BOE Member Search 2018

BOE Member Search 2018


– Well, I think it’s
good if we could go ahead and get started. Okay, downstairs we have, oh we are on, they were ready. Okay, good evening and welcome to the Wednesday, March 28th
Special Meeting of the Novi Board of Education. If you would do a roll call vote for me, Mr. Mena, I would appreciate it. – Trustee Cook
– Here. – Trustee Hood is absent. Trustee Mena is here. Trustee Murphy.
– Here. – Trustee O’Connor.
– Here. – Trustee Stevenson.
– Here. – All right, if you would please join me in the Pledge of Allegiance. – [All] I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. – And we do thank you gentlemen for being here this evening. I just wanna read a quick statement as we begin to fill the position for Mrs. Glubzinski’s board vacancy. The board is committed to maintaining a fair process for each interviewee. As such, if you are an applicant and you are present this evening as an observer, we would request that you respect the
board’s desire for fairness and absent yourself once
the interviews begin. If you are a friend or family member of an applicant, we would request that you refrain from recording or noting the questions
asked of our applicants. It is the board’s desire to see that each applicant is
given the same opportunity. Providing future applicants
with the questions would certainly compromise that and would not be viewed
favorably by this board. Thank you very much. And we would ask Mrs.
Holly, if you would bring our first. Oh, first I need an
approval of the Agenda. – So moved. – Support. – It’s been moved by Mrs. Stevenson, supported by Mr. Cook. All in favor, please say aye. – [All] Aye. – Opposed? Motion carries, five to zero. Our first candidate this evening is Mr. George Kortlandt. – [George] Hello guys. – Hi, how are you. – May I sit here? – Please do, that would be for you. – May I keep my coffee? – Certainly. I’ll just go over really quickly. You’re familiar with the
way we handle the questions, but I will go over it just so that those that might be watching later understand. I’ll read the first question, it’s the same set of questions for each candidate. And then, Mr. O’Connor, I’m gonna ask you to start with question number two. Mrs. Stevenson you’ll do
question number three, and then Mr. Mena and Mr Cook, and then we’ll go back. I will ask the very final
question of the evening. So we will go ahead and
get started this evening. If you would tell us a
little bit about yourself, your family and your history in the Novi Community School District. – Well, my wife Patricia
and I have lived in Novi since 1982. We have three children, and those are Heather, Craig and Scott. They all started at
Village Oaks Elementary in Kindergarten and all graduated from Novi High School
in ’97, ’99 and 2002. Let’s see, in that length of time we have been members of
the Faith Community Church just down the road a little bit, and we have sort of matriculated through all the buildings in the process. – [Bobbie] Just real quickly, because we have 20 minutes, we’re kinda looking at about a minute
and a half per question. So that should be,
– Per answer? – [Bobbie] Yes, per answer, per answer. – Okay, all right, good one. – [Man] And we started
late, so you should be good. – [Bobbie] Yeah, you should be fine. Mr. Mena, I would, excuse me, Mr. O’Connor would you like to ask question number two? – [Dennis] Question number two. What skills and/or experience do you offer as a prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – It may be a bit obvious. I have served on the Board of Education for almost 22 years, and at that time I have served as board president for at least four terms, vice president about an equivalent number. Treasurer about five years, five terms, and also as secretary. I’ve been involved with the community somewhat intimately in being part of the Athletic
Boosters, the Band Boosters, the Robotics Boosters,
the different groups. I attend probably 250 to 300
events a year on average. And that is continued even the term that I have not been on the school board. – [Tracey] Question number three. Are you a advocate for public education, and explain why. – Indeed I am. I have advocated for public education since coming on the school board. And I’ve realized that public education needs to have a lot of support from others as well as those of us
who sit on the board, those of us who are members of education as teachers, administrators and staff. I have worked with the
state representatives and state senators that represent us to try and get our point across. Not always as successful as I would like to have been, but they have
heard our issues there. I’ve also worked for the different parts of our district in that I represented all of the students in the district. I have personally sued
the State of Michigan on two occasions on behalf of the district for our Special Education students. The first suit was
successful and we gained the monies back that the state should be paying districts in that area. The second one was sort of a draw, we’ll call it. I have worked for the advancement of our accelerated
students in the community in things like the AP courses to make sure we keep those and enhance those. And also was a part of this team, like a number of you, in bringing about the Baccalaureate Program there. The big area of concern that I have is the lack of attention, I feel, that we are presenting to the students who are the underachievers
in our district. I have yet to see us really make an impact in that area with the students, and we could talk about different groups that show up in our data, the achievement gaps,
we’ll refer to them as, where we haven’t made a significant change in that in quite some time. I’d like to see that improve. – [Man] Just save it in
the (speaking faintly). Thank you. – [Bobbie] Question number four. – [Willy] Mr. Kortlandt, what is the role of a board member and what would you consider micromanagement
as it pertains to this role? – Well the role of a board
member is that of the title. You are all elected as trustees. Therefore you’re also
equal in the state’s eyes as far as your function. Trustee, just to simplify it, if you think of a person who has a trust, normally you do that with your assets to protect them in some manner for the future generations. But the trustee is the
one who owns the assets on behalf of those stated in the trust. Well you as board members,
trustee is of the district, own the district on behalf of the public, and therefore you are charged with taking care of those things that the district has. Those would be the physical assets, such as I know you had recent discussion about Bosco Property. The fiduciary responsibility of a budget to make sure that you
have a balanced budget and that your budget
is spent appropriately to accomplish the ultimate task of taking care of the
education of the students in your community. The prime function of
education of students in a community is to prepare them for the next step in their life, whatever that might be. Whether it be going on to
a four year university, a two year community college, a skilled trade center, the military or going to work. You’re to prepare them for that. – [Bobbie] All right, Mr. Cook. – [Paul] Mr. Kortlandt,
what are the strengths of the Novi Community Schools? – The number one strength
of the Novi Community School District is the
families of this district. I’ve told people over the years that the success that Novi has, while people would wanna
compliment the board as a group for this success, the success is really because
the families are here. Families that bring us
talented children, yes, but families that care about education, are willing to invest their dollars. You can just look at
all the bond proposals that have sailed through
in this community. The people are willing to spend the money on the education of their students. They’re not permitted in all areas to do that as you well know, but that is the, I believe the, I’m sorry you were asking
about the function? – [Paul] The strengths. – The strengths, right. So the families themselves. Now, next to that, those families demand that we provide our students with excellent facilities
which we certainly have, an excellent staff,
which we certainly have and excellent administration
which we have. So from the families flows everything else that we have here. – [Bobbie] All right, Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] All right, let me give you a hypothetical situation here that we want you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher’s bein’ unfair to his or her child. How would you as a board member respond to the parent? – Well, as board members,
we’d wanna listen to the parent of course,
that’s an obvious point. But the action that we should recommend to the parent is to deal with the people in the proper flow of our, let’s call it a chain of command. They should first go to the person who is in charge of that area. Now if it’s a teacher,
then we’re talking about a principal in that school, so they should be going to the principal. Perhaps there’d be an assistant principal in a couple of the buildings in district, as we have. But after that, then recommend, if they don’t receive satisfaction, then they would move to the next step. And beyond principal
we would be coming then to the assistant
superintendent of curriculum. Beyond that, the superintendent. Now I think it’s spelled out still in the board, I’m not sure, maybe the website would be the best place to look, but the chain of command is shown there, the process that they would go through in that. I failed to mention, micromanaging, when the question was
asked about that I believe, and let me just way that, on micromanagin’, the way
I define micromanaging is going into the minutiae of the business and getting yourself involved in something that’s normally another person’s decision. The people have been assigned, we hire a CEO of sorts
called a superintendent to run the district. That person finds the staff
to run all the other facets, and expects them to do their job as we expect the
superintendent to do the job. In micromanaging, there have been, to use a business comparison, there have been CEOs of
major auto businesses such as Alan Mulally, Mary Barra, and you could go back to Lee Iacocca. Those three people are not people that need to be micromanaged
because they’re pros. They know their business, they do their job correctly, and you can see the
success that comes from it. But you could look at
some of those corporations that they represented and see points when they had CEOs, or in our case, superintendents, who didn’t do the job evidently successfully in certain facets. – [Man] Time. – Then the Board of
Education, or in their case, their trustees would need to direct the CEO as to what to do. So micromanaging is something you wanna try and avoid as much as possible. But, you can see for safety reasons, for many other reasons,
fiduciary responsibility, you’d have to intercede if
something were going wrong. Thank you. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number seven. What is more important to you and why? Board member accountability to each other at this table, or board members holding our superintendent accountable for district performance. – Well district performance
has to be defined, I believe, as the student achievement. And of course then the financial part too, you have to be accountable for that. So if I’m talking about
student achievement, if I see a problem there, I would wanna be dealing with that. Now if another board member doesn’t want to be dealing with that, that’s a different issue. We can have a conversation. But my primary focus is going to be on our students achieving what’s necessary to be successful at the next step. It is always preferred to be harmonious in the relationship with your colleagues. I think you would never wanna do anything purposefully that is
disruptive to the group because that’s going to
impact the board’s action and it’s going to impact
the district then, and student achievement. So that’s to be avoided. – [Bobbie] All right. Mr. Mena. – [Willy] We’re at number eight? Okay, describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How’d you handle this situation and what was the resolution? – I’m trying not to make this personal, since I assume this can be public somehow. Give me a statement of
that question again pleas. – [Willy] So describe a situation where you were to hold
somebody accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – Previous superintendent,
I think I can go that way, had stated that they were going to analyze the financials and provide us with information and
that would take care of the balancing of the budget and what the district’s objectives were. The previous superintendent
didn’t come forward with the information in
the way that was promised. So the conversation was held privately with the superintendent
to discuss this issue and to see that we could finally get the information that was necessary to make the right decisions
on the financial matters. Is that enough detail? – [Paul] Describe a situation where you worked with a group of people and they went in a direction that you were adamantly opposed to. How did you participate
in the group discussion and the ultimate decision? – I could tell you right now, I am involved as a leader of my church, where I sit down with 11 other people at the meeting and we make decisions. And it’s interesting in this day and age, that one of the very first questions that came up at the first
meeting I was sitting at was a policy on weapons. Now there’s certain
laws that govern weapons as far as having them or not, carrying them or not
in certain facilities, and churches are certainly one of those. And it was obvious to me
upon the first conversation that the opinion was quite different of the majority than mine. So I expressed my opinion and simply said, after expressing it, whatever the decision of the group is I will
abide by and support. But this is where I
stand right now and why. So, excuse me, the decision has yet to be fully resolved there, but that’s the way I went about it. – [Bobbie] Mr. O’Connor, question 10. – [Dennis] What kind of time commitment do you believe is
involved in this position? Besides attending regularly
scheduled board meetings, how much additional time would you be willing to commit to
board tasks and functions? If you can, give us kind of
an average hour per week. – If I were recruiting
you as a board member, I would say what I said
to a previous fellow who came on board, only
two meetings a month, lying through my teeth obviously. It depends how much you really want to do the job of being a board member. You could spend just the meeting time. I sat here at the board table with a fellow board member who would only, back then we had the hard
copy of the board packet, would only open the board packet as he sat down for the meeting. That’s the time he put into it. I believe it takes a great amount of time. Not only to study the
issues and the material presented by the administration, but time, a commitment that you make to be out and among the
public and our community at our school events. This shows that our district and our board supports the efforts being put on by our students and our staff. And I think there’s a
great bit of appreciation that’s gained for the board by doing that type of thing. So you can almost make
this a full time job if you’re so inclined. As I said, I still average
about 250 to 300 events, I just came from the baseball game, spent a couple hours there. And it could be quite a bit of time, yes. – [Tracey] Number 11. As a board member, you may
be asked to make decision where you must put aside what’s best for you, your family, your friends and your school to do what’s best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – It means a lot because in the past almost 22 years that I
was a school board member, I sacrificed large amounts of money from my business to be able to do this. I knew that as a school board member, I could not involve
myself with my business and the staff here. That could have been a
lucrative part of the business with the contacts that I had, but I completely avoided that. – [Bobbie] All right. And is there any other information about your candidacy that you’d like us to consider that’s not already been shared with us during this interview? – Sure this is a question I doubt that you would ask anybody else. But the question would be,
George, you just retired about, what is it, 13, 14 months ago. Why do you wanna come back
as a school board member? Well, in those 13, 14 months I found, number one, as I mentioned a couple times, I still get out to all the events that I used to before, maybe even a little bit more. Number two, I still talk with as many administrators,
staff members, parents, community members
about school issues they have concerns
about and problems with. And three, I still have the passion to be involved with this district. I have said before that
I love this district, and that sounds peculiar to some people, but I truly do. I can’t tell you that it’s one person that makes me love this district. I rather think it’s the entire picture of this district. The families here, the staff here, the administration here, and the way the board goes about it. I’ve been privileged to work with, I think it’s approximately 20, 21 different board members, and I can’t say that there’s a one of the board members that didn’t have the best
interest of the children in their heart. We may have differed on how to accomplish the best thing for the children, but I think they all
worked in that manner. – [Bobbie] Are there any questions the board members would like to ask to clarify some of Mr.
