School District of the City of Battle Creek School Board 6 Year Term {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Board members server a 6 year term.

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  • Ronneice Erwin

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    Eric J. Jankowski

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    Lester Earl Johnson

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    Rande Johnson

  • Mark Jones

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    Jaccqueline Slaby

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    Kyra Wallace

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    Avar Wright

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Biographical Information

Why do you want to serve? What are your qualifications?

What has your experience been with public schools, and how would that influence your work on the board?

What are your priorities for the district? Why and how did you choose those?

Grade the superintendent's overall performance. Where is he or she performing well, and where can he or she improve?

How should districts evaluate teacher performance? Do you think teachers are doing a good job?

Do teachers receive adequate compensation, support and professional development to be successful in their jobs?

Do families and community members feel welcome and respected in their school?

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Professional Experience Wholesale Nursery Territory Sales Representative, Former PTA Field Service Representative, Scout Leader
Political Experience Ran for BCPS School Board in 2014
Family Wife: Kim Children: Helena, Frederick, Colin, Rebecca, William
I want to be a member of the Board because I believe in the school district and its students. I want to make a positive impact on the learning environment at BCPS, returning the district to a state of financial stability, while increasing student achievement and success. I have served on PTA boards from a local unit at Valley View, to President of the BCPS PTA Council, to serving on the Michigan PTA Board of Directors. I have experience being an advocate for our children from serving on these boards and from being a Boy Scout leader for ten years.
The husband of a teacher, I am a strong advocate for public school education. Although I am not a graduate of BCPS, my wife, daughter, and son have all graduated from Battle Creek Central. I have a son that is a senior and my two youngest are elementary school students. We are a proud Bearcat Family! I have been involved in our children's education since 1998. I have seen many changes in the district, some good, some not so good. I will work towards making BCPS the world class school system I know it can be. I will work collaboratively with fellow board members, the Superintendent, staff and community members to make this happen. This will need to be a team effort to be successful.
1) Student retention. BCPS is losing students by the hundreds each year. This is a problem because students in seats equals school funding. Without funding, schools can't operate. 2) Getting the Financial house in order. Our fund balance is very low. The district needs to borrow money to operate until school aid comes from the state. The days of using the fund balance to cover budget deficits are gone. We need to continue with the zero based budget process to get this under control. 3) Increased communication. All stakeholders need to have a voice at the table. The problems will not be solved without collaboration across the community.
Since Kim Carter took the position of Superintendent, there have been many changes in the district. Until the results of the changes are seen (student achievement, keeping and attracting new students, and deficit reduction), I cannot fully evaluate Kim Carter's performance. I do however give her lots of credit because she takes the time to listen to concerns and address them. She also is forward thinking. In the past cuts have been made without looking to the future. She has made changes in accordance with the district's strategic plan. Time will tell the success of these changes and the overall performance of the Superintendent.
First of all I think teachers do a fantastic job! They have a tough job. I think teachers should be evaluated in several areas, including organization/classroom management, instructional practice, as well as on student performance. Student performance does not necessarily mean standardized tests. There should be multiple measures of student success. Evaluations should be based on multiple classroom visits. The way districts evaluate teachers and the weight given to each category should be determined by the individual districts. Ultimately,the evaluation of teachers should be a positive process meant to improve practice, celebrating strengths and enhancing instruction.
Any professional that is required to have a degree and continued learning for ongoing certification should be adequately compensated. Our teachers shouldn't have to work second jobs to make ends meet. Many teachers put in countless hours preparing for their classes. Many buy supplies needed for their classrooms out of their own pockets and aren't reimbursed by the district.

Teachers still report a lack of support to be successful in their classrooms. Behavior issues remain a struggle and need to be better addressed.

