Genphoto_board of education

 Local school board elections are held biennially on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even years. Intermediate school board elections generally are held on the first Monday in June, every other year.

 On Tuesday, Nov. 3, voters in the tri-county area will vote on expiring school board seats. Term expirations are staggered in order not to have an entirely new board at every election.

 American education is primarily a function of the states. According to the Michigan Association of School Boards, in Michigan, the Constitution directs the Legislature to “maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools.” By law, the state is divided into approximately 545 local school districts, each governed by a school board. 

 Under state law, school board members are state officers who carry out the state’s educational obligations at the local level. Every school board member must take an oath of office promising to uphold all laws.

What are some of the powers and duties of a local school board?

• Educate students

• Provide for the safety and welfare of students

• Acquire and dispose of school property

• Determine matters relating to school employees and contractors

• Control the expenditure and receipt of school funds

• Make joint agreements and cooperative arrangements

Who is eligible to serve as a school board member?

 Any person registered as a voter in the school district may run for election to the school board. Men and women who become school board members may be taxpayers, parents, business people and community leaders. They may be young or senior citizens and come from all races, creeds and ethnic groups. In short, school board members are people representative of the community they serve.

 A candidate must be a registered voter, at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, have been a resident of Michigan for 30 days and a resident in the school district for at least 30 days prior to the election.

 To become a candidate, an Affidavit of Identity and Receipt of Filing must be submitted to the local clerk, with either $100 filing fee or a completed nominating petition. Visit for details.

 The following is a breakdown of our four local school districts.


Current board members

Keith Reynolds, president

Kimberly Gruber, vice president

Dana Jones, secretary

Pamela Dickie, treasurer 

Lynn Hopper, trustee

Scott Pushman, trustee 

Emily Rossmaessler, trustee


Two 6-year terms

One partial term ending Dec. 31, 2020

• Hopper’s term expires Dec. 31, 2020

• Pushman’s term expires Dec. 31, 2020

• Rossmaessler’s term expires 2022, but since she was appointed in March 2019 to fill an empty seat, she would need to be a candidate in November to finish the term.


Current board members

Chris Fletcher, president

Larry Godlewski, vice president

Heidi Howieson, secretary

Bob Hutchins, treasurer

Katherine Carswell, trustee

Mike Cicalo, trustee

Michelle Curtin, trustee


Two 6-year terms

• Fletcher’s term expires Dec. 31, 2020

• Cicalo’s term expires Dec. 31, 2020


Current school board

Scott Maker, president

Shari Luck, vice president

Michael Murphy, treasurer

Michelle Shayna, secretary

Steven Losey, trustee

Steve Murphy, trustee

Jason Rowden, trustee


Three 6-year terms

• Michael Murphy’s term expires Dec. 31, 2020

• Luck’s term expires Dec. 31, 2020

• Rowden’s term expires Dec. 31, 2020


Current school board

Michael Newcomb, president

Robin Carne, vice president

Linda Blair, secretary

Peter Deahl, treasurer

Amanda Wowra, trustee

Leigh Jackson, trustee

Teri Weisdorfer, trustee


Four 4-year terms

• Blair’s term expires Dec. 31, 2020

• Deahl’s term expires Dec. 31, 2020

• Wowra’s term expires Dec. 31, 2020

• Jackson’s term expires Dec. 31, 2020

Indicators of effective boards and board members

 Ethics are essential to the successful operation of the educational system. MASB has developed indicators of effective boards and board members that encompass the most important responsibilities of a board of education. Ethics are intended to ensure that the conduct of a school board holds the respect and confidence of the community, staff, students and all constituents. It’s the belief of MASB that high ethical standards translate into a focus on student achievement, culture and conduct at board meetings and consistent accountability.

Focus on Student Achievement

Board members:

• Ensure the district has a comprehensive, performance-based plan for improving student achievement.

• Advocate for and support a strategic plan.

• Set the agenda, seek information and ask questions consistent with the plan.

• Focus on issues that improve student achievement.


Board members:

• Are informed about the issues before the board.

• Play an active role in committee meetings and work sessions.

• Seek information and ways the board and community can be better informed about the district’s progress through an objective analysis of data.

• Base decisions, comments and questions on objective data.

• Visit schools and other community events, in accordance with district policy, to hear from stakeholders and to help shape a positive public opinion about the district.

Culture and conduct at board meetings

Board members:

• Value differences of opinion and don’t let differences degenerate into personality conflicts.

• Focus the board agenda and meeting on issues related to improving student achievement.

• Publicly support the superintendent and staff.

• Seek to build consensus and an environment of trust and respect among their fellow board members.


Board members:

• Ensure that familial or business relationships or special interest group affiliations don’t contribute to a bias in decisions.

• Ensure that solicited or received money, services, or other items of value from vendors or special interest groups don’t influence decisions or public perceptions.

• Ensure that commitments and directives are in the best interest of the entire board and district and not the individual board member.

• Create an environment that discourages micromanagement or undermining of the superintendent.


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