Kortlandt’s responses? Are we comfortable with the responses at this point? – [Man] At this point yes. – [Bobbie] Okay, terrific. Well we thank you for coming to be here and applying for the position. – You’re welcome. – [Bobbie] And we will allow you to. – Thank you very much,
appreciate you guys doing this. – [Bobbie] If you’d let Mrs. Holly know that we’re ready for the next candidate, that would be terrific, thank you. – It’s so hard to concentrate. – I know, I don’t know,
do you have to keep track of it in the minutes? – Okay. – I think that I’ll tell
them at the beginning if they’d like to keep track. – I don’t think, personally,
if they read over our warning, they do make up a lot,
overall the 20 minutes is more important. – I think so too. As long as we can get to ’em, it’s just in parameters. ‘Cause I think you’re right. I’d rather have you focus on them. – Overall the goal of
keeping it to 20 minutes is more important than
the individual questions. – Yeah, I would agree. I’m just getting used to the framework, that it would be
approximately two minutes. So I apologize for not doing it. – A minute and a half you said. – Yeah, okay. – [Woman] Ms. Murphy? – Yes. – [Woman] Are you ready? – Yes we are, thank you. Should I remove George’s. Hi, how are you this evening. – [Sreenivas] Good thanks. – I’m Bobbie Murphy, and we are the Novi Board of Education. You can see that we have our names here. Would you like to
pronounce your name for us? – [Sreenivas] Srini for short. – Srini. – [Sreenivas] I have a feeling there’s a lot of letters there. – Okay, perfect. The way this will work is that we have a set list of questions
that we’ll be asking you. I will ask the first question, and then it will go to Mr. O’Connor and we will move in this direction until we get through the 12 questions. It is 20 minutes that we’ve allotted for each interview, which,
given our 12 questions, equates to about a minute
and a half per question. I don’t think you need
to be overly concerned, we’re not going to be timing it, we’ll just be monitoring, keeping track of the overall time. And we’ll go ahead and get started. So the first thing, I will be asking the first question. If you’d please about
yourself, your family and your history in the Novi
Community School District. – Sure. So my name is Srini Cherukuri. My wife Vani and our two kids, we live in the Island Lake part of Novi. We moved here in 2008. Well, there wasn’t all, all of we didn’t exist in 2008. So I have two daughters at Deerfield in third grade and kindergarten. And so basically my involvement is since we moved in here,
just like everyone else, came to Novi ’cause it has great schools. Very pleased with how active the parent population is in our school and just how the whole community really seems to be school-centered, which is one of the nice things. – [Bobbie] All right, Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] What skills and/or
experience do you offer as a prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on this board? – Well two things. A lot of, my background,
my, sorry. (laughs) – [Bobbie] It’s okay. – Going back about 10
years, I used to work for the city of Detroit. I was originally hired, actually, for education policy back in 2005, and then transitioned to being their Director of Information Technology. So I have a lot of awareness both with education issues as well as the technology that now
underlies everything we do, but even just the overall cost structure and cost pressures and
all the funding rules and things like that. My initial interest actually was back then in the efficacy of school spending. And one of my biggest,
so at a macro level, where I first got interested in schools is figuring out how much money drives down to the teachers in the classroom. What used to see, back
in my research days, was that you have a wide
disparity of spending but even a stranger, if you laid out all, I think back then it was
181 districts in Michigan, it was interesting what the curve of the ratio of total funding versus cumulative teacher spend was. And it was actually a very interesting bell curve that formed. And so you see schools are
rife with the economies and diseconomies of scale,
and it’s a matter of how you maintain that sweet spot to get the maximum education dollar. And then from my technology background I used to also see, because
running a municipality we had many of the same vendors, but you can really see
how technology spending has the ability, it’s a good thing overall for education, I mean
it’s the information age, but it’s also the
ability to have a lot of, but it’s all school
districts need to realize they are targets for somebody
making their sales number, and not everything we spend is necessarily gonna take us to the
next level so to speak. – [Tracey] Thank you, number three. Are you a advocate for public education, and if so explain why. – Yeah, absolutely. One, I went to public schools
myself growing up here. I grew up in Southfield, went
to the Birmingham Schools. Why, because public
education is ultimately I think that’s what sets the foundation for a civil society. One of the great pride,
I grew up, I assume it’s still part of Michigan history, growing up is that we are the state with the oldest public college, the first Teachers College, the first land-grant college. The country is built around the whole Jeffersonian principle of every the 16th one out of every township being allocated for public education. It’s seen as a foundation
of how society progresses. If you don’t have public education, for example even in societies where valued education greatly, like India, where my family’s originally from, the lack of public education or rather a dedication to public education really is the foundation
of the modern class system. So all this talk about
mobility, helping people move, but also getting the best out of people for society’s benefit starts
with the public schools. – [Willy] What is the
role of a board member and what would you
consider micromanagement as it pertains to this role? – So I think modern
education is a confluence of two things. It’s the parent’s desires
and needs for their kids versus tremendous amounts of what I’d say is outside expertise as well as outsides mandates and requirements. So if you look at whoever has to define what our school is,
there’s three big pressures coming in there. There’s Washington and Lansing with it’s mandates and expectations. There’s the parents who
have a certain expectation, what they want their kids to learn as well as their own estimates
of what makes success. And then you have a large
education established, meaning, sorry, a large intelligentsia like from the academic side and research as well as other experts on
what education should be. And so you’re ultimately managing between those three. So your question is what do
I consider micromanaging? I think a school board
should have involvement in the general curriculum layout. We don’t need to be
looking at lesson plans and things like that, but we do need to be understanding what’s the big outline of the lesson plan. I don’t need to look at individual teacher hiring decisions unless
there’s a major issue, but we need to help in
the allocation of budgets and the relative allocation across different types of teachers
or different skill sets within the, like, I don’t need to say, hire a bus driver, we
should, board should have a say of how many bus drivers we allocate versus how many gym teachers, versus how many copy machines. – [Bobbie] All right. – I hope that’s reasonable
in a minute answer. (laughs) – [Bobbie] Mr. Cook, question five. – [Paul] What are the strengths of the Novi Community Schools? – I think the strengths of
the Novi Community Schools are intense parent involvement. So we benefit from a parent population that is very much dedicated to their kids and they’re very interested
in the kid’s education. And I just see that because, one of the beautiful
things about our school is how oversubscribed most of the volunteer activities are. That’s just a fantastic thing, and I think that’s the
biggest strength obviously, having relatively educated parents helps with all those things. I think that’s the number one thing, is fundamentally it’s community. I said earlier, I feel like the nice thing is the community is very school-centered. – [Bobbie] All right. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] Okay, let me give
you a hypothetical situation for you to analyze. A parent calls you with a
complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher’s been unfair to his or her child. How would you as a board member respond to this parent? – I think number one, within the schools there’s a structure the parents should be working through. So have they talked to the principal or vice principal or even had, I’m not sure if we still
assign student counselors at the high school level
for example like we used to. So that’s the number one thing. And also have they talked
to the teacher themselves. I think that’s the number one thing. Beyond that it’s, we then need to hear what’s coming up from those folks. If it’s elevated up to us, then I think it’s a matter, that, yeah, we need to take the time to figure
out what’s going on, because we’re not such a big district that we should hide behind massive amounts of bureaucracy. Ultimately the school board is roughly at least one member per school roughly, and that maps out to it. So we shouldn’t be completely hands-off and hide behind layers of bureaucracy, but we also need to show the respect for the people we employ, principals, teachers, counselors, to make sure that they’re involved in it. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number seven. What is more important to you and why? Board member accountability to each other at this table, or board members holding our superintendent accountable for district performance? – We’re hired to get district performance, so that’s our number one requirement. I can honestly say I
had to do some of the, I wasn’t employed by the Detroit Schools but I can tell you I saw
and had to help bail out some of the issues when cliquishness and other things form around boards, or when boards become run for something other than the students. So yeah, performance,
performance, performance is, that’s all the parents
care about. (laughs) And ultimately that’s all our kids will remember us for is how well we position them in life. – [Willy] Describe a
situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How’d you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – Okay, so for example, we had an issue going back to, okay my prior job, since it’s probably the most applicable. We had a large number of equipment leases that had been signed on a rotating, just a constant renewal basis that governed all of our
network infrastructure for the City of Detroit,
back when I was there. The big issue we had was this had become a whole, say, insider game, meaning very few people knew
what was being procured, the reasons it was being procured or even how the lease schedule worked. And it just became this cycle where massive amounts of expense had built up in this area. Now the flip side was, I didn’t find that the employees themselves were doing, on the technical aspect of what they were charging managing,
they were focused on that. Where they failed was on understanding the procurement side of things or let alone how this was
strategically impacting. And so a corrective action is working with the employee, working with the people to figure out the right, to
get to the right position. And so what we ended up doing was really doing a detailed deep dive on those leases. We forced our vendor to
provide the documentation. We went out, we found that there was a massive amount of over-billing. When we flipped that document around, we were able to actually cancel a number of the disadvantageous leases, and we ultimately moved the whole thing to sort of a better management system. It’s relatively rare that anybody in my history does a bad job on purpose, it’s usually a bad job that occurs because they’re doing something else as well as they can do. – [Bobbie] All right. Mr. Mena, number nine. – [Willy] Mr. Cook. – [Bobbie] Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Cook. – [Paul] Describe a
situation where you worked with a group of people and they went in a direction that you
were adamantly opposed to. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and ultimately the decision? – Well I think that goes
to the understanding that any organization
operates at two levels, strategy and tactics. So you have your say
at the strategy level, and that’s where everyone
should work collegially and you should share information to try to get to the best idea possible. But once the group decides on a strategy, the group still has to stay together for execution or the
tactical aspect of that. And so, you stay involved. My most recent thing was I ran and recently sold a company that manufactured hearing aids. It was a startup. Me and my brother were the two founders and a few others, but tactically one of the products you’re gonna, I mean strategically
which product segments do you wanna be in, yeah that’s a big loud argument, mainly
because we’re all friends and we’re screamin’ at each other happily. But if you lose out on that, you’ve still gotta execute all the things in terms of procurement, marketing, the whole distribution. And so those are all still the core thing. So in the end it doesn’t matter what the strategy is, execution’s what we’re paid for, so to speak. Right, and so disengaging
because strategy, strategic decision is not yours, it’s just a dereliction of duty. – [Dennis] So let’s talk
about time commitment for a second. What do you believe is
involved in this position? Besides, obviously,
attending regularly scheduled board meetings, how much additional time would you be willing to
put into the position for specific board tasks and functions? If you can give try to give us kind of an hourly average per week. – I think one of the good things is, I may have mentioned in passing is, I just recently sold my
company in the past year. So I’m technically unemployed
in a happy fashion. (laughs) So this being something I’m interested, I would have no problem
dedicating 10, 20, 30 hours depending on what the big task is. Certainly getting up and running I anticipate, put it this way, the biggest challenge
anybody has joining a board is there’s a whole history
and a whole structure in place and you gotta know it quickly, and I’m anticipating
this is a full-time job for at least the first
couple of months learning it, and then I think to be
an effective board member you have to be out there. So again that’s the
beauty of this district is we’re successful
’cause one of the things of success is the scale
at which we operate. I mean there’s no point
in voting on a school that I haven’t visited. There’s no point in not weighing in on academic functions of things that I haven’t at least attended at least some sample of. So I think the big thing is after all the paperwork
and all the votes here, you still gotta make the time to get out to see the schools, talk to the teachers, see the students, see the activities, and
see parents, of course. – [Tracey] Thank you. As a board member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what’s best for you,
your family, your friends and your school to do whats best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – That’s the job in a
democratic body, right? It’s for the betterment of the district. I think those things
are expected, I guess, is how I would answer that. [Bobbie] All right, and
we have one more question. Is there any other information
about your candidacy that you would like us
to consider that has not already been shared with
us during this interview? – I guess just to summarize, I think, I feel like I bring a
very unique background between both having a lot
of government experience but also havin’ successfully
started and grew a manufacturing operation
here in Michigan, which I sold. I think because of my current position where I have managed to sell
myself into unemployment, I actually have a lot of time to dedicate to this job. So I think those are kinda the things. In terms of what interests me, I kinda told you the macro level, where I considered about how funding gets attacked and stuff. At the micro level, my biggest concern is, I think fundamentally as a district we need to learn to understand, we’re successful because
of parent involvement, but I don’t know that we necessarily have all the information on what parent involvement entails. And so that’s something I want, we have a lot of supplemental spend, and that’s an increasing phenomenon in all schools across the country, is through whether it
be tutoring services, additional sporting services, additional academic things, arts and rec. There’s all sorts of
additional educational funding that’s outside of the district. How we effectively are able to coordinate with what our parents are doing is something that’ll build, synergistically grow our
success as a district. And I guess the other
thing I’d just say is I’m still a big believer in the three Rs. My biggest concern is the foundation’s a success everywhere is reading, writing and arithmetic, and that as you get to the older kids,
teachin’ the kids manners, civics and citizenship. It’s very easy to get lost chasing the gimmick of the day or
the technology of the day, and all those things. I can tell ya I was one of the first kids in Oakland County to study, we had as a special computering system that we had made available
to the Birmingham Schools. Back then we used to upload our stuff to the central processor. It was pretty cool
learning FORTRAN back then. I can tell you, you can’t earn a nickel with the knowledge I
learned, now right? (laughs) So that’s why I just, it’s very easy to get caught chasing, my biggest concerns, as
a technology guy myself, is I wanna make sure we focus on what kids really, the core of learning, and a little less on the, I don’t know, I just feel there’s a lot
of gimmicks thrown at you, a lot of shiny bells and
whistles being sold these days. – [Bobbie] All right. Well, we do thank you for coming and for. – [Dennis] I do have a
clarification question. – [Bobbie] Oh, I’m sorry,
clarification questions, I apologize. – [Dennis] You had mentioned up front when you were talkin’
about your background how you started your career
with the City of Detroit, focusing on education
policy and then went to IT. So, first of all, just can you clarify if you’re working for the City of Detroit, what does it have to do
with education policy, ’cause that’s city government. And secondly, why the leap? – Sure, so in 2004 and
2005, that was at a time when the school district had been moved under control of the mayor. So that was the first
time when this thing was, honest that poor district’s gone through several very bad cycles. So back then what had happened was, so I was actually hired in a group called the strategic policy center,
which was meant to be like the internal consulting
group of the city. And the reason I was hired was based on some educational research I had done for my master’s thesis. But my background in
work before that point was actually in management consulting at Price Waterhouse, it was
more the IT side of stuff. So the gist was basically,
what I did the research in the State of Michigan
and then I covered this across districts across the country. There was an interesting
dynamic that happens is, it was which was this question, why are there no good really big, why are there no good very
large school districts. And what you’ll ultimately find out is there’s diseconomies of scale. And in Michigan you can
map that very simply if you just take the
cumulative teacher salaries of each district and
take that as a percent of cumulative spend. There’s a sweet spot that happens. You get a nice little bell curve, especially if you map that. If you take the basic assumption that as much teaching as you could fund to the students, that’s like
a core element of success. So we take that premise, then what you find is districts, and this is, you’ll have to forgive me, about 15-year-old data
now, but it’s probably, I believe it still holds
based on cursory glances. But back then, in the eight
to twenty thousand student you were in the sweet spot. When you got much bigger than that, and really I should say
eight to 15 I think it was, if I recall. If you got much bigger than that, then you’d start to
see the amount of money that was spent on teaching as a percent of cumulative spend dropped. If you got smaller, the
same thing happened. Now some of that you
understand, right, if its, you start to get unequal
size school classes, you get a lot of logistic issues and things like that. So back then my recommendation was that I thought the City of Detroit schools should be broken up into six
to eight school districts, and I thought back then, that would reduce what you still see to this day, which is massive amounts of overhead that aren’t easily managed. So that was what I was hired for. That project, the mayor back then, chickened out on, but then I moved on into other roles of that
strategic policy center, and then that got merged
into the IT department. – [Dennis] Thank you. – Yeah, it’s kinda meander,
how I got to hearing aids, I still don’t know. (laughs) – [Bobbie] All right. Are there other questions
for clarification that board members have. – [Man] No thank you. – Thank you for your time. – Thank you very much. We appreciate you being here. We are gonna take a brief break after the next candidate, to use the restroom or get more coffee, whatever you need. – Okay thank you. – We’re a little ahead of schedule. Is that good do you think? Do we get a thumbs up? Are you lookin’ for that
one, (speaking faintly). – I remember they sent it to us but she didn’t, did she
add the correct questions into this packet? – 24 questions. – Oh, it is, I’m sorry. I’m talkin’ to you, that’s why I lost it. Never mind. – [Man] Good evening. – Good evening. Glad you found your seat, no problem. – [Nataraj] Yes, I was
looking for my name, but I’m here. – It’s facing us as you can see. Is it Nataraj? – [Nataraj] Nataraj Ganapathy,
yes, that’s my name. – Well we thank you for
being here this evening. We’re running a little ahead of schedule, hopefully that’s good for you. Just before we get
started, I’ll let you know I’m Bobbie Murphy. You can see that we all have
nameplates in front of us. We are the Board of Education. Mrs. Hood is not able
to be here this evening due to another commitment. But we are video taping, she will be able to watch this to recap. And what we’ll do is I
will start with a question and then we have 12 total questions. We’ll kind of go around in a circle. I will ask the last question. We’ve allowed 20 minutes
for the interview, which is about 1.5 minutes per question. We’re not expecting you to time it, we’re obviously running ahead of schedule so that is allowing us sufficient time. But just to kinda keep that in mind as you’re answering
questions this evening. And we will go ahead and get started. Would you please tell us about yourself, your family and your history in the Novi Community School District? – Sure. My name is Nataraj Ganapathy. I’ve been living in the Novi area for about 17 years. I’ve been a resident of Novi for 17 years, and I’ve been a resident
of Michigan for 20 years. I was born in India. I moved to the United States in ’98, so I’ve been in the US for 20 years. And like I said, 17 years in Novi. I have, my family lives
here with me in Novi. My wife is an employee at DTE Energy, she works out of the downtown office, the main building in Downtown Detroit. And I have two children,
both go to the Novi Schools. My older son, he’s 13 years old, he’s in eighth grade, Novi Middle School. My younger one is a daughter, she is in fourth grade, she is in the Village Oaks Elementary School. We actually live in the
Village Oaks Subdivision. My son also went to the Village Oaks Elementary School for his
K to four time period. And professionally what I do currently, I’m an entrepreneur. My background has always been IT, for more than 24 years I’ve
been in the IT industry. For the past 10 years
I’ve been an entrepreneur. I run a business called Cogent Integrated Business Solutions, and what we primarily do is we provide SAP consulting services. We also have our own product suite. We develop applications for enterprises, cloud solutions, HR solutions
and things like that. So we have a small
office in Bingham Farms, and we have about 45 employees. And that’s really what
I do professionally. – [Bobbie] Great, thank you. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] Could you please
tell us skills and experience that you have to offer to as
a prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on this board? – Sure. As I had filled in in the application, I do not have any prior
civic service experience. I have, of course, been involved in some community service
through Habitat for Humanity and organizations like
that when I used to work for Deloitte, we used to be involved in some community services. But I do not have any prior experience in the civic service per se. But in terms of the skills that I bring to the table, I think in
general my IT background, my engineering background,
the analytical skills, the data analytics is
one of the primary things I hope to bring to the school board. And secondly what I also
hope that I can bring to the table would be
my industry connection. So one of the key areas
I feel I can contribute would be around the high school industry, networking and how we can
build that relationship. So how industries can