The district provides professional development for teachers, but it needs to continue to work on differentiating that PD to meet the individual needs of its teachers
The yearly exodus of students from the district is an indication that families do not feel welcome and respected in their schools. They don't feel listened to about the needs of their children. With so much competition in the district from charter and private schools, the district has to change this perception. Providing a basic education to our students is not enough. Customer service has to be strong throughout the district. If a parent has a complaint, it should be resolved and administrators should follow up to ensure parent concerns are being acknowledged and resolved in a timely fashion. Communication has to improve in general to make families feel valued and part of the process.
Professional Experience Community Engagement Support Specialist, United Way Battle Creek Kalamazoo Region -Missiologist, Church of God in Christ, Inc.
Serving community is my passion. I have served the Battle Creek community since 2004. My central work is preparing inner-city youth for college. I am a graduate of The University of Michigan with a Bachelors Degree in Voice Performance. I am currently a Master's Degree Candidate at Harvard University with a concentration in International Relations. The center of my research is education and world missions. For the past three years I have led Hip Hop 4 Change, a program that focuses on drug prevention, health, social conditioning, and academic argumentation and writing. We have serviced over 100 youth in Battle Creek, Michigan and Buenaventura, Colombia, South America since its inception.
I have served as a mentor to numerous students and a volunteer to various programs at the High School. I served with the NAACP ACT-SO Program, Battle Creek Central Choir, the Inner-City Fellowship Youth Conference, and now Hip Hop 4 Change. As a student who has served and been served in the Battle Creek Public Schools, I feel it is important that members of the board create policy that makes it easy for both students and teachers to thrive. It is necessary if want to the continue to grow a college going community that makes the road from the Pre-School Certificate to the Bachelors or Trade Degree a reality for all our students.
The school district should continually be enhancing our work by sharpening our ability to implement the Strategic Plan. The vision is simple, but important -- "100% Success for every Bearcat". The mission is critical, "...engage, empower, and collaborate to educate..." If the four aforementioned action words don't happen, we fail. Educating our youth is extremely important to the success of our world. If we don't involve community, administrators, teachers, students, and families on all levels, we won't reach optimal success.Ensuring that all children receive a quality education has been my work for over a decade. My passion has been making sure the less-likely have possibilities.
Heretofore, the superintendent has done a great job at moving the district forward. The district has been in a mode of growth for some time now. With growth comes pains, changes,mistakes, and wins. I am careful not to judge a work too early. Our current superintendent inherited the district at a critical time. She has made great strides to move the district forward and that should be celebrated.
While immediate classroom and standardized tests are our primary means of testing students, and that is how we assess a teacher's performance, it should not be the only means. In addition to each student having different family conditions that affect their ability to engage in the classroom daily, each student learns differently. To judge a teacher solely on tests and rigid metrics is an erroneous approach to evaluation. Teachers should be evaluated on long-term success of students. Furthermore, the evaluation should take into consideration the conditions and resources that a teacher has. It would be unfair for me to clump every teacher together in one statement and say all are good or bad.
To think, teachers are the individuals who our children spend over half of the day and over fifty percent of the week and year with. They are the only individuals, other than parents, who make a consistent long-lasting imprint on our children and prepare them for life. That job should not be taken lightly. There is definitely room for conversation around adequacy and compensation. I am also certain that 21st century urban teachers could use more support from legislators, administrators, community, and each other. Both are necessary and will take honest and open conversation to address.
There are some families and community members who feel welcome and respected in their school. There are many that do not feel respected or welcome. The reasons why vary.
Home address Morgan Rd., East
Professional Experience Baccalaureate degree in arts with concentration in public service and ministration. Former superintendent of streets and parks city of Battle Creek. Substitute school teacher Battle Creek public schools.
Political Experience Elected alternate committeeman UAW. Elected 12 years president of Battle Creek supervisors association. Second term Bedford charter Township trustee.
Property tax is connected to school millage. In the past 5 to 6 years our community has experience numerous amount of school closings yet that has not been reflected in a Loring the property taxes, why? We should be promoting the successes of the public school system, not giving in to the ideology of private schools and charter schools. If private schools are enjoying more successes, then is it imperative for us to improve our public schools. We cannot allow private profit orientated businesses to dominate education in our communities, someone will come up on the short in and not receive an adequate education due to cost factors. Charter schools error close to revisiting segregation.
I am a proud product of the Battle Creek public school system. All of my kids went through the Battle Creek public school system. I had the pleasure of substituting in the system. I know we have comped it dedicated professionals serving my community and we can do a better job.
I know we have competent and dedicated professionals serving our community and we can do a better job. The school system needs to do a better job in promoting the successes of our system. We should make the necessary improvements to recruit students into our system rather than allowing them to seek a
I think this superintended inherited some of the shortcomings and pitfalls of the previous superintendent, which was unfortunate. On the other hand when you have been hired to clean up the mess the solution should not be close more schools. The focus should be on what can we do to attract new and larger enrollment.
