is second to none and she has a vision for the district that is inspiring. The superintendent and the Board of Education work well together because we are all focused on a common goal- providing our students with the best educational experience possible. We are lucky to have a superintendent who is so quick to trumpet the achievements of our students, especially when those achievements are frequently overlooked.
Hometown Haslett, MI
Education BFA in Dance, U of Michigan, MFA in Dance, Arizona State University
Family Husband and 2 kids, ages 5 and 6 years
Professional Experience Adjunct Professor MSU: Department of Theatre; Executive Committee of the Michigan Dance Counsel
Political Experience first-time condidate
I'm very excited about the proposals for facilities included in the recently passed bond. The district has done an enormous amount of planning and research into this and it will serve the next generation of Lansing students well.
I will support the plans outlined in the bond which include renovations instead of new buildings.
No. Teachers and administrators alike need more support for this community. I intend to rally a larger community of volunteers to lend this support. We need all hands on deck.
There was a safety concern at the Lansing school my children attend this fall. The response was truly amazing: meetings, administration always available to answer any questions, daily updates and law enforcement posted at the school every day. Safety is the top priority for our students. It must remain that way.
Yes I do. She has had to make some incredibly tough choices in a situation that seemed a no-win. Through it, she has been able to get the finances in good shape (Lansing has the lowest debt of any district in the area!) The experience my family and I have had in the district has blown us away at every turn with its high-quality. Of course, there is a lot of work to do to enhance the systems in place. I intend to serve that purpose any way I can.
Hometown Lansing
Education James Madison College at Michigan State University
Family Wife, Karissa Chabot-Purchase. Son, Lincoln Purchase (3).
Professional Experience Vice President, H Inc. Past: Legislative Aid, Michigan House of Representatives
Political Experience Campaign Manager for former State Rep. Joan Bauer. Volunteer member of Lansing's Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity.
I was energized to see strong support of the May 2016 bond campaign, and what its passage means for the future of the district’s facilities. Physical environment plays an important roll in setting high expectations for our student’s, and I am excited to see improvements made across the district in a thoughtful manner that seeks to maximize long term value of the investment made by Lansing taxpayers. The District has been proactive to make sure its facilities match its academic programming and meet the needs of its students.
All three high schools are slated for renovation (with Eastern relocating to what is now Pattengill). This is a smart direction that capitalizes on infrastructure already in place, and allows bond dollars to be most effectively spent where they will make the most immediate impact and create the best long term value.
The district is on the right track, but there is more to do. Test scores lag for many reasons, not the least of which is that Lansing serves many students who must overcome poverty and other external issues that impact academic performance. I’m encouraged by the District’s efforts to adopt new curriculum and practices in response to low scores. I would note that that our high achieving students compare well with neighboring districts, and Lansing offers high quality programs (Language emersion, STEAM, IB, New Tech, etc.) taught by well qualified, dedicated teachers. We can do more, especially to support struggling students, and I welcome the opportunity to contribute in this critical area.
Safety is always a concern when our children are involved, and certainly Lansing has particular challenges as a large, urban district. That said, the district has engaged resources appropriately both to cultivate a safe, secure environment, and to respond to incidents swiftly. I am particularly encouraged by the district’s partnership with Resolution Services Center of Central Michigan that seeks to create opportunities for alternative conflict resolution with a focus on de-escalation and restorative justice. These kinds of programs foster a more positive learning culture and can head off disciplinary problems before they escalate into safety concerns.
Yes. Our superintendent and board of education together are leading the way with a clear vision for the future of Lansing Schools with a relentless focus on improving educational achievement and opportunity. I am thankful for her steady leadership through challenges facing public education in general. That said, I do see room for improvement; particularly in the areas of communication and the engagement of teachers and community partners into the process to bolster morale and expand support of the district. As a board member I would actively champion what is working in the District, and listen to all community stakeholders intent on helping us continue its progress.