contribute to the high schools, mentoring, et cetera, et cetera. So that’s another area where I hope that I can add value. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number three. Are you an advocate for
public education, explain why. – Absolutely. The only form of education
system I’m exposed to in the United States is public education, and I’m a big champion
of public education. And I have not seen the other side to say all the disadvantages
or all the negatives, but based on primarily what I have seen and what I’ve seen my kids go through in the public education system in Novi, I cannot think of better
way to groom children to the real world, to
the professional world. And I’ve a lot of positives. There’s always room for improvement in any education system, but again, having talked to my
friends who have children going to private schools. Having talked to friends who have children growing up in other states. In general, comments that we have received and discussions that we have had make me strongly believe
that public education system is in the right direction,
at least in Michigan and Novi, and there is
a lot that we can do and continue to foster that strong system you already have. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – [Willy] Two-part question. From your perspective,
what do you consider the role of a board member. Also would like to know
what you would consider micromanagement as it
pertains to this role? – Okay. Based on my limited understanding of what a board member would
do in Novi School District, the primary responsibilities would entail working together with the superintendent and developing policies
that superintendents, well my understanding is that it’s the superintendent’s responsibility to administer the policies and the board puts together the policies. The board also is responsible
for working together with a staff and community, focusing on the staff/community relationship. And of course the primary objective, one of the primary
objectives is, of course, to increase the overall performance of the students in the community and how we can work
together as a community and how the board can help both the staff and students come together
to increase performance. Those are the three things. And in addition, I would think, the safety of the schools, the safety
of the student community in general and overall relationship between how the community
perceives the school district and how the school board
works with everyone in the community so
that there is a stronger and a positive messaging all around. – [Willy] And with regards
to micromanagement? – In terms of micromanagement, your question is how would the, what do I understand is micromanagement or where would I draw the line? – [Willy] Yeah, with regards to a role as a board member. What would you consider micromanagement? – I think micromanagement would be how, one of the things that I can think of micromanaging would be a board member letting the teachers know how they should teach their classes, for example. That would be micromanagement. Putting together policies is one thing, maybe having an input on the curriculum or developing the curriculum. But how exactly that should be delivered may be a micromanagement
from my perspective. – [Bobbie] Mr. Cook. – [Paul] What are the strengths of the Novi Community Schools? – Again, my only experience has been only in the Novi public school system, based on the experience that I have seen through my children and the learning that they have gone through
in the past few years and they continue to do. The Novi School District
continues to perform very well academically
overall in the state, and that I think is a very positive thing. And secondly what I’ve seen
in the Novi communities in general is the family-like atmosphere and the way, how the staff,
again two or three schools I have experience with,
how the staff in general interact with the parents
and now the students perceive the relationship with the staff. It’s all been very family-like. I think that’s very
critical these growing years for the children, so that’s
another positive thing. And three, in terms of infrastructure, in terms of the facilities
that the kids get, both for learning or other activities including sports and other
extracurricular things, they’ve been plenty. And I think it’s up to
the students and the staff and the parents to work together to continue to encourage and foster them to use those. But again these are the three things that I think are standout
from the Novi community, but positive. – [Bobbie] Okay, thank you. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] Let me give you
a hypothetical situation for you to analyze, if we could. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher’s being unfair to his or her child. How would you as a board member respond to the parent? – My immediate response to the parent would be we will discuss
it with the school and then we will
immediately get back to you. So that would be my immediate response. I guess my primary goal at that point would be to let the parent know that the board is here
to listen to all concerns from the parents. So I do not want to push that issue away so we should respond as soon as possible to the parent saying
that we will take action. We will talk to the concerned authorities to understand what happened. And secondly, of course,
we have to follow-up with the school through
the right protocol, whether it’s through the principal or through the teacher directly, and whatever the protocol is, we follow that protocol. Talk to the right people to
understand what happened, and also then talk to the student to understand if there is an issue that we need to get from
the other side as well. So basically try to understand issues from all the parties involved, and then follow-up with the parent to see if there is a resolution and whatever the case may be. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number seven. What is more important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at this table, or board members holding
our superintendent accountable for district performance? – I think the board member accountability to each other at this
table is number one, to me. And number two would be the performance, that they’re holding the
superintendent accountable for the performance. – [Willy] Describe a
situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – So again, in my professional life I’ve done this. We continue to do this
almost on a daily basis. What with several teams, I manage several teams,
and they’re always, when you work with large teams, there are people or employees who perform in different capacities,
varying capacities. So there are always challenges. Especially since I come from
a consulting background, we work with the customers. One of the big challenges I have is managing the client expectations as well as the team members that are working with me
who are in the process of delivering whatever
the customer’s expecting. So when there is an
employee or a team member who is underperforming,
and normally I have a face-to-face, that’s the step one. If there is a conflict or there is a behavioral or a performance issue, my first step would be
to have a face-to-face with the employee or
the team member first. Explain what is going
on, and then understand, again, issues from all sides and give feedback to that employee, give feedback to the team member and how or what they should do to improve. And also put together a time frame. And I continue to monitor the employee and the team member during that time frame to see how, and are they really improving, are they really doing what they promised that they would do. If not, give constant feedback. And at the end of the timeline, at the end of the time frame, again have a feedback,
assess where that employee is and if the employee did not improve, then that would be the time when then we have make a decision. So it will, depending
on again the situation, whether it’s an individual
decision from me or a decision I have to take together with the larger team
that I’m working with, we make a decision whether we should remove the team member from the team, or I mean get rid of
that from that project or whatever the case may be. – [Bobbie] Thank you. Next, Mr. Cook. – [Paul] Describe a
situation where you worked with a group of people and
they went in a direction that you were adamantly opposed to. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – So we develop products. So we are developing products,
we have three or four products under our umbrella. So a good example to
specifically talk about that situation would be when we discuss a certain feature on how that feature should be developed for a product. We start brainstorming. There are normally three or four ways to approach that. So during this brainstorming phase, that’s when we do a lot of analysis on how much effort it’s gonna take, what’s gonna be the cost
and what are the skills we need to develop this feature, so on and so forth. And more often than not we all agree. We are obviously a small team and we all agree and
then the development team is run or managed by a project manager and I administer the whole product development practice. So when there is a situation, let’s say there is a
team member who thinks that feature should be developed in a completely different
way from what I was thinking, which has happened, quite often. We discuss and I kind of,
at the end of the day, to me the technical
expertise of the person who is bringing the technical expertise to the table is more critical, so I trust that judgment. So I let them make the
decision eventually, even though I do not agree with that, or I did not agree with that in a couple of situations, and we go along with what that team has come up with. And after two weeks, three weeks, we see where we are with the feature. And if it is going in the
direction that he promised or the technical team
member promised it would go, that’s proof that he was
right in his judgment, so I go along with that approach. And if that didn’t work, then I think end of the day collaboration
is very critical, and also having the
trust with the individual who is known for that area of expertise, having the trust is also very critical. – [Bobbie] All right. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] Let’s talk a little bit about time commitment for a second. What do you believe is
involved in this position? And obviously, besides attending regularly scheduled board meetings, how much additional time
do would you be willing to put in to specific
board tasks and functions? And if you can give us an average hourly weekly commitment it’d be helpful. – So I understand there are meetings on a regular basis twice a month and quarterly meetings. And in addition I’ve also read about periodic visits to facilities and also some ceremony attendance, and all that. But beyond that, my personal commitment would be at least 10 hours a week if not, it could even be more. Like I said, my personal interest is to contribute more to data analytics, to the community, communication, building the relationship between the school board and the community and wherever I can contribute in terms of communication. So these are all areas that interest me. So time is really not
that much of a challenge. I have a lot of
flexibility with my regular professional schedule as well. So at least 10 hours a week. – [Dennis] Thank you. – [Tracey] Number 11. As a board member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what’s best for you, your
family, and your friends and your school to do
what’s best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – It’s pretty straightforward. I should do what is best
for the school district. That’s what my job is, that’s what, if I am part of the board,
that’s what I signed up for. And if I’m not prepared to do, then I’m not the right
person for that position. – [Bobbie] Is there any other information about your candidacy
that you would like us to consider that has
not already been shared with us during this interview? – No I can’t think of anything else. – [Bobbie] Are there
questions that the board might have for clarification? Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] Yeah, I’d just like to go back a little bit to the
accountability question. You mentioned board accountability first, and then district performance secondly. Can you expand on that
a little bit as to why? – So one, the student performance, again in my limited understanding, because that question
was specific to holding the superintendent accountable for the district students performance. So I believe the students performance is not necessarily
dependent on superintendents administering policies alone. There are various factors
that come into picture in terms of measuring
students performance, again, in my understanding. Which is why I believe that
takes a secondary priority. Even though there are reasons to hold a superintendent accountable, I believe in this case,
that specific example, the board members, we should
be able to trust each other, that’s very critical for us to function together as a team. If there is a gap there,
then there is gonna be a problem in terms of
how we can work together and serve best for the community. – [Dennis] Good thinkin’. – [Bobbie] All right. Well that concludes our interview. – Excellent. – [Bobbie] Thank you again for being here, for applying for this position and being interested. You are welcome to sit and listen to the other two candidates. We are going to take a
brief break right now, so that we can get some water and regroup. And then we have a couple more interviews. – Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity and for the time. – [Man] Thanks for coming out. – [Bobbie] It was very nice to meet you. – Okay, thank you. I’m gonna step down. Have a good evening. – Okay, thank you. You as well. So we are taking a brief break. We will return at 7:45, so 10 minutes. – [Bobbie] She’s not comin’ back though this year, is she? She’s comin’ next year, right? – [Man] Yeah, yeah, she’s gone. On the fly, (mumbles) She’s got to take some disability or whatever it’s called. – [Bobbie] You can bring
our next candidate in. – [Man] She’s just like for
two weeks or something’. – [Bobbie] Do you know
how you pronounce it? – No.
– Guosong? – [Woman] Okay, yeah, that’s
how I was pronouncing it. I told them, I said, if you could please introduce yourselves because, I said, I don’t wanna be embarrassed. (laughs) Bein’ honest. – [Bobbie] That’s fine, that’s fine. (board chattering) – [Man] Somethin’ like that, disability or family issues. – [Bobbie] FML. – [Man] She’s gotta take additionally, so yeah, but two weeks is nothin’. ‘Cause it wouldn’t excess her to come back in two weeks. – [Man] I thought her knee was out. – [Woman] Good evening how are you. – [Woman] She’s the last one I think. – [Woman] Good, thank you. – Hi. – [Guosong] Hi. – Would you like to
introduce yourself to us so that we know how to
pronounce your name, maybe. – My name is Guosong Li. I have been living in Novi for 10 years. I came to Metro Detroit in year 2000, and since then I live here. I’ve been working at Ford
for more than 15 years. Currently I’m working as a
research engineer in Ford, in developing new technology
for vehicle safety to protect occupant and make people safe in driving. In the past years I have been serving in our homeowner association board for two years. I also served at Orchard Hills PTO Board for two years. I have two kids in Novi School. I live with two kids,
my wife together here. So I’m very interested in this job. I try to make my
contribution to the community for the education for kids. – [Bobbie] Okay. Let me just tell you a little bit about, we’re gonna ask about 12 questions during the course of the interview. You kind of partially
answered the first one, which is fine. But I will ask the first question and then we will go like this. Since we have about 20 minutes and we have 12 questions, it’s about a minute and a half per question. You don’t have to time
yourself or anything. We seem to be moving through those without too much difficulty. Okay? So the first question is really, tell us about yourself,
which you kind of did, your family and your history in the Novi Community School District. So is there anything you want to add to what you already told us about? – Yeah, because, I’m new
to US education system and since my kids get into school, actually I spend a lot of time learning US education system and all like in Michigan and even in other states, like California or Massachusetts, Texas, those kind of area. So I also are learning a lot on internet and trying to see. Because now the world is change so fast. So it’s quite challenging
for next generation because we never know what will happen in 10 years, 20 years. So we want to make kids well prepared for their future. – [Bobbie] Terrific, thank you. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] Could you please share with us skills and experience that you can offer as a prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – Yeah, even though before I do not have experience on this. But during the past years I’m learning a lot on this. I know that as a board member, actually, they have a lot of responsibility. Like the district planning,
building planning, investment, also staff hiring and curriculum planning and
also other related issues like local government, local
community people everywhere. So for me, because I working in industry, in future, if possible,
I can make a connection between school students and industry. And also from a technology perspective because I’m working
related to new technology. So I can also make a contribution in those area. – [Bobbie] All right. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number three. Are you a advocate for public education, and if so, explain why. – Yeah, because personally my kids is in the growing process. They are receive education now. So personally I wanted them
to get a good education. At the same time we also needed to concern about the whole community. So actually this process,
we make ourself good also contributing to the
community at the same time. And in the past year when I
work as a PTO board member, I have a close interaction
with the teacher, with the staff, with
students, and participate many school activity. I think that doing this, I know that it because all people
involvement in the process is very important. – [Bobbie] Great, Mr. Cook. – [Willy] So I have a
two-part question for you. And they are tied together. In your opinion, what is
the role of a board member? And then also, and I’ll
repeat this later again if you need me to, what would you consider micromanagement as it
pertains to this role? – I think the main role
of the board actually is make decision. Because actually every
day in the whole process in education system
there are a lot of case we need to make decision,
especially we need to make a smart and correct decision. So that’s the most important role of the board. – [Willy] And then the other question was what would you consider micromanagement as it pertains to this role? – Yeah, actually there
is some kind of balance between micromanagement
and also give more freedom to the school, to staff and to them to make a decision. So in my opinion, I think as a board, we should focus on important issues and we need to leave a
little bit of more space to school, to staff, to teacher, and for them to explore. – [Bobbie] All right. – [Willy] Thank you. – [Paul] What are the strengths of the Novi Community Schools? – I think the strength is because we are very decent community
and all the resident here they are, for parents, they are very, they take very serious
about their kids’ education. That’s a very good to this educate, because education, for kids education, it’s not the only
responsibility of school, of teacher, but at the same time, parents should play a very important role. And because our community is very decent, so we have this luxury that
most, almost all parents, they play a important role and they are very spend a lot of efforts in their kid’s education. That will help all of us to make the Novi community education even better. – [Bobbie] All right. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] Let me give you
a hypothetical situation for you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. And the parent thinks that the teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you as a board member respond to the parent? – I think, first we
want to make the parent cool down so we need, first we need to get at the real fact what is happening, what is happening in the school. Is what the parents
complain is the true fact, or is only the partial fact. So based on that, then
we can come together with teacher and also with other student and see if in the whole class what is happening. And what is the real situation. And then we may come up with a solution to improve the whole process and make teacher, make
student and make parents feel more comfortable. – [Bobbie] All right. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number seven. What is more important to you and why? Board member accountability to each other at this table, or board members holding our superintendent accountable
for district performance? – Excuse me, could you see? – [Tracey] Sure. What is more important to you and why? Board accountability,
board member accountability to each other at this
table, or board members holding our superintendent accountable for district performance. – Because every individual, their time, their energy are limited. So this is team work. We need the whole board as a team to work for many complicated issues. So during this process
we needed to be more cooperative and everybody
should be accountable. Otherwise we will spend a lot of energy within the board all between the board and the superintendent, then we will have less effort, less energy to work on the real issue. That’s very important. For example, just like government, if within the government
they not work together so well then they will
only have limited time to work on the real issues. – [Bobbie] All right. Thank you. – [Willy] Describe a
situation where you were responsible for holding
someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – Yeah, first I would
immediately get involved in that issue because we need first to figure out is there anything we need immediately provide a response. That’s the first thing. Then next we will get into more detail and see what really happened. Because if any other issue caused this or what if that person who
should take responsibility but did not, then I think we should take this seriously. And either transfer the responsibility to other people who are accountable or maybe to find any other people to help the person to finish the task. – [Bobbie] All right. Mr. Cook. – [Paul] Describe a
situation where you worked with a group of people and
they went in a direction that you were adamantly opposed to. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and how did you participate
in the ultimate decision? – Yeah, first in the group meeting I would try to provide
them what I have thought and what are the reason
I’m thinking that way. If at that time I still cannot pursue them to follow my direction, then actually there is some mechanic
like voting or whatever. If the team vote for the direction which is not what I expected, then first I should follow
the team’s direction. And in the process, I should do my best to make everything work smoothly and in a good way. If something not that such far happened, then we need to discuss with the group and try to see if there any other solution or how we can handle this. So basically first of all we cannot direct a conflict and I cannot ignore the team’s decision, I just follow my way, I think that’s not the correct way to do. First we need to follow
the whole team’s direction, then in the process try
to make that better. And if during the process
other more and more people pursued by me and they change their mind, then maybe we can work in the other way. And the ultimate goal is we try to achieve our education better and
to for the benefit of kids. – [Bobbie] Okay. Thank you. – [Dennis] Let’s talk about
time commitment for a second. What do you believe is
involved in this position? And besides obviously
attending the regular scheduled board meetings, how much additional time would you be willing to
put in to a commitment to board tasks and functions? If you can kinda give us an average hourly time commitment per week
per week, that’d be helpful. – Because I do not have
experience on this level of job, so personally I think, five hour, eight hour a week or something like that, but I don’t know. Because it depends on the situation. Now I just imagine, in the real case, I may be able to increase some. – [Dennis] Okay, thank you. – [Tracey] As a board
member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside whats best for you, your
family, your friends and your school to do
whats best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – That’s a good question,
yes, that may happen. If that kind of situation
happen, I think I should put the district community at first. Even though it may not
be so welcome by my kids or our single school, I
think we still should put the community first. – [Bobbie] All right. Is there any other information
about your candidacy that you’d like the board to consider that hasn’t already been
shared with us this evening? – Yeah, some additional information is, because of my background,
I came to United States 22 years ago. I got my first Ph.D. in China, actually I work as a faculty
member at the University. Then I came to United States and get a second Ph.D.