By individual observation, the success of students testing, making sure that curriculums of being talked with the latest best practices in the profession. Tenure should not be the focus of the teachers value !
In some cases teachers of being underpaid. In other situations they may be being paid by tenure and not by performance. That is to be determined and observed fairly by the administration. Nonetheless we cannot dismiss the old adage, you get what you pay for .
I am not sure the old PTA concept is being fostered in the community anymore? We need to highlight and secure relationships, between teachers and parents.
Professional Experience In my career, I have been a naval architect and civil engineer then a successful businessman owning my own financial services agency. I also had the opportunity to teach full-time at a college and to tutor and teach classes of high school students.
Political Experience Neighborhood Planning Council #4 member, vice-chair and chair. Served on the Battle Creek Historic District Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. I have also been elected as a Precinct Delegate.
Family Born and raised in Battle Creek. Lived in various places around the world. Returning to Battle Creek 20 years ago. I am not married and have no children. I do have 3 sisters, 4 nephews and 7 grand nieces and nephews.
To return to the school I remember. As a proud Bearcat, class of 1984. We had classes from calculus to printing press. We built robots in 1982. We placed at nationals and state in math, music, architecture and public speaking. My classmates were very diverse and equally represented in each and every class. They went on to win Grammy Awards or editing Academy Award winning films. The special thing about Central was that these accomplishments came not from privileged, special kids but “average”, every-day, normal kids, from the “inner-city”, non-privileged school serving rich, poor, black and white. I am a civil engineer, financial services business owner, and high school and college teacher
As a student, I had an awesome experience with Battle Creek Public Schools. As a school board member, I would push for the learning environment that I had and which produced so many fine students. Also, I remember that BCPS was one of less than 10 public school districts in the nation to not have any debt. That pay-as-you-go philosophy allowed us to have many rich educational opportunities. I am a Certified Payments Professional and will bring accountability and sound judgment to the fiscal policy of the school district.
The single biggest issue facing BCPS is that more than half of the students who live in our district boundaries use School of Choice to go elsewhere. We absolutely must find a way to attract the majority of these students back into our schools. I choose this issue because it is the underlying issue that drives all of the other major issues. It drives our finances and school availability because of per-pupil funding. It drives the quality of our students because parents who care and have the ability, take their children elsewhere. It even drives the quality of our neighborhoods because I have heard many potential residents choose to move elsewhere to a better school district.
Our current Superintendent is new. However, the overriding measure of any superintendent’s performance is whether people choose to go to school here. With about half of the students living within our district boundaries going elsewhere, that is an absolute fail by our school administration. Regardless of any particular metric of “doing well” until we get 80%, at the very minimum, of those students attending our schools we are failing. We are in a state of failure. It matters not in the least if a swimmer has the right arm angle yet they are drowning. The only thing that matters is they are drowning. This falls not only on the superintendent but every one from the Board down to the janitor
The heart of this question is accountability. I think we should hold our teachers and the school district accountable. However, we need to abandon the idea of a school as a factory, where we are manufacturing students and we can test things like we test the manufactured product and the tools used. It’s absurd to think that we teach iron ore to become steel and eventually a car or teach grain to become breakfast cereal. It’s also absurd to think that we manufacture students and can test them the way we do car parts or even Cornflakes. It’s also absurd to hold teachers accountable as we do forges and ovens. Parents will vote with their feet. This should be the evaluation.
I’m going to think out of the box here. We have many failed paradigms in our current system of education. I am all for abandoning those paradigms and breaking those models. Thinking that if we paid our teachers more or less would make them perform better or worse is one of those models. We need to pay our teachers a decent wage so they have enough money to live a decent life. They also need to be supported and developed. As for success, that will only come when parents value education. It has been my experience that people pay for and support things they value. Teachers will be paid well, supported well and be successful when parents value education.
I know several parents who have pulled their children from BCPS for just such an issue. I do not know if this is the case in general or a systemic problem. This may be one of the many contributing issues that result in the overriding problem of parents using School of Choice to go elsewhere.
Professional Experience Served as Public Relations Chair for Bryn Mawr College's NAACP Chapter, Black History Month Coordinator for Bryn Mawr College, Outreach & Education Chair for SEPTA's Youth Advisory Council in Philadelphia, Planning Intern for the Battle Creek Chamber of Commerce, and Media Director for local start up company, Twinzy Toys.
Family I live with my Mother and Father who have both supported BCPS and Battle Creek for over twenty years.
I strongly believe in living local. This is why I have returned home after college and have committed myself to working for the city. I want to give back to the community where I was born and raised and support the local networks that make up this city - whether it's a network of ideas, people, food, businesses, or schools. My experience, both professional and academic, in urban planning and community organizing gives me the knowledge and ability to make a difference in Battle Creek at this level. As a school board member for the Battle Creek Public Schools I can help strengthen these networks to better support families and individuals of the community.
I graduated from Battle Creek Central and Math & Science Center in 2011, which means I have a fresh perspective on how the district has been in recent times. Both my elementary school and middle school has since closed, allowing me the opportunity to see the impact those decisions have on a neighborhood.

