B.A. Political Science, Minor in Economics
M.P.A Public Administration, Public Management-State Agency Administration (2018)
Wife: Justina Kennedy
Children: Joshua Lyman Jr. and Jillian Lyman
Michigan House of Representatives 2012-Present
I have not held a political office.
The reason I am running for school board is because of the poor treatment the teachers received during the contract negotiations. After speaking with numerous concerned parents and teachers, I felt that running for this position was necessary so that they have a voice on the board. Without the high quality teachers we have, our district would not be as great as it is. The negotiations and poor treatment caused some of our best talent to leave, and we can not afford to lose more teachers.
1. Raising the proficiency percentages in math, reading, and science (2014-2015). After reviewing the Annual Education Report I noticed that a shockingly high percentage of our 11th graders are not proficient in math (43.2%), reading (12.3%), and science (43.1%). This is unacceptable and we must do everything we can to make our students more successful.
2. Ensuring talent retention. We need to make sure there is not another contract dispute.
3. Upgrading the facilities. From what I have heard, the facilities are well maintained. However, the issues of building access, safety issues, and HVAC problems have been brought to my attention.
This is one of the more difficult questions that all districts must face when looking at budget constraints. I have only been able to review how funds are appropriated, and I have not been able to see how the funds are allocated. Without an in depth review of this I can not give an honest answer.
Considering all of our classrooms have around 31 students, I do not think this will be a concern. However, if the issue were to arise I think it would be responsible to look for other remedies.
Overall, I am not satisfied. As previously stated, an appalling percentage of our students are not proficient in math, reading, and science. The board needs to work with the teachers to determine what is needed to raise these scores.
Overall, yes. However, I have been made aware of necessary upgrades some of our facilities could use.
After speaking with teachers and parents in the district, I am not satisfied with our current Superintendent. I am sure he has done some great things in the district, but the recent contract issues is too big of an issue to ignore.
H.S. Diploma from Grand Ledge High School
B.A. in History and Political Science from Hillsdale College
Masters Degree in Education from Oakland University
Son Alex (8)
Son Ben (5)
Teacher at MacDonald Middle School in East Lansing for 11 years
I am running for the school board in hopes that the communication between the board and the community will strengthen. I want to bring back the connection the community had with the schools when I went to high school. I feel that there is a disconnect between what the board is trying to accomplish and what the community knows about. I have two young sons in the district and I want their experience to be as good as mine was. I have taught in the public schools for 11 years. I can bring an educator's perspective to the team; one that works with students everyday and someone who can counsel the board on what will have the biggest impact on student learning.
Like any district, we feel that money is tight. Being creative with how we spend money is something I would work with other board members to do. Communication with the people of Grand Ledge is lacking. We need to open up doors so that spending and purposed spending can be something that the community knows about and when appropriate, can have a forum on. Finally, working on a bond proposal that will be transparent to the community and gain support from all stake holders. This needs to be done by working together with central office to find the needs of the schools and reaching out the community to show them what those needs are.
This is not a question I can answer without knowing how big the money shortfall is and looking at the spending budget. We all know when money isn't coming in, cuts have to be made. I would never blame a board for making cuts when there is no money. This is why I feel that my background as an educator will be so important. I feel that I would be able to make cuts while making the impact on true student learning as minimal as possible.
Again, this is question that I can't answer without seeing the specific situation. In Grand Ledge we are busting at the seems in most of our schools. The district closed two elementary buildings six years ago, and since has reopened one to house our early childhood programs and preschool. If anything, I would look at reopening or expanding buildings. As of right now we have too many students to close any building.
Our district is in a time of curriculum changes, and as teachers learn and use the curriculum with fidelity, steady improvement will continue. Teachers have done an amazing job with the resources they have been given. We can always be better, and we must get better. I don't think should ever use the word "satisfied" when talking about the academic achievement of our students.
While the facilities in our district are nice at the high school, our elementary and middle school buildings are crowded. Some buildings could use renovations giving students more classroom space or new heating and cooling systems . I would always be in favor of upgrading facilities in a budget conscience way to make our school district a better place to learn. Facilities are the face of your school district and it is important to keep them looking good.
