ELi Asks: What do you believe qualifies you to run for election to ELSB?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 11:26 pm
By: 
Rebecca J. McAndrews

In an effort to provide the community of East Lansing a closer look at candidates running for School Board in the upcoming November 4 elections, ELi gave every candidate the opportunity to answer a list of questions regarding their goals and ideas for improving education in East Lansing. Candidates were provided a 200-word limit per question and ELi’s publisher selected the order in which their answers appear through a random drawing of names.

The answers to ELi’s first question, regarding why candidates are running, can be found HERE.

A total of eight candidates will vie for four seats on the East Lansing School Board, each with a four-year term attached.  While every candidate was provided the opportunity to participate, Jeffrey C. Wray did not respond to ELi’s invitation. 

What do you believe qualifies you to run for election to ELSB?

Response from Kyle Guerrant:

For over 13 years, I have worked in education at the school, community-based, and state levels.  Currently, as Deputy Superintendent at the Michigan Department of Education, I have significant statewide experience working on a wide range of educational issues ranging from school finance, student health & safety, to curriculum development, school reform, and closing the achievement gap. Everyday I have the opportunity to work with a diverse group of school districts across the state on the same educational challenges facing ELPS. I am committed to moving the district and community forward, continuing the districts rich history of successfully preparing students to be college and career ready. And if elected, I would bring a unique blend of knowledge, skills, and experience to the ELPS board to accomplish those goals in partnership with district staff and community members.

Response from Nell Kuhnmuench:

My qualifications include service on the East Lansing School Board for the past five years, as well as Chair of the Finance Committee and the Intergovernmental Committee, and serving on the Personnel and Policy Committees.

As a member of the East Lansing community for more than 35 years and a successful business owner, I possess management and financial skills plus an understanding of how to listen, deliberate and make decisions based on critical analysis and community consideration.  I am committed to ensuring the district continues its tradition of educational excellence and inclusiveness while carefully monitoring the finances and decisions being made with tax dollars.

My husband, Roy Saper, and I have raised two sons who attended East Lansing schools for 12 years each – Adam Saper (2004) and Jay Saper (2009).

I have made tough decisions as budgets declined in the past five years due to the loss of state and federal funding that once supported our classrooms and teachers.

I have worked tirelessly on efforts to make Board processes more open to the public and more respectful of our community.  I will continue to work to bring our community back together to support all of our students.

Response from Kate Powers:

As a resident of East Lansing for the last 20 years, and the parent of a third generation East Lansing student, I demonstrate a commitment to the district. Additionally, I have nearly 20 years of experience in the nonprofit  arena, both professionally and as a volunteer. I am a parent council officer, an officer of the East Lansing Educational Foundation and a past president of the Junior League of Lansing.

Response from Yasmina Bouraoui:

I raised five children who graduated from East Lansing High School. I believe that the school board should have representatives who have experienced the entire K-12 school experience, including the complexities and challenges of middle school and high school.   I have been an active contributor to East Lansing Public Schools serving on the ELA Parent Liaison Group, the Black Parent Union, and the Achievement Gap Task Force.

I am a founding member and current board member of the Global Institute of Lansing, a high school completion program serving refugee youth. I bring my passion related to meeting the needs of and having high expectations for a continuum of students, including advanced, at-risk, English Language Learners, and special education students.

I joined the Michigan Department of Community Health in 1994, where I currently serve as Deputy Director of the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council. I bring strong management, budget, and administrative leadership experience including skills in policy development and interpretation; grants, contract, and budget management; and strategic planning. 

I hold a BA in Social Sciences from MSU, and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where I am currently a doctoral candidate in Public Health Policy.

Response from Karen Hoene:

I am a product of the East Lansing School District and have raised three children here, and I am deeply committed to and imbedded in this community.   As a member of the K-8 Facilities Committee, I gained an in depth knowledge of the structural assets and needs of our district. As an Early Interventionist with the Early On Program, I have years of experience working with vulnerable children, families and communities and am well aware of the important partnership between families and schools, for children with special needs as well as for typically developing children.   I hold a BA from the University of Michigan and an MS from MSU in Community Services.   I have served on the Red Cedar Community Association Board since 2012 as well as serving on a variety of civic committees over the years.   My professional experience working in the field of early childhood at the Ingham Intermediate School District combined with my education and committee work make me an ideal candidate for the East Lansing Board of Education.

Response from Joe Borgstrom:

First and foremost, I am a proud parent of two kids currently in East Lansing schools. I think it is critical that a majority of the board be made up of parents with kids currently in the district. It is the ultimate in accountability when you not only have to explain to the community your decisions and how it impacts them, but to your children when your decisions directly affect them, their friends and teachers as well. As for my specific skill set, I have a long professional and personal history of both serving on, reporting to, and developing boards. In addition, I have a strong background in real estate finance and community and economic development. This background can serve as a valuable resource to the board as it looks to improve its communication and evaluates its options in regards to facilities, which will both be pressing needs in the big financial picture moving forward.

Response from David Gott:

- Happily Married to my wife Kate of 19 years

- Parent of two ELPS students (6th and 5th Grade)

- Educator for over 17 years and Haslett Teacher for 12 years.

- Experienced Administrator (Program within a Program) approximately 300 students and families

- Been a leader with Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association

- Member of the American School Band Directors Association

- Served on E-Board at District Level and a member of the State Wide Music Education Committee

- Been an active member and officer of the Haslett Education Association

- Served as an Association Representative, member of theNegotiating Team, and Co-Vice President

- Assisted in delivering and designing Professional Development at both the State-Wide Michigan Music Conference and within the Haslett Public Schools

- Served as a part of the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment (MAIEA) Project for Music Education

- I am a good communicator.

- I am a good listener and can take the information presented, process it, and follow up in my communications and decisions.

- I am a highly effective teacher that has participated in multiple educational initiatives through the ISD, State Association, and more. I help others to implement these initiatives.

Disclosure: Rebecca J. McAndrews has two children who attend East Lansing Public Schools and is a substitute teacher for the district.

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