I have also spent time away while studying in Philadelphia where I have learned and experienced different educational ideas and practices. My master degree in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania gives me a unique angle at which I approach this position on the school board. I have both the training and local expertise to help better integrate BCPS into the rest of the city.
I lead with four keys to success - 1. Establish a safe environment, 2. Hold administrators and teachers accountable on transparency and execution of policies, 3. Invest in the growth of students' minds and passions, 4. Multiply and diversify the district's revenue streams to improve budget.

To see these goals achieved though - my main priority is to transform our district's culture. This is a huge task, but it takes each of us to be mindful of how we lead, teach, learn, parent, and work. Through intentional decision-making and practices, each of us can help change how we see the district and how we see ourselves in our roles. What power does each of us hold to raise the bar, together?
Superintendent Parker-DeVauld has sought to bridge the gap between school and community through initiatives like neighborhood walks and the new Community Engagement Coordinator position. The Board can have an even greater role in collaborating with the superintendent and others to further improve outreach and relations with the community.

It seems so often that programs will start out strong with a lot of energy around it. Then, 1 or 2 years later it's put on hiatus. Whether it's due to lack of funding or support, we need to address this. Let's keep building when there is momentum and continue to plan how great programs and ideas can be successfully executed and sustainable.
We have some phenomenal teachers in this district and I've had the pleasure of being a student in their classrooms. As a district we need to find more effective ways to support them and recognize the positive impact they have on students. When there are concerns about staff and their effectiveness we as a school board need to come together with the community to identify exactly what the problem or disconnect was and solve it, systemically and systematically. Enhanced training and support can also improve teaching performance overall, reducing concerns by addressing them through proactive practicing rather than ignoring them.
Fostering an environment where teachers feel supported and respected is critical in our transformation of the district. Teachers have not received a pay raise in several years. While this issue is complex, how else are we compensating teachers? Are we listening to what teachers may want or need, beyond monetary - like time, other benefits?

We also want to ensure that teachers are properly trained, well in advance, when we implement new initiatives. Administrative support behind teachers' decisions is vital for creating a positive work atmosphere. Through improved and consistent training we can better balance the expectations and realities of admin, teachers, and families.
I have been out canvassing and have had the opportunity to talk with families about the district and I have heard a range of stories that have helped me expand my own perspective of BCPS. These stories are of the district today and from decades ago, they're from multilingual households, they're from families who live next to closed schools, they're from families who saw their children graduate from central and from those who have transferred to other districts.