degree in Dayton, Ohio. So that to me, so I have
more international background and international knowledge. I think this is a big plus
to this board team community, because now the world is so globalized. So we will not only look
from our local point of view, we will also looking the
future at our national level and even international level. Because our next generation will face the global competition. The competition is not within our local, it’s from our country
and also internationally. – [Bobbie] Great, are there any questions that board members have for clarification for Mr. Li? Any questions, no? Okay, well we thank you so much for being willing to serve our community. We appreciate you being here this evening. – Thank you so much. It’s my great honor to be here, so I hope I will have this lucky to
become the board member and I’ll work with all you. – [Bobbie] I will tell you that you’ll probably get a note, but I have told, oh, did Mr. Webber leave, Dr. Webber? So there were a lot of candidates. – Yeah I see, yeah yeah. – [Bobbie] Yes, so there’s
a lot of opportunities to serve in this district. – [Man] You have two Ph.D.s you said? Do we have to call you doctor doctor? (board laughs) – [Bobbie] Thank you very much. We appreciate you being here. – You’re welcome. My additional word is,
even if I’m not able to become a board member, but I will also willing to contribute and to volunteer for other tasks if needed. I just submit you. – [Bobbie] Terrific. Thank you so much. – [Tracey] Have a good evening. – Thank you. – [Tracey] Thank you. – We’re gonna take you up on that. – Yeah, I think, we love volunteers. So we have one more this evening. – Couple people still actually. – Pardon? – A couple people actually. – No, only one is. – Awesome. – We do have more, like at
the next meeting there’s. – Yeah, there was five
tonight, there’s six tomorrow. – Yeah, okay, cool. – Yeah, it’s not too bad. – All right. – Is she leaving someone else at the door? I think she said. – There was one person she
was still trying to fit to call her late in the day. I don’t know if she sent
the list out or not. I know she texted me and she said she’d probably hear back from the one person that she was, she was trying to juggle some things around. Because somebody backed out. And then our last meeting
with (speaking faintly) get in discussion. – Okay. – Everybody knows Punita? – I’m sorry, who’s in front of us now? (board laughs) – All right. Okay, Hi. – She’s drinking water, board points. – She’s drinking, board points. – [Punita] Minus six, I heard. (board laughs) – Thank you for being here. – [Punita] Thank you for having me. – [Bobbie] I know you’ve
been before us before for an appointment, so you
kinda know how this works. – [Punita] A little bit. – [Bobbie] But just to
refresh your memory, we have 20 minutes per question, or 20 minutes per interview this time, excuse me. It’ll be about a minute
and a half per question, there’s still 12 questions. So we’ll get started. I’ll ask the first
question and we’ll kinda go like this, and I’ll
ask the last question. So Mrs. Thurman, can you tell us about yourself, your
family and your history in the Novi Community School District. – Sure. My husband and I moved
here about six years ago. We have three children in the district. A sixth grader now, a fourth grader and a first grader. It’s amazing how, I haven’t aged at all, but they just keep
getting older and older. And so we have been thrilled with the schooling opportunities that the kids have had here in Novi. I think when we looked about coming back to the city, we really, our primary focus was looking at the school districts in different cities and using that as a place to choose where to live. So when we moved back here six years ago we knew what a terrific district it was by readings and have just been thrilled with the kinds of experiences that the kids have been able to have, even beyond sort of what you might see in test scores and sort of the rhetoric about the school district. Since we’ve been here I have been involved at the elementary level in the PTO, taking on different kinds of leadership rules including the president of the PTO for two years. I had the privilege of serving as an appointed board member for a short term in 2014 and have had for the last few years, have been working with the Novi Educational Foundation as a trustee. And, in particular, working
on the Strategy committee and the Grants Committee, and just really have enjoyed the opportunity to both do that work at the school level and then more broadly at the district level. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – [Dennis] What skills and
experiences do you offer as a prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve again on this board? – So there are a couple of things that I think about in
terms of my experiences. One, first is as a parent
and as a community member. I believe I bring a perspective of not just being involved
in my child’s education but sorta from a broader
view across the school and across the district, and have an understanding of where different constituent groups or
sort of priorities are for different parts of the community. And so I think about
the assets that I bring as a parent of school age children, and as a member of the community. Second, I think the
experience that I bring having had the opportunity
to spend some time on the board, I have an understanding and a deep appreciation for both the responsibility
that a board member, being entrusted with that takes, and the kind of commitment, time commitment, sort of engagement in the district. I have an understanding about what the requirements are of a board and I have learned, both
through my time on the board and my work professionally about the role of governance and the criticality of the skill set and the importance of a board member. Moreover, I professionally do work in the education space. Professionally I am a Program Director at the Skillman Foundation, and am leading the Foundation’s
education strategy. And so although my work there is targeted around education in Detroit and creating opportunities for students in a particular context, part of my work is also engaging at the state level, understanding education policy, and how it plays out
in many different ways, both for kids in Detroit, but also, again statewide. I serve on several statewide task forces. Right now I am on a Literacy Task Force, a statewide Literacy Task Force. I am on a P20 commission for philanthropy around education. And so I think part of what I would bring is not just my perspective as a parent and a community member in Novi, but also that understanding about how the district is
impacted by the broader set of policies and decisions that are made at the state level, and how
they might interplay here. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number three. Are you a advocate for
public education, explain. – 100%. So part again, thinking about that work that I do at the state level, I think that there’s been a systematic sort of disinvestment in public education in Michigan, when I think about whether the funding or
different kinds of policies that have been allowed to flourish. Public education is the cornerstone of our state’s economic success. And it’s a key part of the community. And so I’m very proud of the work that my organization did in Detroit in bringing back an elected school board and in supporting the district as it has hired a new administration, is really on a track back. All communities, and especially again in this context that I work in in Detroit, deserve a thriving school district. And so I am a champion and advocate of public education. – [Willy] What is the
role of a board member and what would you
consider micromanagement as it pertains to this particular role? – Yeah, the most important
role of a board member is certainly around the
most critical decision they make in hiring a superintendent. And holding the superintendent accountable for that role. It can be easy, out of
passion and out of interest to get caught into issues that are beyond sorta that difference between governance and administration. And I think about the
work of a board member, again really as setting policy and creating the framework
and the boundaries for a district to thrive within. And both holding
accountable and supporting and championing the superintendent and the district administration in achieving the goals that are set by the board. The targets are set by the board and that’s part of the role around policy. And so when I think about your question, Willy, about micromanagement, I think again it’s often rooted in really good intent in wanting to get deep into an issue. But I think it’s a dangerous place to blur that line between governance and the role and the responsibility of the administration. – [Bobbie] All right. – [Paul] What are the strengths of the Novi Community Schools? – There are many. I think about a couple that I would lift. One is the vision and the capacity of our administration and our teachers. They have steadfast over
the last number of years been building the kinds of systems around academics and teacher support and principal support that I think show up quite honestly
in the kinds of outcomes that we get. And so we should be very proud of all of those systems and supports that are provided to ensure that a teacher at the
front of the classroom has what they need to be very successful. I think another asset of the district is the rich diversity
of our, I am so grateful that my kids are able to be in a district with so much exposure and opportunity to learn from their peers about different communities,
different ethnicities, different, just diversity in every way that you can think about it. A third asset that I think is very hard to overlook is just the
passion and the support from the community. We all know that people pay financially a premium to be within
the Novi School District. And lots of people are willing to do it, and want to do it. We see neighborhoods
coming up all the time advertising, sort of the asset and the gem that is the district. And so people are really committed to their schools and to their community. And I think the combination
of all of those, the families, the
teachers, and the diversity of the students are incredible assets to this community and to this district. – [Dennis] Okay, let’s look
at a hypothetical situation for you to analyze. A parent calls ya up to
complain about a teacher at the High School. And the parent thinks that
the teacher is bein’ unfair to his or her child. So how would you as a board member respond to the parent in that situation? – I think as a board member, your job is to be empathetic and to understand and to ask questions,
and also to help them understand protocols that are in place. So wondering about whether or not they’ve had conversations
with the child’s teacher and helping them understand the importance of building that one-on-one relationship. The person may have tried to do that. And then I would encourage them to think about whether or not they’ve talked to the principal. The principal is the
leader of that building and sometimes it can feel intimidating to a parent to take an issue to a principal. But I think really encouraging and again emphasizing the importance of a parent building that relationship and raising that issue to the principal and feeling that kind of openness. If they have tried that, I certainly think then encouraging them to, to come. I think the administration
is in the next line to think about the chains of
command in administration. My role as a board member
is to be empathetic in that situation. But it is not my, I think it’s again one of those places that
can be very difficult and blurry, but really important to not get into trying
to solve the problem for the parent but helping them understand that there is a lot of resources and a lot of intent and expectation of teachers and of principals and of the administration to be responsive to that parent’s concern. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number seven. What is more important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at this table, or board members holding
our superintendent accountable for district performance? – That’s a really good question. I would say, let me explain it this way. I think it’s board member
accountability at this table. Because if the board is working as a team, part of their primary job is to hold the superintendent accountable. For me it’s not a choice
of whether your job is to hold the superintendent accountable, but I think the most
powerful way to do that is by working with your colleagues at this table in a very
clear and singular goal. All of us have the district’s well-being and the welfare of all of the students primary in mind. And so the stronger that the board acts as a team and is accountable to each other around those clear goals, the better the district is. – [Willy] Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How’d you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – Professionally I had a team member who was well-intentioned,
had every passion and intent to deliver
on the responsibilities that he had in his role. He was passionate, he was energetic, and yet he didn’t have the capacity, what I learned over time,
to really deliver on that. And so it was part of my job as both his manager but also a colleague in the organization. I started with a sense of curiosity. So I’m noticing these things. What is it that’s getting in your way. You said you were going
to deliver these things and you didn’t. And there were lots of
really good explanations for why he didn’t. And so we clarified what
the expectations were and then we talked about what support he might need in that work. And we really articulated
a plan of action, which worked for a little while. And then old habits
sort of slipped back in, and we saw patterns of behavior. And I raised them again, and said, a little bit casually, but, hey, have you noticed this, have you seen this. And so we got into this cycle of things would get better
but not sustainably. And so I had a choice to make, to be quite honest. I could keep investing in
this up and down pattern or we had to have a more
serious conversation about what it meant and
what the expectations were. And quite honestly, what the consequences would be in that situation. And he made a decision at that point to not be a part of the team anymore. I think the expectations, once they were clearly laid out, and
he saw that there was a lot more responsibility in his bucket, he decided not to pursue
being on the team. – [Paul] Describe a
situation where you worked with a group of people and they went in a direction that you
were adamantly opposed to. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – Adamantly opposed to. There were some decisions when I was on the PTO at Village Oaks about how to handle some budget and
fund raising conversations. I really felt strongly
that we should not pursue sort of additional
expenditures and growth, and there were some
people who really wanted to take on some new projects and to try some different things. I tried to make my case
about why I thought at this time there wasn’t a good reason. There were some other people who were also in that same space. And then as a group we voted on it. We were a board of the organization that I was president by title, but we were a board who were
collectively responsible, and so we each talked
about the pros and cons. We made some decisions about why, what the consequences might be and then as a group we took a vote about which direction to go. And I feel strongly as sorta part of my leadership vision that if you’re part of a group and the group makes a decision, even if I, I had a chance
to make my case on it, and the majority of the
group felt differently. And then it was my job to commit to what the group decided, not my individual perspective. It actually turned out,
quite honestly, very well. I was wrong, I wasn’t ready to make that, I didn’t think it was gonna be a good idea and I was wrong. And so I’m quite glad in hindsight that the decision, that
the group wanted to go on. – [Bobbie] Great, thank you. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] Let’s talk
about time commitment for a second. What do you think, time commitment wise, what do you believe is
important in this position? And obviously, besides attending the regularly scheduled meetings. How much additional time
would you be willing to invest for board tasks and functions? If you can give us, if
you can, like an average hourly weekly commitment. – I think that the time, so, one, I think there’s
obviously the time that you’re in the meeting, a couple hours a week or every other week, depending on different committee meetings. But I think it’s also, I am committed to the
work that you have to do, the pre-work to the meeting, in order to do the meeting well. I mean to be effective in the meeting you also have to commit to preparing for the meeting. And so I again through some of my own experiences have an understanding of what that takes. And I also think there are, part of being a board member is also being visible and present in the community. And so there were
opportunities in the past to re-engage with the board. There was an election cycle
that I considered applying, and I just had too much on my plate from a professional commitment and I weighed not doing it. And the reason that I’m back here today is because I am more confident that I have the five to seven hours that I think it takes
a week to be effective. – [Tracey] Number 11. As a board member, you may
be asked to make a decision where you must put aside
what’s best for you, your family, your friends and your school to do what’s best for the
students and the district. What does this mean to you? – Part of what I feel
very privileged to have is the deep understanding
of what that role means, having spent time here on the board. And that when you step into this seat, despite the many roles that I play as a neighbor, as a mom,
as a parent, a friend, for me when you sit in this seat, your job is to be
responsible and entrusted with the care of all of the students in this district. And for me that means being very clear on understanding sort of the trade-off and the consequences to
all of the decisions, and thinking about what is best for, what’s the best course of action at any given time for the
most number of students. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Bobbie] All right, is there
any additional information about your candidacy that you’d like us to consider that has
not already been shared with us this evening? – No, I just wanna share,
and again we all have known each other in different contexts, and I just want to reiterate
the kind of privilege I think it is to be a board member, especially in a community like Novi. I take seriously the weight of the role and the responsibility of the role. And I can’t think of a more important way to contribute to my community than to be a part of this board. – [Bobbie] Great. Well that concludes our
interviews for this evening. – Perfect. – [Bobbie] I assume that you were told there were quite a few. – Yes, that is awesome
that there is that much, maybe not, but really some things, but really too perfect to see that kind of turnout. I’m thrilled. – [Man] We love having four or five board meetings (speaking faintly). – I really am thrilled
at the kind of turnout. That’s a terrific sign, and I think again, part of that commitment
from this community to step up and serve. – We thank you very much for
being here, for applying. All right. Well, I would entertain
a motion to adjourn this evening, unless
