School Board Recognition Month 2018

January 29, 2018

 

As citizen leaders, individual school board members face complex and demanding challenges. They are alternately described as having the most important volunteer jobs in the country and facing the toughest challenge in elected American government. Yet school board members are just ordinary citizens with extraordinary dedication to our nation’s public schools. All Michigan citizens should recognize the vital contributions of these men and women and the crucial role they play in the education of our children.

 

Public education is the backbone of American society, and local school boards are deeply rooted in U.S. tradition. It’s the foundation on which our democracy was built. Today local school boards continue to do the most important work of their communities—that of educating our youth.

 

Their job is to establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, ensure schools are accountable to the community and strongly advocate for continuous improvement in student learning. The job of a school board member is tough, the hours long and the thanks few and far between. Too often we’re quick to criticize school board members without really understanding the complex nature of their decisions. Now’s the time to thank them for their untiring efforts.

 

School board members come from a variety of backgrounds, yet they share a common goal—helping students achieve in school and life. As a state, Michigan has faced many challenges, but one key to a brighter future is a strong public education system.

 

We often forget about the personal sacrifices school board members make. Board members contribute hundreds and hundreds of hours each year leading their districts. The time spent in board meetings represents just a small fraction of the hours school board members spend leading their districts. They continually advocate for the children of our state.

 

The month of January marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month. This is a time to show our appreciation and begin to better understand how local trustees work together to prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders. In January, join with others from throughout our district and state to salute the men and women who provide grassroots governance of public schools.

 

Our local Portland Public Schools Board of Education oversees a $19.5 million annual budget, 2,060 students, 200 employees, five school buildings and one bus garage. 

 

At the January 8th board meeting, Superintendent Will Heath said, “I speak for the whole district staff when I thank you for your service and support.  I feel that Portland Public Schools has a great team and the School Board is a critical part of that team.  Your countless hours of personal time are not wasted and you should be proud of your service on our School Board.”

 

As part of School Board Recognition Month, The Portland Beacon would like to help readers get to know a little bit more about our local school board members.   Below you will find some information about each member. 

 

 

 

Name: 

     Patrick Blake

 

Email:   

     pblake@portlandk12.org

 

Occupation:

     General Manager, Maxima Supply

 

Education:

     Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University

     Master of Management from Aquinas College

 

How many years have you served on the board?

     10-11 years.

 

Why do you feel that serving on the board of education is important to our community?

     “Serving on the board is important because we need to do what is best for our students and also balance the budget and help support our faculty.”

 

What do you see as the greatest strength(s) of our district in 2018?

     “Our greatest strength at Portland Public Schools is definitely the people involved (all students, faculty and parents). We have nice facilities and we can offer many opportunities to help all students.”

 

What do you see as the greatest challenge(s) to our district in 2018?

     “The greatest challenge we have at Portland Public Schools is the constantly changing financial constraints from the government.”

 

Is there any other comment you would like to share with The Portland Beacon readers regarding your role on the Board?

     “Portland has been blessed to have long term Superintendents and since the days of Jock Clarey, we’ve had a supportive community which has allowed us many advantages at Portland Public Schools.”

 

 

 

Name: 

     Linda Hoxie-Green

 

Email:   

     lhoxiegreen@sbcglobal.net

 

Occupation:

     Retired Educator

 

Education:

     BS in Elementary Education from Central Michigan University 1975

     MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Michigan State University

     Ed. Specialist in Educational Leadership from Michigan State University

 

How many years have you served on the board?

     7 years.

 

Why do you feel that serving on the board of education is important to our community?

     “As a teacher in the Portland district for 32 years, it offered a way to stay involved in education.  I wanted to be involved in my community and it seemed the best way to accomplish that goal.  My time in the classroom along with my experience as a superintendent in Palo helps me be a well-rounded member of the Board.”

 

What do you see as the greatest strength(s) of our district in 2018?

     “The greatest strength we have any year, not just 2018, is our staff and administration. Their dedication to our students and families of the Portland community is unsurpassed by anyone.  The goal is to continue to grow and improve; to look to the future to ensure our students are prepared. Our job as Board member, with the guidance of the Superintendent, Mr. Heath, is to be able to achieve these goals in a fiscally responsible manner.  The district continues to look for ways to meet the needs of all students in the Portland community.”

 

What do you see as the greatest challenge(s) to our district in 2018?

     “Like all schools, it is funding and meeting the demands coming from Lansing and Washington.  It is frustrating when demands are being added to an already full plate, however, nothing is ever removed.  I am thankful of all the employees in the district as they continue to work to meet those demands.”

               

Is there any other comment you would like to share with The Portland Beacon readers regarding your role on the Board?

     “I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Portland community for its continued support of our district.  We have an amazing community.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Board.”

 

 

 

Name: 

     Brian Pohl

 

Email:   

     bpohl@portlandk12.org

 

Occupation:

     Teacher at Pewamo-Westphalia High School

 

Education:

     BS in Chemistry

     BA in Education

     MS in Physical Science 

     (All from Michigan State)

 

How many years have you served on the board?

     10 years.

 

Why do you feel that serving on the board of education is important to our community?

     “Being on the Board of Education is important to the community for many reasons.  You have the opportunity to be a voice for the community in our schools.  You get informed of what is happening in the district and the state so that we can pass that knowledge on to the community.  Most importantly, you get the chance to have an impact on the schools through policy and vision formation.”

 

What do you see as the greatest strength(s) of our district in 2018?

     “Portland is a fantastic district with students, parents, and staff that are truly inspiring to me.  I have family in four of our buildings and I get to see this in action at all of these levels.  What I am most hopeful for though is our drive to get better.  In academics, athletics and arts I am excited for what I see.  No matter how good a district is the desire to get better is what takes all of us to the next level.  I can honestly say that I am excited for where this district is headed.”