Overall, BCPS needs to address both the reality and perception of district. If either one is neglected, we won't move forward. We must change the story by enhancing communications and engagement while restructuring internally.
Professional Experience Current Director of Non-Profit Certified Life Coach Former Educator Former Athletic Coach
Political Experience None
Family Husband, daughter and step son
One of the greatest investments that we make is in our children’s education and the support of educators that provide it. Every child should possess an education that prepares them for the global workforce, to serve our community, or pursue higher education. My qualifications are I’m a Western Michigan University graduate where I earned my B.A. in Elementary Ed. and my M.A. in Middle School Ed. and Mathematics. I’ve taught in BCPS. I’ve coached basketball, track and pompoms within BCPS. My leadership training includes LeaderQuest, Battle Creek Area Leadership Academy and Whitney M. Young Leader Program. Some board experience includes Neighborhoods, Inc., Regional Health Alliance and NAACP.
I am a product of public schools.I was a teacher for Battle Creek Public Schools for seven years and enjoyed the opportunity to shape young minds. My daughter is currently a student in Battle Creek Public Schools. It has prepared her to dual enroll in community college courses at 13 years old. I work with students daily who are being educated in public schools. My experience with public schools is positively diverse, so the influence on my decision making process from those experiences is just as varied. My approach to working on the board would come from multiple perspectives which can help in developing and defining well rounded solutions to issues and concerns being addressed.
I hope to accomplish the following at a minimum: Continue to work towards the district obtaining a balanced budget, look for financial incentives and additional compensation for our teachers based on performance, help establish and maintain student recovery program(s) for the district and work to have shared services implemented between local school districts when it is cost effective and mutually beneficial. I chose these priorities because each one when at a resolve could serve as a catalyst for greatness to once again reside in and throughout the district.
I don’t find it prudent to grade the superintendent’s overall performance without all of the information that I would have as a board member. I can only give my thoughts based off what I've seen.So, in my opinion Superintendent Carter is doing a good job under challenging conditions.She has been transparent about the overall state of the district and its financial status. She has done well with providing opportunity for the community to voice their opinions about the district.and dealing with the backlash of having to make extremely tough decisions/recommendations regarding school closures.I hope the superintendent will work to find ways to help the district obtain/maintain a balanced budget
The primary purpose of teacher evaluation should be to lay out clear performance standards and provide fair, accurate feedback on performance against those standards to help teachers improve. It should also be a tool in the toolbox to determine if we in fact may have to seek new educators to replace educators who may not be as effective in the classroom as we need them to be for our students. Student outcomes should be a significant component of measuring teacher effectiveness. Overall, especially given the fiscal challenges we face, I think that our educators are doing a great job.
Having been a teacher, in my opinion teachers are not compensated at a level that is equal to what they are expected to produce.They are truly some of the unsung heroes of the community who have to do more with less. Most teachers enter into the profession knowing that they likely won’t get rich. They tend to do it because they have a passion and commitment to shaping the future, one young mind at a time. I believe our job on the board is to make sure we compensate them as adequately as we can. There are many factors that dictate school funding and the district’s ability to compensate educators.I feel that the level of teacher support and professional development can be increased.
Safety protocols should always be observed to protect our students and staff. That being said, I believe that families and community members feel welcome and respected in their schools. I also believe that if families and community members feel they are unwelcome, that it is important for them to understand that the lines of communication are always open to the teachers, administrators, Superintendent Carter and the board of education in order address any concern they may have. A misunderstanding can often be at the root of an issue, and most issues can be resolved using effective communication. Education requires a village and as a community we are in this village together for our student.
Professional Experience I am a licensed attorney and currently an Administrative Law Judge where I preside over contested hearing for the Michigan Administrative Hearings System. I was a Parole/Probation Officer for 17 years and also worked as a prison counselor. Additionally, I taught college courses at both Kellogg Community College and Glen Oaks Community College.
Political Experience This is my first time running for an elected position.
Family I am the mother of three blessed grown adults, grandmother of 2, and I’ve been married for 25 years.
I raised three kids to adulthood. I know that it takes collaboration of the parents, the public, and the pupil to assure children receive the proper guidance to be successful. I know what it looks like. I know what it sounds like. On the other hand, as an administrative law judge, I know the end result when a lack of quality education and poor decision making are the guiding force. I believe my experience as a parent, a skilled attorney, and administrative law judge afford me the requisite experience needed to make tough decisions that will propel Battle Creek Public Schools to continue to provide quality education for student success. I serve to make a difference.
My children went to BCPS early on but did not graduate from the public school. We had experiences which required us to make other decisions for our children. Part of the reason why I am running for school board is to increase the likelihood that parents, who are similarly situated, will have options within our public school system.

Although my children attended another school, they also attended the Calhoun County Career Center until they graduated.

I currently volunteer to judge high school Mock Trial competitions and “We the People” (a competition based on congressional style hearings). I want to see Battle Creek students competing for scholarships in these amazing competitions.
To provide quality education that is comparable to or exceeds that of other districts to help us keep students and teachers in our schools. To highlight teachers for the superb job they do. To keep our schools out of that hands of the state emergency manager.
I’d give her an A. I’ve researched her, her ideas, and the district since she's been superintendent. I've also had the pleasure of meeting with her to discuss the challenges and successes our schools have. She accepted a huge challenge and my research shows there's been progress. Although some challenges remain, there have been many successful programs put in place that are slowly aiding in turning the district around. There's been progress in enrollment and programs to help students reach their potential. I'd like to see her put forth greater effort highlighting teachers, support staff, and the greater strides the schools are making.
Evaluations should assess whether the goal of providing a quality education is being met. I don't believe it should be gauged solely on whether students learn or pass standardized tests. A lot can be lost between what the teacher teaches and what the student learns. The lost is not necessarily the teacher’s inability to do their job. I believe they are doing their best and that there are other ways to evaluate their performance. 1) Whether the teacher’s classroom goals are consistent with the district's goals and whether or not the teacher achieves those on an annual basis. 2) Whether lesson plans are adequate and meet standards, and 3) classroom observation and relations.
I don’t believe teachers are adequately compensated. Being the daughter and sister of an educator I know all too well that teachers work during the summer spending countless hours preparing for the school year. . They work weekends, before the bell rings and well after the children have gone home. To maintain the spirit of the school they quite often attend after school functions. It’s more of a commitment to their passion then it is a job and I don’t think we compensate nearly enough for their level of commitment. As a community I don't think we do enough to celebrate their sacrifice and successes. However, teachers I've spoken with say things are better.
Of the families I’ve spoken with over the last few years about this issue, they expressed that they do feel welcomed and respected; I would hope that they would. However, I am not a proponent of the community having access to the inside of the schools without cause. While I think our job is to educate kids I think it’s our job to protect them as well. Where there is cause each member should be respected.