there’s additional business that the board. – Comments from the audience. – Oh, excuse me. This is our first opportunity for comments from the audience. Is there anyone that would like to address the board this evening? – How’s the popcorn? – All right. Seeing no one step to our podium and fill out a green card, I would entertain a motion to adjourn. – So moved. – Support. – It’s been moved by Mrs. Stevenson. And if you wouldn’t mind
pronouncing your name for us so that we. – [Anand] Anand Pappuri. – Wonderful. We are glad you’re here this evening. I’ll just explain a little bit about how this will work so that you can relax for a second. You can obviously see our names here and we are The Board of
Education, obviously, and what will happen
is we have 12 questions that we’re asking each
candidate the same questions. And I will start with the first question and then we will move to Mr. O’Connor, and then we will kind of
just go this direction and back and then I will
close with the final question. And I think that’s pretty much it. So we’ll go ahead and get started. – [Anand] Thank you. – Thank you again for being here. We appreciate the interest. If you’d like to just tell us a little bit about yourself, your
family and your history in the Novi community School District. – Anand Pappuri, I live
in Novi in Meadowbrook. Being a resident from 2011, so
about six years, seven years. So two kids, one is 12 years old, and seven years old, fifth
grade and second grade. Wife works at Volkswagen, and I work at Ford Motor
Company since 2013. And before that I started a business, energy efficiency business. So I do energy audits on the part time, right now as a part time, and we do insulation and home performance, so we are the, from the
DTE and Consumers Energy, usually do programs like home performance or building performance. So I do in the part time and weekends. And also very passionate
about energy efficiency, renewable zero energy homes,
zero energy buildings, so that is a big part
of my outside activity. On the community, I’m
the general secretary for Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, it’s a national chapter for Michigan. As a part of Hindu
Swayamsevak we teach weekly, actually, weekly counselor education for the kids for who are
growing in the community. So that includes now cultural values and the India heritage, heritage about. And the difficult part is
how they’re connected back, so those things we teach it weekly in different part of the cities and one is as per Temple. And as a part of the cultural education, our motto is, prepare the
kids for community involvement as a part of, we do a
lot of the road cleanup, at the road in Farmington
Hills and Grand River and between the Farmington
Road and Middlebelt. So we do it four times a year. We’ve been doing for several years, like seven years, eight years. Our blood donation drives, Yogatowns, International Day of Yoga. These are open to any community. We did recently now at the Civic Center. So it’s open for everyone. So we teach kids to be ready
for any community action, that’s what our motto is. Prepare them for the,
and it’s open for all. It’s not restricted, it’s free. That’s our motto for the kids. So at Ford Motor Company I work as IT Security Specialist. So on the big data, this is big data, and it takes all happening stuff. – [Bobbie] All right. I did wanna mention, we’re
trying to allow about 20 minutes per interview. This is about two minutes per question, you’re doing fine. I just wanted to make
sure that you knew that. So we’ll go on to the next question. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] What skills and
experience do you offer as a prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – So first thing is citizen of, I took the Citizenship on
2015 and being active member of the community. I spend quite a bit of time. My weekend goes in the
community activities, at least four or five hours per week, just daily and weekends. Reaching out, library
or any other activities in the community. So other passion is right
now, other than work and everything, how I can contribute to the community itself. Always I think about it. Since the education is a big part of tuning the kids, so that’s a big role other than the parent and teachers are, plays a big role. So being a teacher, another side. Prepare the kids mentally and physically so that is what I will do, and that’s a part of a program. We do yoga and meditation, other stuff that helps them focus
and also being involved in the community. – [Dennis] Thank you. – [Kathy] Okay, thanks. Are you an advocate for
public education, and explain. – I am advocate of public education, yes. Private education, there’s a lot of, I’ll give a small instance,
a lot of chapter schools. My friends kids were going initially, I’m against that. We want to use public
education, public system, which is very good. The chapter, private chapters
have their own special needs. The special needs, then
people can go there, but since the system is already have setup and this is a very good, our facilities or equipment from the complete of private, so I always support public education. Nothing in the private chapters. – [Bobbie] Good, thank you. Mr. Mena. – [Willy] What is the
role of a board member, in your opinion, and
what would you consider micromanagement as it
pertains to this role? So I could ask the second question, second part after if you like, but again what is your perception of the role of a board
member, that’s part one. And then part two is,
what would you consider micromanagement as it
pertains to this role? – In my personal view the
role of a board member is very diverse. From K to school to career counseling to adult education to
keeping everybody engaged in the community. And even the older people. So keep them involved, in all ages. Those are the first primary. And making sure that
the kids, the students are achieving their goals in their life. That is a primary one. So micromanaging, can you
briefly explain what is that, the second part of the
question, micromanaging? – [Willy] Yeah, so the question again is what would you consider micromanagement with regards to the
role of a board member. – Personally I am against micromanagement. All this Novi, I mean
school education board give guidance and set
expectation to the employees, and are the leads. And measure against the data course, that’s what my perception is. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – [Tracey] Number five. What are the strengths of
the Novi Community Schools? – Novi, my kid is fifth
grade, and the friends with the friends and even the schools, the Novi education is,
the students who are in the Novi are one of
the highly competitive. So what I heard is going to college from the schools from
the Novi is very tough because there’s so much
competition in the, we have a diverse population, right? So Asians and all, other stuff. So the strength is they
focus on education. So the people are having
high grades sometimes, so sometimes they are not able to get the same college because there’s so many competition going on. If we want to go to Ann Arbor, or Michigan or MMSU, not able to. So one thing I believe is, because application, college application, when they have a struggle. They want to go to this
college but they can’t get it. There are several
factors what they choose. So in the college at,
helping the career students is again the community involvement. So there are different
aspects of education app that goes into the, from
these grades and everything. Second thing is how they are going out, taking the initiatives,
helping the community or going beyond, disaster
relief or anybody, and summer camps. That would help in the,
I guide them through, and take this some initiative to go out and do so this. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – [Paul] Here’s a situation
we’d like you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to this parent? – So the parent complains to the Novi Education Board that the. – [Paul] Complains to
you as a board member. – First thing is, so we have to take now, but if they complain, no immediate action, will get back to you after
analyzing the situation. Immediately as apology, we
apologize for the action or the whatever. But we’ll get back to you later after doing some investigation. And then later, getting the details of the incident. What happened and is it,
as getting the details of the, talking to the teacher, student, or is something need to be corrected. So that investigation,
results of investigation can be shared within the board and a collective decision can be taken on the behalf the board. – [Bobbie] All right, thank you. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] What is more
important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding our
superintendent accountable for district performance? – So serving as a board member, if it is educational
related within the district, anything that is educational
or serving board, then I would guess I
would go with the board as accountable for any educational. But ultimately if it is district, the community for Novi looks at the mayor, so I guess heavily Novi Education Board and later I don’t think the mayor is directly accountable, but the committee will see as a board to that. – [Woman] Thank you. – [Kathy] Thank you, number eight. Discuss a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – So we do a lot of
activities in our community, like Yogatown or a lot of activities. So we have a group, we have a group and we assign tasks. And but each person does
sometimes and they don’t, but what are the reason because it’s a voluntary position in our group. The family comes first,
the work comes first because the leading, if
they’re not able to do it, we ask them couple one time or second time then the lead will take over. So in those situations,
the lead will later actually take over or
assign to someone else respecting that the person’s time and the value of his focusing because he has outside situations. So ultimately the lead should focus. And give respect to the
person who could not do it. It’s not that, he may
not do it for this time, but he, because of, he may do it later. So it’s not one time. If you want to have a relationship, it’s not like one time
and you push it out. – [Willy] Describe a
situation where you worked with a group of people and they went in a direction which you
were adamantly opposed to. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – Every event we have a group, we have a group of six
people here in Novi, so we work with it every time on most of the events. So for example we
recently did the Yogatown, and we are looking for space, where to do the. Some people have
suggestions here and there. I suggested one place, many people thought okay well it would be good in doing in the Civic Center. So I mean my intention was,
okay, the new people come, they’ll see the Temple,
we can take the tour you know, and other stuff. But it’s up to the majority
of two, three people are voting for this and all that. It should be by a majority, so there’s no, I don’t object that there’s a majority of the people are going another way. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number 10. What kind of time
commitment do you believe is involved for this position? And besides attending regularly
scheduled board meetings, how much additional time,
average hours per week, are you willing to commit to
board tasks and functions? – Exact I don’t know how much
the function of the board, what the time commitment,
if I am selected. I’ll give at least four
hours per week on the board and what are the activities that involved directly and indirectly,
for the betterment of the community. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Willy] As a board
member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what’s best for you,
your family, your friends and your school to do
what’s best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – There are a lot of
instances when the priority always changes. If the priority is look at kids, students, career counseling or these
life changing moments or when things happen
is that, then that has to be taking priority,
then everything else is, I’ll choose that one, beyond that home or work or other stuff. It’s all, it’s a different priority, the importance of the situation. Based on that I definitely
put aside other things. – [Bobbie] Thank you. And the last question is,
is there any information about your candidacy, any
additional information that hasn’t been shared with us that you would like us
to consider this evening? – At Ford also I’m very active, I’m at Ford Industry at the network. I participate in a lot of
diverse renewable initiatives, National Day of Prayer, and a lot of interfaith related activities. Also so I support charity activities through SEWA International, or Detroit Education Society, sometimes we have a Rotary club here, I talk to her sometimes in Novi. So any other community events at large, if there’s a time available, and sometimes I make it priority to attend, depends on the need and the program there might be interest. – [Bobbie] Thank you. Are there any questions
that board members have for clarification purposes? No? Okay, great, that’s it. – Thank you. – [Bobbie] Relatively painless. Thank you for being here
and for your interest in the position. – Thank you, thank you for the time. Just one minute, right. (speaking faintly) Hi. – [Smita] Hi. – How are you this evening? – [Smita] I’m fine – Great. If you’d like to introduce yourself to us, that would be great. – [Smita] So I didn’t expect
this serious panel. (laughs) – Serious panel. We are the School Board. I’ll tell you how this is gonna work. Can I, Smita? – [Smita] Yeah. – Phaphat? – [Smita] Phaphat. – Phaphat, okay. We are glad you’re here. We have about 20 minutes
we’ve allowed per interview. We have 12 questions
to ask, so I will begin the questions and then we’ll kinda move. Everybody will ask one question and then ask another question and then I’ll finish up. (paul sneezes) – God bless you. – It’s relatively painless I think. I think you will do fine. So we’re glad you’re here. Sorry you weren’t prepared for the panel. This is the board, so we
make our decisions together. – Just to know, we’re
asking the same questions to all the candidates, so we’re not just making up questions as we go along. – [Smita] Don’t worry, this is my first. – Yes, thank you. – [Smita] This is like my interview with Ford Motor Company. (laughs) – There you go. So I will ask the first question. We have 20 minutes, so
it’s about two minutes, you don’t have to time yourself, but just to give you some ball park of how much time we’re allowing. The first question is just if you’d like to tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your history in the Novi Community School District. – So, as you all know, I’m Smita Phaphat, and I’ve been living in Novi for the last, since my daughter was in kindergarten. So I have two kids, older one is right now at U of M and the younger
one is at junior high. And I’ve been, it’s introduction, right? – [Bobbie] Yeah, just yourself, your family and your history in our school district. – Okay, so I came from India, Mumbai, I mean Mumbai now. I refuse to call it Mumbai, Bombay for me. So I came from Bombay and I did my undergrad there. I came here, did my master’s in information systems. And my husband is, he did his master’s in mechanical engineering and then he went to University of Chicago Booth, he did his MBA there. So we are both, we have
both working parents, and he works at Salesforce, I work at Ford Motor Company. Two amazing kids, one is at U of M, Ross, second one is a junior high at Novi, and I love Novi. And I moved to California
for a short stint of two years but I came back here. So I just love Midwest. – [Bobbie] We’re glad that you’re back. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] What skills and
experience do you offer as a prospective board member, and why do you think
you’re qualified to serve on the board? – Okay, I’m sure there
are many qualified people. You must be surrounded. I do not have any kind of portfolio that I bring with me. I bring my openness. I bring my ability as a woman, as a mother, as a working mother, as I would think myself as a good parent of what is needed for
a student to succeed. I have seen the ups and downs of how it worked for my kid. I have not done much of Novi, per se, Novi community work. But I’m a fairly open
person, and I’m reachable. And I think I bring in, my strength is communication. I’m like the kindergartner who came, ready to have some
because I’ve not done any, but I thought at this point of my life it’s a good turning point. Where my kids no longer need me, when they’re walking by I just have to look out of the window so that I don’t ask them too
many questions. (laughs) So I think I have enough time to give back to the community that gave a lot to me. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. Number three. Are you an advocate for public education, and explain please. – Am I an advocate for public education? Completely. So looking back at my history, I myself came from a
upper middle-class family, from India, from Mumbai. And I was exposed by my parents to a very fine school. And I have ingrained the same values in my kids. I came here, I worked
hard, I did my master’s, my husband did his master’s
in mechanical engineering. He went and did his MBA,
he quit his work at Ford, he went, he did his MBA. So we are completely, by example. It’s, you know, lead by example. So by example we be under Novi, working hard and making sure that, in today’s world education
is very much needed. Because that’s a gateway. If that gateway’s not properly opened at young age, and talk to them, what is the importance,
and how it’s gonna shape your future, your life and
your community around you. I’m a big big, I believe in education in and out, and I don’t think I left
my kids out of that. I mean they had no ifs and buts on that. You have to hit your potential and know what your potential is. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Paul] We have a two-part question. In your opinion, what is
the role of a board member, and also what would you
consider micromanagement, what would you consider a micromanagement as it pertains to this role. – So, okay, my answer
not be very pertaining exactly to this, because I’ve not been a board member. So if I give all answers but indirectly to this question, I would be kind of, fanning and making some stories up there. So in general, I think any,
whether it’s a board member of a school, but I’ve been board members of small community, subsect
of Indian community, so I would not say board member, but an active member. I think any active
member, the role is mainly you bring up new, you are open to ideas. You bring your energy,
you bring your motivation and you try to work together as a team. You do not try, this is not your platform, or it cannot be used as a platform to impose what you hold
as the only way to work. So I think it’s more of
eagerness to make the change, and move forward in the right direction as how the time is going by. What was part two? – [Paul] And the other part is, what would you consider micromanagement as it pertains to this role? – Oh, since I worked in corporate life, US corporate for many years, I think I kind of know
what my co-management is in the corporate style at least. If a work is given to you, and you have a deadline to meet, but someone is standing behind you, just making sure if
it’s being exactly done the way they want,