To earn a highly effective evaluation, a Superintendent should have a clear vision for the future, be able to align all stakeholders to that vision, and show evidence of progress toward that vision. (Stakeholders include students, parents, teachers, administration, district employees and community members) Some of these things are pointed in the right way. However, we have had two failed bonds and teacher contract issues. It is my hope as a member of the Grand Ledge School Board we can change these issues so all stakeholders share the same vision.
I was born and raised in Chicago but have lived in Grand Ledge over 20 years.
Bachelor of Science in Finance from DePaul University in Chicago.
I have been married for 26 years to Mark Mulvenna and we have a son who graduated from Grand Ledge Public.Schools.
I have extensive experience in finance, banking, commercial real estate and tax sheltered investments while employed as a Mortgage Banker in Chicago. I have served on the Grand Ledge Parks and Recreation Commission, founding member of the Grand Ledge Education and Foundation. While my son was in school I was an active parent volunteer and a member of the PTA.
Board members are non-partisan positions. I am not required to run as a Democrat or Republican. My job is to be an advocate for the needs of Grand Ledge Public schools and public schools in general. With that said, I have participated in a variety of rallies at the Capital, letters to my representatives, and always advocating on good policies that effect our district.
I am running for the Grand Ledge school Board for another term because I have a passion for providing the best possible education for all our students. My passion developed long before my child entered the education system. It has evolved ovr my lifetime.
My experience in Finance has helped me understand the complexity of school funding and have guided me through the past 10 years of budget shortfalls because State funding has not kept pace with inflation. Also, my tenure on the Board gives me a rich history of experiences
The three biggest issues are our math and reading scores, our aging infrastucture and the need for more technology. Math and reading are being addressed as a result of our most recent Strategic Plan conducted in June, 2016 as well as the Eaton RESSA 2016 Strategic plan which targeted Fidelity of curriculum/instruction and a focus on K-3 reading and math. We will need to pay particular attention to the data and adjust strategies as necessary. As for the technology and infrastructure, we will need to pass a bond because State funding is not enough to cover those high expenses.
My top priority is the math and reading performance along with the overall delivery of the curriculum.
Our Board doesnt address budget cuts by sacrificing programs or services. If budget cuts become necessary, our approach is to look at any and all efficiencies that could be gained throughout the district, and reallocate resources when possible. We always make students our priority. We have utilized a number of energy efficiencies and reduced administrative staff through attrition. The one thing everyone in education can agree with: Everyone has been asked to do more with less for the sake of our children.
I don't see the need to close any more buildings in our future. In fact, our student population is growing again. Neff kindergarten Center had the largest enrollment ever this year. Also, based on the success of converting Holbrook Elementary into an early childhood/preschool, the district has recently purchased the Delta Mills building in order to add another early childhood/preschool to service families on the West side of our district. When I drive down Willow and St. Joe Highways, I see numerous housing developments underway. Those developments reside in our district. I don't foresee the need to close any buildings. If anything, we will need to add more classrooms space.
I am not satisfied. Over the last 10 years Michigan has sunk to the bottom 10 states for elementary reading proficiency. As I already mentioned, our math and reading scores need to be addressed and I believe we are already heading in that direction. The most recent data says on average, it costs $10,615 annually to educate a child in the public school system. In the 2015-16 School year, Grand Ledge Public Schools received a foundation allowance of $7,391 per child. If we were to receive $10,615, that would increase our funding from the state by $16,671,304 annually. We could do a lot lot to improve academic achievement for our kids!
I have served on the Board Bond /Sinking fund Advisory Committee for many years. Despite the best efforts of our outstanding Operations team, the needs continue to grow and the Sinking Fund (Capital Improvemnt) funds are limited. So we are always prioritizing what must be done now and what must wait.
In addition, we have not made major renovations to our athletic facilities since the 1994 bond was passed. Thankfully, I live in a great community where booster groups and community members do a great job of fundraising to get necessary projects done as evidenced by the new Dream Depot 2.0 playground that was erected this month!
Definitely! Being a Superintendent requires a lot of stamina and is a 24/7 job. I have received calls from Dr. Metcalf at all hours of the day when there is an issue in the district or with the safety of a student. He is a tireless advocate for our students, staff and our district. He is also a visionary. He expects continuous improvement for himself as well as everyone in our district. He always raises the bar.