 

What do you see as the greatest challenge(s) to our district in 2018?

     “Uncertainty from the outside is our greatest challenge.  I am confident in our vision and that it will lead to us getting even better.  Funding, requirements, policy, and standards can be changed on short notice from Lansing.  Portland has had good leadership for many years so I feel we are well positioned to deal with any changes that come our way.”

 

Is there any other comment you would like to share with The Portland Beacon readers regarding your role on the Board?

     “I am thankful for the trust that Portland voters have placed in us and their constant support for our students.  Please feel free to contact with any questions or concerns.”

 

 

 

Name: 

     Patrick M. Duff

 

Email:   

     attyduff@yahoo.com

 

Occupation:

     Lawyer

 

Education:

     B.A. University of Michigan-1974

     M.P.A. Western Michigan University-1978

     J.D. Thomas Cooley Law School-1982

 

How many years have you served on the board?

     6.5 years (August 2011).

 

Why do you feel that serving on the board of education is important to our community?

     “As a school board member, we represent the public's voice in public education and we set the standard of achievement in the school district.”

 

What do you see as the greatest strength(s) of our district in 2018?

     “We have a collective group committed to a safe and appropriate education for our students.”

 

What do you see as the greatest challenge(s) to our district in 2018?

     “Meeting the changing needs of our students with a finite fund of resources.”

 

Is there any other comment you would like to share with The Portland Beacon readers regarding your role on the Board?

     “Education is my background. As a former teacher and coach, I am, along with our board, committed to an excellent education for our students.”

 

 

 

Name: 

     Kathy Foote

 

Email:   

     kfoote@portlandk12.org

 

Occupation:

     Assistive Technology Coordinator & Physical Impaired Otherwise Health Impaired Supervisor at the Ionia Intermediate School District.

 

Education:

     Northwood University:  Bachelor of Science, Management

     East Carolina University: Certification in Assistive Technology

 

How many years have you served on the board?

     1.5 years.

 

Why do you feel that serving on the board of education is important to our community?

     “Serving as a member of a school board necessitates one uses analytical judgments regarding accepting and/or approving an educational budget that impacts school staffing, improving facilities, professional development, school construction, providing supplies and resources and above all drives a focus on academic achievement. There is a need for well-rounded decisions as it relates to assembling, deciphering and applying policies that should be in the best interest of students. Decisions made while serving as a member of the school board ultimately makes a difference for future generations for learners in the Portland Public School District.”

 

What do you see as the greatest strength(s) of our district in 2018?

     Financial Stability

     High Quality Teachers

     Parent & Community Support

     High expectations of student achievement

     Student support for IEP/Diverse student population     

 

What do you see as the greatest challenge(s) to our district in 2018?

     Continue to retain high quality teachers

     Meeting the academic and social needs of all students that attend PPS

     Work to maintain school building safety and security

     Maintain financial stability

 

Is there any other comment you would like to share with The Portland Beacon readers regarding your role on the Board?

     “I want to thank all Portland Public School staff for all the hard work that they continue to do to ensure success for all students and thank you to the Portland community for your partnership with the schools.”

 

 

 

Name: 

     Jami Schneider

 

Email:   

     119bridgedentalpc@gmail.com

 

Occupation:

     Dentist

 

Education:

     Three years of undergraduate study (1988-1991) at Michigan State University 

     Early Acceptance into dental school at the University of Michigan (1991-1995) finishing with a Doctorate of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree in 1995

 

 

How many years have you served on the board?

     Since July 2013.

 

Why do you feel that serving on the board of education is important to our community?

     “Serving on the Board of Education is important to me because I feel that, as a community member and business owner, I need to help to ensure that our students are getting a great education, as I did when I attended Portland Public Schools.”

 

What do you see as the greatest strength(s) of our district in 2018?

     “Excellent, devoted teachers and administrators, as well as a superintendent that is willing to communicate openly and to make any changes necessary to better our school system.”

 

What do you see as the greatest challenge(s) to our district in 2018?

     “The lack of support for Public Education as a whole.”

 

Is there any other comment you would like to share with The Portland Beacon readers regarding your role on the Board?

     “Lastly, I feel very privileged to be a part of the Board of Education and the Portland community which I have lived in for most of my life. I feel that I, as well as my children, Cole (college sophomore) and Sydney (high school senior) have received an excellent education in Portland Public Schools!”

 

 

 

Name: 

     Beth Goodman

 

Email:   

     bgoodman@portlandk12.org

 

Occupation:

     Insurance Management

 

Education:

     Graduate of Portland High School 1988

     Bachelor of Arts Michigan State

     Master of Business Administration University of Phoenix

 

How many years have you served on the board?

     3 years.

 

Why do you feel that serving on the board of education is important to our community?

     “I am passionate about children, education, community and continuous improvement.  Serving on the school board allows me to serve to my community in a way that incorporates all that is important to me.  I appreciate all that our educators do for our children and this position allows me to support and serve them.”

 

What do you see as the greatest strength(s) of our district in 2018?

     “The greatest strength of our district is the strong sense of community and the willingness to help each other, give back, and make this a great place to live and raise our families. Our families want to move our schools forward and make sure our students are prepared for great futures.”

 

What do you see as the greatest challenge(s) to our district in 2018?

     “School funding is a challenge we face along with other public schools in Michigan. Attracting and holding top talent, technology, supporting student’s needs, keeping pace with the changing world with curriculum, and maintaining and upgrading our facilities are just some of the important elements that we face that require funds.”

 

Is there any other comment you would like to share with The Portland Beacon readers regarding your role on the Board?

     “I would like to thank the community for allowing me the opportunity to serve them with the education of our children.”

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