that’s my co-management. Give me the leeway to deliver it to the best of my ability. – [Paul] Okay, thank you. – So rather then, you know, being over someone’s shoulder or
giving them step-by-step of what has to be done,
give them an overall direction or guideline
or rule book kind of, and let them run with that. And let them. People come back to their best potential. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number five. What are the strengths of
Novi Community Schools? – My favorite one. Novi Community has,
it’s a very good balance of economics, diversity, sports. My kids have not been
so much of band kind, but choir, art, okay. And tons of extracurricular activities, like whether it’s DECA, robotics, HOSA, okay, anything. I think Novi has lots of strength in shaping the child to it’s best ability, whether it’s science-based, math-based, or social times based or English-based. The strength of Novi is
the diversity I believe. And the way Novi has
aggressively kept up the pace of how the world is changing. Novi has done a phenomenal job when it comes to the way they’re adapted themselves to the technology. And openness to all the
kids to accepting it. And I think Novi is,
academically they’ve done a fantastic job with the kids. I do not see any kind of
racial discrimination in Novi. It is more of accepting
of all kind of people. So I’m a total Novi person. – [Willy] Thank you. Here’s a situation we’d
like you to analyze. Parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you as a board member respond to this parent? – I am myself in that situation, (laughs) with a school boy, high school boy. He thinks he’s right. That being said, first of all the first step is to
respect both feelings. You go there without making
any kind of opinions. You go there with openness. You do not go there with biased opinion. You have to trust, you have to respect what the parent is coming, with what complaints are, whatever opinion they have. And you have to hear
the teacher’s side too. And then there comes a medium where you explain to the parent, this is what the school
expects of the few. And then there comes the teacher where in case of the student or the parent is feeling that it’s a biased opinion, then you try your level best. You are not over there
to pass any judgment, you are only over there as a mediator. Helping bridge the gap between the parent and the teacher. It’s not your role to
impose anything on anyone. It’s just a mediator
role, hearing them out. Because that is, most of the time, that’s what is required. Hearing out, getting what the story is, getting what the facts on the table and the solution at
times when both the facts are on the table, the
solution typically comes out on it’s own. So, you know, helping
get to that solution. – [Dennis] What is more
important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding our
superintendent accountable for district performance. – So the question, if I get this right, is what is more important,
the board member’s accountability to each other. – [Dennis] To each other, or. – Or the board member
holding it up to the. – [Dennis] To the superintendent for district performance. – So any time, whether,
I mean this is like, it’s the same thing, are you looking at the family, head of the family, to make sure that the family runs as what is desired, or you’re looking at each individual
making that contribution, to make sure they are there to whatever are the expectations. So I think, in my opinion,
it is each and every person who is responsible, and that floats up, your behavior, your
input, how you’re acting, what you’re expecting, how you’re managing those expectations. That is what floats up
to the higher point. But one person is not responsible for, one person’s accountability is not responsible for everything. It is everyone together, united we stand. So it’s like, all the
haystacks put together and bonded rather than one person. – [Dennis] Thank you. – [Kathy] Okay, number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable, and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation, and what was the resolution? – So I have been, can
I get in my corporate? – [Bobbie] Sure. – Okay (laughs) So I’ve been, I’m in IT. So I’ve been a project manager, business analyst, a
developer and everything. So when typically you’re
managing a project, and there comes a deadline and then there comes an impasse, where you were supposed
to deliver by this time, and you thought everything in your project was going as planned. And all the right store are being met. And that is the time you realize that maybe a piece, a
chunk of the functionality which was expected to be delivered, won’t be delivered in this release. Now, this is a two, now
either you can go back and you can sit and start pointing fingers that you were supposed to deliver it and you kept telling me
that this part is working, and now you’re telling me that this part is not going to work. Either you can stop pointing fingers or you can start telling, either pointing the
finger at the developer or pointing the finger
at the business analyst, saying that, you know what, the requirements were
not gathered properly, you did not communicate that properly. Or as you come up for that time, what is the solution that you’re going to present to your management. Okay, we are gonna miss this deadline. But how do you constructively rather than not, making sure that the team doesn’t feel kind of demoralized, or not even pointing fingers. How do you constructively come up with a solution and present it to the manager, making sure you give all the positives that are gonna come and go into that release. And the one functionality
which is not happening, making sure you are
taking into account that and there is a complete workable solution. You have to identify
what was the root cause. Where did it fail. Okay, so that identification of the, because how do you solve the problem if you don’t identify the issue. So that identification is mandatory whether it’s corporate lifestyle, whether it’s home, whether
it’s something at home or any other community work, if there is an issue to be handled. Because once you know the root cause then you can come up with the solution. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Paul] Describe a
situation where you worked with a group of people, and
they went in a direction to which you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – So this happens quite a bit when you start with a project, whether it’s, again, I can come up with a corporate where
you have the project scope but you find people going
either beyond the scope or not adhering to the scope. Now it becomes quite important to not be disrespectful of what their opinions are or how they plan to handle it. But it is very important to adhere to the 90%, 95% of what the project is supposed to deliver. Because if you put everyone’s energy into something which was never expected out of that project, then you have reached nowhere. So the time and energy
has to be well spent. But it has to be done very respectfully. Because there comes a point, typically in corporate lifestyle, that a senior might have some, okay, this is the way
I’m gonna skin the cow and skin the cat, and
this is the way it worked, and you have young people saying, okay that was very old. Now this is a new way how we are gonna develop the code. Typically there is an impasse between the developers, between, I’ve seen that innumerable times. So you take the opinion of the seniors. You take the, at times,
the limited experience of the developer. And you try to come up
with the best solution that can be a workable solution in the given time, and
not going too far away from whatever is the scope of the project. – [Tracey] Number 10. What kind of time
commitment do you believe is involved for this position? And besides attending regularly scheduled board meetings, how much additional time, average hours per week, are you willing to commit to the boards
tasks and functions? – Personally I want to
derive my satisfaction now, not through corporate lifestyle, but more through community work. So I think I, with both my kids nearly, next year he’s a senior, this year a junior, so he’s. I have typically I am back home by 3:30. And I do not, fortunately
I do not have any other responsibility of
parents or anything else. So I think I can commit myself to at least, I would
say, six, seven hours, seven, 10 hours in a week. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Willy] As a board
member, you may be asked to make decisions where you must put aside what’s best for you,
your family, your friends and your school to do what’s best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – Okay, so what I have absolutely no issue putting aside what’s good for me, because this is not about me. What’s good for my family, my family’s not at stake here, or they are not the, I am not working for my family, I’m
working for the community. What’s good for the school, I will, frankly speaking, I will ponder over it. If it is a decision to be made between school, because school is part of the community. So they are not separate entities. So it has to be the right
decision for the school too, for the students too. Because my heart is there. So that is one thing, I hope I’m answering
your question. (laughs) – [Bobbie] Thank you. And the last question, is
there any other information about your candidacy
that you would like us to consider that has
not already been shared with us during this interview,
or in your resume as well? – I don’t have anything that, I’m no Hollywood Bollywood star. (laughs) – [Bobbie] (laughs) Okay. – So I’m an ordinary working class mom trying to make a difference. And yes what I think I have been, I have learned through my kids. I’ve grown as a mother, as a human being, through my kids. So I have tried, whether you think you can do this to your child, explain this to your child, and how things have evolved
and not the way you want. I don’t know what to say, but there is not much anything that spectacular that, you
know, Smita’s come on news, and, nothing of that nature. I’m just a hardworking individual. – [Bobbie] Thank you. Are there any questions for clarification that board members have? No. Wonderful, thank you for your interest, for being here, and for
taking the time this evening. We appreciate it. – Thank you, thank you so much. Thank you board, have
a nice one, all of you, Bobbie, Kathy, Dennis, thank you Willy, thank you Tracey. – It was lovely to meet you. – [Smita] Thank you. – Could you pass me a tissue? – Yes. – I just need one. – Back on track. – All right, let’s see. – Get me the water, can you? Great. – [Crystal] Hi. – Hi. – How are you? – [Crystal] Good. (board chattering) – Hi, how are you? – [Crystal] I’m fine, how are you? – I am very well, thank you. Thank you for being here Ms. Cannon. I’ll explain a little
bit how the process works for us this evening. We’re asking every candidate
the same 12 questions. We’ve allowed about 20
minutes per interview, that is roughly about
two minutes per question, just to give you a time frame. You don’t have to time
yourself or anything, just so that you know that. I will start with the questions and then we’ll move in this direction and then go back and then
I’ll finish the questions, and just feel free to
share what you’d like. We did all get a copy of your resume, so we have all that information as well. And thank you for being here. I’ll start with the first question. If you’d just like to tell us a little bit about yourself, your
family and your history in the Novi Community School District. – Okay, (laughs) I’m sorry. – [Bobbie] That’s okay. It takes a little getting used to, you’ll be fine. – Well, I’m a mom. I have a seven year old daughter. We lived in Novi when she was born, but we’re originally from Detroit, then by way of Ypsilanti, then to Novi. I’m a teacher. I’ve been teaching French and Spanish in Detroit for the last 25 years. Let me think. At Cass Technical High School and Renaissance High School before that. Let me think. I have two adult daughters who never lived in Novi. Let me think, anything else. Oh, I went to Wayne State University and I studied in France for some time. – [Bobbie] Wonderful. And how long have you lived here in Novi? – Seven years, eight years. – [Bobbie] Okay, thank you. – [Dennis] What skills and experience do you offer as a
prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – Well I’m not, to be honest, I’m not exactly, I have an idea of what a school board does. I have never been on
a school board before. I’m a teacher and I know that the school board, working for the schools in Detroit, I know that the school board generally has jurisdiction
over the schools and that they make
decisions for the schools. And I’m a critical thinker. I feel like I’m good at making decisions, at decision-making. And there have been times in my life when I could not understand why a school board made
such and such decision, and I always thought that I could probably do it better. (laughs) (board laughs) and so here I am. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. Number three. Are you an advocate for public education, and explain. – I’m definitely an advocate
for public education. I attended all public schools. I never attended a private school. Not that I have anything
against private schools, but I believe in public education. I believe in a strong community, strong public schools for the community. I believe that the public schools are the backbone of our country. And I believe that the public schools should be there for anyone
who wants an education, and a good education. – [Paul] (speaking foreign language) – (speaking foreign language. – [Paul] So in your
opinion what is the role of a board member and
what would you consider micromanagement as it
pertains to this role? – As far as I would, I would think that the role of a board member would be to make decisions for the community, to listen to the community’s needs, to listen to what the community has to say about what they need. To pay attention to what’s going on in the community and how
you can make the schools in the community better. And to find solutions, make decisions that are helpful for
the community at large. – [Paul] And then what would you consider micromanagement as it
pertains to this role? – I would consider micromanagement visiting the schools and
going in the classrooms and telling individual teachers or principals what to do. – [Paul] Thank you. – [Tracey] Hi. – Hi. – [Tracey] Number five. What are the strengths of
Novi Community Schools. – Well, I read that
there were five schools that were listed in Metro Parent, that’s a magazine that I read for parents, that were listed as some of the best schools in Michigan. I read that Deerfield was at one point the number one school in Michigan. I know that the schools are nurturing and caring, that the
teachers are hardworking. The schools are safe
places for our children. I know that some of the
high school students were accepted to Harvard and Purdue, and some of them received perfect scores on their SAT. Let me think, what else do I know? I think that the Novi School District has just been a good
district for this community, as far as I can tell. I’ve not heard any negative things about the district. – [Tracey] Thank you. – You’re welcome. – [Willy] Here’s a situation
we’d like you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher’s being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to the parent? – I would ask the parent, first off, have they spoken to the teacher? Have they met with the teacher? Have they heard the teacher’s side? I’m a high school French
teacher, so, (laughs) come to me first, before
you go to the school board. That’s my feeling. And if they still feel
the way that they feel, have they spoken to the principal, or the assistant principal, just to kinda work their way up the ladder, not just to go straight
to the school board. – [Willy] Thank you. – [Dennis] What is more
important to you and why? Board members accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding their
superintendent responsible for district performance? – I would think it would be more important to hold the superintendent accountable for district performance, I would think. – [Dennis] And why is that? – Well, can you repeat
the question one time? – [Dennis] No problem. What is more important to you and why? Board members accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding the
superintendent accountable for district performance. – Well, yeah, I say
holding the superintendent accountable for district performance, because at the end of the day, what’s important is the
students’ education, and I feel like if there is some, I don’t know, and now I’m thinking about it. Well, I just think that
at the end of the day the students’ education
will be the bottom line. That’s my feeling. – [Kathy] Okay, number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable, and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation, and what was the resolution? – Well, I guess I have to
go back to the classroom. I had a student who was absent and she returned to
school and did not request make-up work until she saw her grade some weeks later. And then she was angry
with me about her grade. Well, she was blaming me for her grade, and she wanted me to give her make-up work for weeks in the past that she had. And so we had a meeting and I decided not to give her the make-up work, because I felt that it was rewarding her bad behavior. I did say that these are the things you need to do in the future, but I would not fix it for her. I felt that that was a natural consequence of her behavior. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Bobbie] All right. – [Paul] Describe a situation where you work with a group of people and they went in a direction to which you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and ultimate decision? – Well, I’m a part of several groups. I’m vice president of a
group of French teachers, and sometimes they do go in ways that I don’t agree with. Generally when I’m faced with decisions that I don’t agree with, I try to find evidence of why I think that they should go
in the opposite direction, and then I present the evidence. And also I listen to evidence. If there are studies, or if I can find, I do research on any given topic, whatever it might be. And then if they still decided after looking at the evidence that they wanted to go in that direction, then I’d just accept it and move on. – [Tracey] Number 10. What kind of time
commitment do you believe is involved for this position. And besides attending regularly scheduled board meetings, how much additional time, average hours per week, are you willing to commit to the board’s
tasks and functions? – That might be my
problem, ’cause I’m a mom and a teacher, and time is, I don’t have a whole
lot of it to be honest. I was imagining that you would meet maybe once a month, but
I’m not sure exactly what the time commitment is. – [Willy] Thank you. As a board member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what is best for you, your family, your friends and your school, to do what is best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – Wow. Well, it’s difficult for me to, to be honest, it’s
difficult for me to imagine a decision that wouldn’t
be beneficial for me if it’s beneficial for
the rest of the community. It’s difficult for me to imagine that To be honest. – [Willy] Okay. – [Bobbie] All right. Is there any additional information about your candidacy that you’d like us to consider that has
not already been shared with us during this interview or in your resume or application? – Not that I can think of. – Okay, that’s it.
– That’s it. – [Bobbie] Oh, excuse me. Question for clarification, Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] In your application form, you’d mentioned that you were concerned about education in Novi. Can you give some examples of what you’re concerned about? – Well just the future of Novi, ’cause my daughter’s only in second grade, and so I just want things to
go right for her basically. – [Dennis] Great, thank you. – Okay, thank you. – [Bobbie] All right, thank
you again for being here. It was lovely to meet you. – Thank you it was nice meeting you all. – [Paul] Thank you very much. – Take care, thank you. – [Man] Sneezes. – [Tracey] God bless you. – We’ve all got the sneezes tonight. At least three of us do. You do not. I have one more before our break. – [Jean] Hi. – Hi, we are good, how are you. – [Jean] Good, good. I’m Jean. – Wonderful, thank you for being here. Oh, you get called Jean,
so we’ll refer to you as Jean Hang? – [Jean] Yes, yes. – Great, well thank you for being here. We are the Novi Board of Education. The way this’ll work is
we have about 20 minutes allotted per interview. It’s about two minutes per question, cause we have 12 questions. The same 12 questions we’re
asking every candidate. I will start with the first question, we move for Mr. O’Connor, around, back to Mr. O’Connor and then I will end with the final question. – [Jean] Sounds good. – Okay, so we’ll just go
ahead and get started. Do you wanna just start by telling us a little bit about yourself, your family and your history in the Novi
Community School District? – Absolutely. So I really love Novi. I have been living in
the community since 2002. I have two kids, my older daughter now is Michigan State
University sophomore. She graduated from Novi High School a couple years ago and
she’s been very active with all the activities here. And my younger one, she is 15. She is sophomore in Novi High School. She’s a very active in ski, diving, track and coed bowling. And myself have always been working in the State of Michigan in different. I practice law and in particular intellectual property,
and I have always been living and working in this community here. I have been volunteering
with my daughter’s ski team and being actively involved and doing some, also I do some of the volunteer work for Chinese Community here, and also I’m tryin’ to be more engaged with some legislation event at Lansing. I just actually was at Equal Pay Day over the East Lansing area this morning. So this is my area, my home town, and very affectionate
about this community here. – [Dennis] What skills and experience do you offer as a prospective board member and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – The most important thing is, I think, thank you for the question. The most important thing is, I think the attachment,
my emotional attachment and just physical
attachment to the community. The fact that my kids were educated here, well attended by the students, by the teachers and professors
here in the community. As to my capacity, I think I have been practicing law, the area
being in management positions. I may not be very well versed in terms of education system itself. I was never a teacher, but I think that with over 20 years
in professional setting I believe I will be quickly
versed into the system and I have good interpersonal skills. I like to work with people. So that I believe that I should take a very short time for me to be a full contributor to the position. – [Kathy] Thank you. Number three. Are you an advocate for public education, and explain. – Oh yes, thank you
Kathy for the question. Both my kids were educated
in public school system, and I do advocate and I do believe public school education is
a good fit for my children from my own perspective. And so I will fully support that. – [Willy] In your
opinion, what is the role of a board member, and also
what would you consider micromanagement as it
pertains to this role? – Thank you, Willy for your question. I think my goal and the
vision for the position, if I were to be chosen, I think I would like to have my 20-some professional life experience to be able to provide me with a vision, a video, to be used for the organization here, and to be able to set, I think, to be able to provide a
goal setting prospective for the team, for the organization. Sorry, Willy, what’s the second question? – [Willy] Part two is,
what would you consider micromanagement as it
pertains to this role? – I think micromanagement, I welcome, I think at my age, and I think
in my professional level, I think I wouldn’t really fully, to be honest with you, I think micromanagement has limited uses, in my opinion. But I think sometimes it
depends on the experience level. Sometimes if a younger
associate in my career-wise, I think, giving them a
hand-held guidance is helpful. But for people who really
have a view or goal in their professional setting in life, this may not be, in my opinion, it might have limited use in my opinion. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number five. What are the strengths of
Novi Community Schools? – The strengths. I think I can speak, thank you for the question, Tracey. I think from my perspective,
in my experience, I think, I can speak from my children, speak from their friends
and my interactions with them and their parents. I think the strength is
the community setting, very close-knit support from the parents, that I don’t see from
other school districts, which I value very much
for this Novi High School. And also the academic emphasis and also love and
affection for the sports. I think these all together play very well for bringing our kids and children to who they want to be
and how they value that. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Paul] Here’s a situation
we want you to analyze. A parent calls you to
complain about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to this parent? – Thank you Paul. I think that scenario
can be all very common. And I think the first thing I have to do is I really need to look at the bylaws, look at the procedure
books, look to guidelines and to look for some guidance in that. Talk to my fellow trustee members to come with a solution that is consistent with school policy and board policies. That’s number one. Number two, I think to reduce conflict, to minimize potential exposure
of school and the board, to any potential legal and unnecessary exposures, that’s number two. And I think the most important thing is to make sure the kids involved, the family involved,
they are taken care of in all capacity with the
least amount of exposure. And I think that their emotional, in my understanding, from a parent, from a mom, from a school
activity supporter, and I think be human, be listener, be affectionate helps a lot, sometimes better than legal resources. So just be affectionate. So that’s my opinion. – [Dennis] What is more
important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding our
superintendent accountable for district performance? – Thank you for the question. Collaboration, well
understanding of the policy and guidance and supporting each other and make sure the school functionality and the board goals
are well taken care of. – [Kathy] Okay? – Yeah, Kathy. – [Kathy] Number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – Thank you for the question. Holding some accountable. I think if I may approach this question, I think, before we get into
holding someone accountable, I would almost make sure
that we as a policy setter in terms of the board
capacity organization, we have to have very
good defining settings, rules and policies in place. In my opinion, I wouldn’t, and I certainly don’t want to be held liable for things that there
was no policy rules set ahead of time. So in my opinion, I think we should, the first step is we work at settings, rules and policies,
make sure they defining, they are detailed enough that there are no vagueness and abstractness. And then once we have
those all set in place, and I think of whoever’s conduct that it is really an
outlier to those policies. And I think we wouldn’t
have too much disagreement and policy setting and discipline action if that would be well
taken care in that regard. That’s just my opinion. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. – [Willy] Okay, describe a situation where you worked with a group of people and they went in a direction in which you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – Thank you for that question. I think that’s a very common question in my everyday practice, and very much so. I run into those
situations where I interact with clients, I interact
with my supervisors, interact with people working around me. We don’t always have the same agreement to many issues. I think my experience has
been I always want to listen, analyze issues that could potentially make me feel why I’m, I’m not in total agreement with others. Write down pros and cons of
each individual involved, their concepts, why they think they think, and analyze it within a team. So come up with a more
reasonable solution. I think I’m making this sound a lot more easier than done. But I think the most important thing, in my opinion, is to listen,
write down pros and cons, good and bad, and analyze
from this point on. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number 10. What kind of time
commitment do you believe is involved for this position? And besides attending regularly scheduled board meetings, how much additional time, average hours per week, are you willing to commit to board tasks and functions. – Okay, thank you Tracey. My older one is already in college. My younger one is a
sophomore, and so right now I’m reasonably more available than I was, I would say five years ago. So I think three nights a
week and plus one weekend that I can contribute. – [Paul] As a board
member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what’s best for you,
your family, your friends and your school, to do what’s best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – Thank you for the question Paul. What’s best for the school. I think during the day I practice law, I pay duty to my clients and then once I’m off that capacity
and I’m on the board, I think I pay duty to the board member, the trustees and the school system. So I will adhere to the rules and policy, do what’s best for the organization when I’m in that capacity. – [Paul] Thank you. – [Bobbie] All right, last question. So, is there any additional information about your candidacy,
that you would like us to consider that has
not already been shared with us during the
interview, or your resume? – If I may just say a few things. I was born and raised in China. I came to State of Michigan,
lived ever since, since 1993. I am bilingual, both
professionally both in writing form and speaking form. And so I would like that to be considered as a add-on if there is. This community is very diverse and my children, they have many friends who have very different
ethnic backgrounds. So I hope this add-on
feature that I possess will help with facilitating some functions that the board could use of me. – [Bobbie] Thank you. Are there any follow-up
questions for clarification the board would like to ask? That’s it. Thank you so much Jean. – Well thank you, thank you very much for having me. And I look forward to contribute. – [Bobbie] Thank you for your interest. It’s wonderful to meet you. – Thank you. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – Have a good night. – [Bobbie] You too. We are going to take a
brief break, it’s 7:24. We’re gonna resume at
7:30, which is a little ahead of schedule. If everybody’s okay with that. – [Woman] That’s fine. – [Bobbie] Okay. I’m going to let Shelia know we’ll start at 7:30. – This evening our next applicant is Ms. Allison Dolin. Thank you for being here. – [Allison] Thank you for having me. – I’ll explain a little bit about how the process works. We’ve allowed about 20
minutes per interview, that’s about two minutes per question because we have 12 questions that we’re asking every candidate, same 12 questions. I will start with the first question. We’ll move to Mr. O’Connor
and go in this direction and I’ll finish with the final question. Okay, so if you would like to just start by telling us a little bit about yourself, your family and your history in the Novi Community School District. – I have four children. Well, first of all, I’ve lived in Novi for more than 20 years. All of my children were born here. We lived here when they were born, and they’ve all gone
through the Novi Schools. Two have graduated, one is at Purdue and one is at South Carolina, and I have a freshman and a junior at the high school now. I worked in finance for
years and years and years. I worked for what is now JP Morgan, was First Chicago NBD at
the time, and then Bank One. I took a six year hiatus
after having my third child. Went back to work at Ford, where I worked in the treasury on the securitization, Lease Securitization Program, which is what I had done for the bank, and once again took a early retirement about six years ago. So it’s time for me to
get back into something. I don’t want a full time job, and I would love to be able to give back to the community in such a manner as the school board. And my husband and I
reside in Island Lake, and kids, and dog. (board laughs) – [Bobbie] Fine, thank you. – [Dennis] Can you tell us what skills and experience that you have to offer as a prospective board member and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – I have so many skills to offer. My financial and analytical background would come into play. I’m not afraid to ask questions, as many of you know. I am very open to also listening to other people’s ideas and suggestions. I never think that I
have the right answer. I have an opinion and it can be changed, it can be modified. I have a curiosity, a natural curiosity, and quest for information, and tryin’ to get things
done right the first time. I work very well in team environments. I can also lead a group or research things on my own. I am definitely, I’m very
much a people person. I am skilled, as I said, with analytics and the finance, but I also have, from a very very long time ago, a brief stint as a
teacher, which I do feel gives me an understanding,
albeit very slight, as to what some of the
frustrations of teaching and trying to get children to understand what you’re saying to them can be. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. Number three. Are you an advocate for
public education and why? – I am absolutely an
advocate for public education because I have had four children that are going through it. I think it’s crucial and critical to our country that public education continue to thrive and
thrive a little better in areas where it hasn’t
been doing so well. Novi obviously is
exceptional in that area. I think we need to continue to exceed and accomplish as much as we can for the children, the students. I don’t think, I’m not,
how would I say this? Not like I’m an un-advocate
for private education, but I think public education is absolutely paramount and vital. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Paul] Okay, in your
opinion, what is the role of a board member, and
it’s a two part question. And also, what would you
consider micromanagement as it pertains to this role? – That is a very good question. I have a lot to learn about exactly what the role of the board is. I have a very good idea. I’ve attended many board meetings, and I have watched many board meetings after the fact at home. I believe that the board, most important is to set policy, to steer the direction of the school district. Micromanaging would be trying to do the superintendent’s job or one of the other administrator’s job. That’s not my job, or wouldn’t be my job. We can, as a board, definitely get the policy set, set the tone, set the direction. But I don’t wanna sit
in Dr. Matthews’ office and do his job for him. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number five. What are the strengths of
Novi Community Schools? – Oh, so many. I think we do an excellent job of educating the children. The vast vast majority of children. There are some children,
and very specific, that I think still struggle. You asked me for the strengths, I’m sorry, I put up a weakness. But overall, just look at
our numbers, they’re amazing. Look at our teachers, they’re phenomenal. I think the administration
does a good job. I think the communication is good. I think you have access
to as much information as anybody wants. I don’t think anybody could say that they lack for it if they’re willing to put a little time and effort into getting it. And sometimes you don’t even need to put the time and effort into getting it, it’s right there for you. I think overall, I’ve had four kids almost finished, two left to go, and by and far the teachers that we’ve had have been phenomenal. And that really is the crux
of a good school district. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Willy] Here’s a situation
we want you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to this parent? – I would inquire as to whether that parent has spoken,
if the child has spoken to the teacher. Make sure the child thinks he or she is being treated unfairly. If that has occurred,
then encourage that person to go speak to the
principal at that school. You need to follow the chain, so to speak. I don’t think an individual board member is really anywhere in that chain. – [Dennis] What is more
important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding our
superintendent accountable for district performance? – Wow, could you repeat that please. – [Dennis] No problem.
What is more important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding our
superintendent accountable for district performance. – Are they mutually exclusive? I think both are very important. I would say one of the
main responsibilities of the board is to hold the superintendent and administration responsible for plotting the policies that the board has implemented and
implementing them well, so that you see that success. Equally, I don’t know that I could put one over the other. I think it is very very important that the board respect each other and treat each other well, particularly in public. (laughs) Whether they’re into
each other in private, that’s another thing. (laughs) But certainly at the board meeting I think it’s paramount that you be respectful and reasonable. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. Number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – Where I was the one,
do my children count? Sorry, give me a second to
think about an example here. – [Bobbie] You’ve got time
to think for a minute. – As the president, so it’s kind of, this subdivision that I live in, I’m the president of one
part of the subdivision, and I’m just on the board
for different parts. So the part where I’m the president, the management (clears throat) excuse me, the management company needed to get something done and
it was not getting done. After writing a couple emails and a couple phone calls, and then I asked, I started with phone calls to the
person who’s responsible, the person I’d been interacting with. Went to daily phone calls to that person. And then asked for a
meeting with the manager of that person that was involved hiring a third party. And then ultimately I said, okay, I want to get together with the person that I’m dealing with primarily and the third party who actually needs to do the job, and make sure that the communication is effective. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. – [Willy] Describe the situation where you work with a group of people, and they went in a different direction which you were adamantly opposed to. How did you participate
in the group discussion and the ultimate decision? – I honestly can’t think of an example in which a group that I was involved with went in a way that I was so opposed to. Typically, while I
might not agree with it, I can typically see other
people’s perspective. So I honestly can’t think
of a good example of that. I would typically, while
it might not have been my first choice, I can’t, I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a situation where it was really just absolutely opposite of what I wanted to have occur. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number ten. What kind of time
commitment do you believe is involved in this position. And besides attending regularly scheduled board meetings, how much additional time, average hours per week, are you willing to commit to
board tasks and functions? – I’ve been assuming that this would take probably up to 10 hours per week. Between doing research,
especially early on as I’m learning. And I understand I remember from ages ago, I think it was when Ms.
I can never pronounce her name correctly. – [Bobbie] Glubzinski. – Thank you. Showing that there is a training program through Lansing about, what
are the responsibilities, how do you act on a board, et cetera. I would fully anticipate doing as much of that as I can, so that I can offer as much to the board as quickly as possible. I can come up to speed and do things correctly. And sorry let me also add, I am willing to put in
more time than that, and I’m sure that it varies from week-to-week and month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter, depending on what’s going on. I’m not concerned in the least about the time commitment, since I am not paid to
be working any time now. – [Dennis] For example when we have 21 people to interview
over a two week period. (board laughs) – When you’re expecting four probably? Yes, that would fall into the. – [Paul] As a board
member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what’s best for you and your family, your friends and your
school, to do what’s best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – I have absolutely no
problems with that whatsoever. I absolutely think you need to do what’s right for the greater good, especially in a board position or any leadership position. To do something that’s so selfish would not be in the best interest of really anybody because in the long run it’s gonna hurt the school district if I’m not doing what’s right for the school district, which then comes back and hurts everybody at Novi. – [Bobbie] Great. – Oh, I thought of a situation where, although I wasn’t
directly involved, where I was, many of you might remember, not exactly a fan of Deerfield going to a neighborhood school. And I did argue vehemently against that, and yet when it went to
a neighborhood school, that was it, the decision was made, and moved forward and you embrace it,
welcome the new people, don’t pout, go on. – [Bobbie] All right. So the last question, is
there any other information about your candidacy
that you would like us to consider that has not
already been shared with us during this interview or in
the application or resume. – I will say that I forgot
one volunteer position as I was updating my resume the other day. 2015 to 16, I tutored a young lady who was at Vista Maria, I don’t know if you all are familiar with that program. I tutored her for the year. I hope to do it again, honestly, when my children are gone,
because it was the timing, I didn’t realize it was all after school, that all the mentoring
had to happen after school and that was just a little
bit of a time constraint with my family. But I thoroughly enjoyed that and learned a lot and hopefully it was a positive influence on the girl I was mentoring. I also didn’t include
some of the smaller things that I’ve done over time. Such as helping with the baskets for the Green Gala and
some things like that. I just really kinda focused on some of the larger things. I also would say that if I am chosen to be on the board, I would absolutely intend to run for the
next, when the term is up. I would absolutely be committed to stay, trying to win the board
position in an election. I really think that I would be a very strong asset to
join all of you fine folk on the board. – [Bobbie] Great, follow-up questions? – [Dennis] What if you weren’t chosen, would you still consider
running for election? – I would. It would depend on who
I’m running against, because if there’s current board members and they have that experience, I’m a little more reluctant to run. I think the board does a great job, I don’t feel that I
should be ousting anybody that’s on it. – [Bobbie] Another follow-up
question, Mr. Mena? – [Willy] I didn’t ask anybody else, but I’ve run into so
many different places. Just out of curiosity, one thing, if you could improve one
thing in this district what would it be? – [Bobbie] Okay, we can’t count that, just so you know, because we didn’t ask anybody else. – [Willy] Okay, fine,
but I still wanna know. It’s still gonna be considered as part of my decision making process. – Improving, and there
aren’t many of them. But I think one area
that we could improve on is helping with the lower
performing teachers. Trying to bring them up, or
if you can’t bring them up, moving them out. And I know that’s a whole can of worms, but that would be the. – [Willy] Okay, thank
you, I appreciate that. – [Bobbie] Great, thanks for being here. – Thank you. – [Bobbie] Thanks for your
interest in the position. – Good luck on your decision. – [Bobbie] Thank you. Would you let Mrs. Holly
know on your way out that we’re ready for the next candidate? – [Alison] I will. What’s the timing on decision? – We’ll be discussing tomorrow at 6:00. You should get an email from Mrs. Holly probably when you get home, maybe even, kind of explaining that we’ll be having that discussion and then at the meeting on the 12th we will be hopefully have the recommendation
for the entire board. It’s a Committee of the Whole that is meeting tomorrow night. – [Alison] Okay, thank you. Have a good evening. – Thank you. – You do the same. – There’s so many of ’em, Can anybody not ask additional questions, everybody asks the same questions. And that this one (speaking faintly). – So what’s the follow-up then on our asking now? – The follow-up is for clarification only. (speaking faintly) process a thought. – Yeah. – I appreciate you wanna know that, but if you don’t ask the
other candidates that, that’s not a level playing field. – I still think it’s level. – Hi, how are you? – [Binyamin] I’m good. – Great, thank you for being
here with us this evening. – [Binyamin] Thank you for havin’ me. – I am going to ask you to
pronounce your name for us so we don’t say it wrong. – [Binyamin] My first name is, you can just call me Bin, and my last name is Qamruzzaman. – [Bobbie] Qamruzzaman? And we can call you Bin, wonderful. Well thank you for being here. And we are the Novi Board of Education and I’ll explain a little bit about how the process
works and how it’s worked for every candidate. We have the same 12 questions we’re asking each candidate. We’ve allowed about 20
minutes per interview. We’re not having any
difficulty meeting that for the most part. It’s about two minutes per question on the average, but you don’t need to time yourself unless you want to. I will ask the first question. And then we will move to Mr. O’Connor and it will kinda go around the board, skipping me, and then I will ask the final question of the evening. To sorta get started, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself, your, excuse me, your family and your history in the Novi
Community School District. – My family and my history in the Novi Community School District? – [Bobbie] Yourself, you
family and your history in the school district. – Okay, well I’m by myself. I’m a mechanical engineer
for Ford Motor Company. I design electric cars for them. Prior to that I worked
for the Defense Department doin’ air defense systems
that are now in operation. These air defense systems were redesigned and restructured after
the September 11th attacks ’cause we realized there were some holes and gaps in the air defense. And so my job was to do some
technology upgrades to it so we had more smart technology incorporated from 2001 to 2011. So we wanted to upgrade it. And after that project was over I started workin’ for Homeland Security to upgrade the security
systems within the airports, of every airport in the US. College and then I was in
the Marines for five years. What else, my history, I grew up in Novi. I was born here. My whole family was, all
my brother and sisters grew up here. My brother currently lives in Novi. He has three kids in the school system, one’s in second grade,
one’s in kindergarten, one’s in preschool. I graduated from Novi High School. My parents moved here in ’79,
a year before I was born. We’ve been here since then. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – [Dennis] What skills and experience do you offer as a prospective board member and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – I think that I have natural inherent critical thinking skills. Being an engineer, I
didn’t go into engineering because I found it
interesting or I liked it, it was something that I
happened to be good at. I just naturally had
the brain to understand certain physics and
sciences, so it was easier. And I understand the level of complexity and issues and how to analyze it, and how to break ’em down, how to make certain things simple, and how to understand
the complexity of those that you can’t simplify. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. Number three. Are you an advocate for
public education, and explain. – Yes, I’m an advocate
for public education because I don’t see any reason why I would be against it. It’s education and it’s necessary. – [Willy] Next question
is a two part question. What is the role of a board member? And then, what would you
consider micromanagement as it pertains to this role? – The role of the board
member is like an executive, the way I see it, and
my understanding of it is it’s like, in a corporate setting, board of trustees, board of investors, stuff like that, that
you just make decisions. But everything is done behind the scenes. All the work and the emails, the legwork is all done behind the scenes. You show up, you discuss the issues that you have to vote
on and you vote on ’em. As far as micromanaging, what would I do as a micromanager, would just be, I guess an internal staff to make sure that I have the right experts to tell
me what I need to know or tell me what I don’t know so I can make an informed decision. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number five. What are the strengths of
Novi Community Schools. – They’re one of the best
educators I’ve known. I was surprised to see how
good the school systems and the education that
I received in Novi was when I traveled around
the rest of the country and saw what other areas had, what kind of programs they had. And there’s a major disparity between the top 1% and the bottom
1% of public schools. And so Novi is definitely the top 1%. They create great athletes,
they create great minds. Many successful people are from Novi, including Sanjay Gupta, for instance. He’s pretty impressive. – [Paul] (coughs) Excuse me. – First of all, thank you for your service to the country as a Marine. Here’s the situation
we’d like you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to this parent? – This is like, if I’m on the phone, all of a sudden, and I
have to basically come up with a response to the parent? First off I would tell the parent that I deeply apologize for
whatever trouble she had to go through whatever
troubles her son went through. I would tell her that I will contact the teacher and the principal of that school. We’ll discuss her side of the story and I would pretty much
get her side of the story right at that moment. – [Dennis] What’s more
important to you and why? Board members accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding their
superintendent accountable for district performance? – Oh, that’s a good one. Holding each other accountable or holding the superintendent accountable. Which one is more important? Because I think both of are.
– In one. – That’s a good one. Initial response, I would say I would probably wanna
hold the board members more accountable, ’cause we
are the final decision makers. It’s obviously important
to hold the superintendent accountable as well, but you can replace the superintendent if
we needed to do that. But we definitely need to
hold each other accountable and make sure that everyone is doin’ their proper authority and duties. – [Dennis] Thank you. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. Number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable, and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – That’s happened a
number of different times in my life and every single time I’ve handled it differently because every situation is different. When I was in the Marines
we had some people who were collectin’ their paycheck but not performin’ their duties. And that upset me, so I did what any typical Marine would do. I laid down the law and
said, earn your paycheck. Later on in college there was a project that me and a couple
other students had to do. We all had our specific duties and if one of us fell
short, the whole project was in jeopardy. With him, it took a little
bit more tact and diplomacy because you can’t just lay your, if you don’t have iron fist authority you can’t lay iron fist authority down, so I chose a more diplomatic approach of trying to reason and talk to the person and make him understand
that this is important and he needs to step up to his level. Another time, this is
back when I was workin’ with the Defense Department. There was a contractor who
refused to work with us. Every time we came up
with an idea or a solution or a task, he had some pushback and always gave us some problems. I wanted to so badly just lay down my fist and lay down the law
and force him to do it. But I didn’t, I went
with diplomacy instead, and tried to negotiate with him. I even bent over backwards myself, just to give him some more leeway and thinking that he got
the better part of the deal. But really it was just, I got him to do what I wanted him to do,
when making him think that he got the better part of the deal. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Willy] Describe a
situation where you work with a group of people and they went in a different direction to which you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – Can you repeat the first
part of the question? – [Willy] Sure, describe a
situation where you worked with a group of people and they went in a different direction to which you were adamantly opposed. They went in a direction to which you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – That’s like the story of my life. Whenever this happens, I always try to give my piece, and put whatever effort I can to sway the decision
or sway the people who I think are movin’ incorrectly. But in the end it’s a
majority rules program, majority rules society, and I still have to contribute my end, and
I still have to do my job. So even if I don’t agree
and I would prefer not to, I still do what I have to do. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number 10. What kind of time commitment
do you believe is involved for this position? And besides attending regularly
scheduled board meetings, how much additional time,
average hours per week, are you willing to commit to the board’s tasks and functions. – I’m not quite sure how
many issues there are, and what the issues are. So I’m not quite sure if I can estimate the amount of legwork that
would be required for that. I would venture to guess that we have three hours a week for the board meeting and then maybe nine more hours a week for the legwork. And if that is incorrect,
and I have to commit more, I can commit more. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Paul] As a board
member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what is best for you,
your family, your friends and your school to do what is best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – Doing the right thing. Let me elaborate a little bit more. As an elected official, you have to serve the people who elect
you, which technically are the parents. But we work for the students, so it would always have to be for what the students
need and what’s best. What’s best for the school and what’s best for the students I thought
would be synonymous, and if it isn’t I would
go with the students. Do what I have to do. – [Bobbie] And the final question, is there any other information
about your candidacy that you would like us to consider that has not already been shared with us during this interview or in
your application and resume? – Well, my resume, I think, said it all. I didn’t mention that I fought in Iraq for one year in 2005, but I think it is on my resume. – [Bobbie] Well we’re glad
you made it back safe. – Thank you. I also recently ran for Mayor of Novi, I don’t know if anybody
knew that, against Bob Gatt. So I’m not quite sure if that’s something that would be a popular opinion or not popular thing. What else? Oh, I play rugby, and I play with a team that is involved with the youth programs in Ann Arbor. And we coach and teach mentor rugby to high school students there. I would’ve like to maybe bring rugby into Novi as well and
start a youth program here. – [Bobbie] All right, are
there follow-up questions for clarification? – [Dennis] You said that you had mentioned in your application form
that you wanna continue to ensure that the school budget is used to its fullest efficiency. – Yes. – [Dennis] How would
you propose to do that? – Well that’s a complicated thing to do. I would have to get all the budget sheets, I’d have to really just look at it. That’s an analytical thing. If there’s a way you can make
something more efficient, I will try to find a way
to make it more efficient. And if the budget has room for efficiency, I will do that. With whatever methodology that works best. – [Dennis] Great, thank you. – [Bobbie] Thank you. Do you have additional follow-up question? Thank you, it’s wonderful to meet you. We appreciate your
interest in the position. The board will be discussing
it tomorrow night. You’ll get an email probably tonight, I don’t know, maybe even be in your inbox when you get home tonight
about the next steps in our process. – Okay, thank you very much. – [Bobbie] Thank you. It was nice to meet you. – You too. – Even if you’re not selected, to have rugby come into Novi, that’s something I’d love to. – You’d play. – I would try, I would try. – [Bin] Parks and Recs is another thing I was trying to get and was interested in for that same reason. – [Board] Thank you. – I’m crazy enough, I would play in it. – All right, Mrs. King. Hey Tracey, can I borrow a pencil? (Paul laughs) – Well, let me see. – Select a good one for me. – Give her a dull one. – I wouldn’t give her a dull one. – They were unevenly sharpened, mine are, running down on one end. All right. – Which one would you think? – Stop talking. – I’m getting slaphappy in a sense. – A lot more interviews from last year. – Hey Jason, do you wanna let Sheila know that we’re ready for Michelle? Thank you, Mrs. King I
guess I should call her. – I think I know who she is. – She showed up. – Hi. – [Michele] Hello, how is everyone? – Hi, we’re good, how ’bout you? – [Michele] Good. – Thank you for being here. – [Michele] You’re welcome,
thanks for having me, I appreciate it. – I’ll just explain a little
bit about the process. You are Michele King, your name is there, so they will, the camera will focus on you and people will be able to
tell who you are, obviously. We will be asking 12 questions. It’s the same 12 questions we have asked of every candidate. We allow about 20
minutes, it averages about two minutes per question. You don’t have to time yourself, it’s just to give you a ball park. I mean, you can time
yourself if you want to, but we haven’t found it necessary. I will ask the first question, then it will go to Mr. O’Connor. We will move around the board this way and then I’ll ask the final question. – [Michele] Okay. – Okay? So if you would like to
start by just telling us a little bit about yourself, your family and your history in the Novi
Community School District. – My name is Michele King, obviously. My husband and I have lived in our home for 25 years now. My husband actually grew up there. We live on 11 Mile and he’s lived there since he was four. We’ve operated a family owned business. My husband and I have
owned it for 25 years and his parents, I think, originated it back in 1967. So we’re heavily involved in Novi Schools, my husband grew up going to school here. So we’ve kinda been
through all the history and all the changes. We have four children ourselves and a pretty big age gap where our kids are 24 down to 13, so we kind of seen a lot of changes. I’ve been heavily involved in the schools for 20 years now. I have a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Purdue University. And then after we had our second child then I chose to stay home. And after that I’ve pretty much just been about the kids
and advocating for the city and getting involved in the schools. Pretty much you name it and I’ve done it. And I feel that I finally now have time to give back, and would just like to get involved at a higher level now. We’ve enjoyed it greatly, and I feel like I have a lot of experience of just in the classroom, what’s worked, what’s not worked, the changes. I grew up with two public school teachers, so education’s been a
part of my life forever and just very important
part of our family. – [Bobbie] Great, thank you. – [Dennis] So what skills and experience do you offer as a prospective board member and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – I feel like I’m a very good organizer, and I feel like I’ve been very hands-on with the school system. And I feel that because of being hands-on the decisions I have to make, I feel like I’ve seen how it works in the classroom, how it
works for the teachers, how it works for the kids, how it works for the administrators. So I feel like I can bring
first hand experience of what we’re deciding on. I think I could bring experience of how it really works in the classroom or how it really works for the athletes or how it really works
for the kids in general. Most the things that I
chose to get involved in the school system,
I’ve never really sat on a PTO board. I’ve always chose to put my time hands-on with the kids and be
more involved that way. And I just feel like I’ve seen it. I feel like I could
bring a lot of assistance to the changes that have worked, the changes that maybe haven’t worked, and just what I’ve seen in my household, what I’ve seen through all the kids in the community. And I just am always
willing to jump in and help. And with being a stay at home mom, I feel like I could get out during the day and represent the board at things during the school day, and really get involved that way. To maybe make the board
a little more public to the public eye. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. Are you an advocate for
public education, and why? – Absolutely, like I said I was raised with two public school teachers, and I think it’s just wonderful. I think it’s great the diversity that the kids here in Novi experience. I think if you choose a private school you don’t get that experience. And I think you learn to work with all types of people. And I just think that the experience at Novi Schools has been tremendous. I know my son, the other day, said I’m so glad I didn’t go to CC, I’ve gotten such a better education here at Novi. The education level we’re representing at Novi High is just, it’s off the charts. These kids are so lucky. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Willy] What is, in you opinion, what is the role of a board member? And also what would you
consider micromanagement as it pertains to the
role of a board member? – Well first of all, as I’m reading, when I took the time
to read all the mission and the visions and the responsibilities. The thing that struck me the most as wanting to get involved is the sentence that I’m looking at right here, is developing each student’s potential with a world class education. And I feel a board member
is to support that goal. To keep Novi Schools at the level that they’re at. Our job is not to micromanage. It’s not to be the day-to-day, you’re here to support what’s already, all the great things that
are already happening. And the role as a board member is really not to get
involved in the day-to-day, but more to support the bigger goals that the city is working on. Obviously achieving. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number five. What are the strengths of
Novi Community Schools? – I think I’ve said a
few of those already, but obviously the
diversity that these kids are experiencing is incredible. I don’t think you get
that in a lot of cities. My third son is graduating this year and he’s been a more advanced student than my other two kids. And the AP IB experience is, it is literally off the charts. He’s got into U of M and he’s just gonna soar there. Because the teaching is just outstanding. And I think we’re, what are we ranked now in the state? Aren’t we top three in the state now? It’s just incredible. And I think it starts at
the elementary school level and I experienced both
Parkview and Novi Woods with my kids and the
family experience there has just been incredible. And I think that we really need to continue to nurture that family along with their diversity, and to continue to figure out how to make that all work
as we grow and change. And the sporting events,
the equipment they have. That’s really so much
to offer here at Novi for these kids. They are very very lucky students. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Paul] Here’s a situation
we want you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks a
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to this parent? – I don’t think it would be your right to respond directly to that, to have a private
conversation with that parent. I think you would bring the complaint back to the board or the superintendent and make sure that it was handled in the proper channels and get involved if you needed to get
involved at that point. But I don’t think any board member should be singling out,
handling day-to-day operations on their own,
or speaking about that in public until it’s decided on between the board or the superintendent. I think it’s your job to listen and to have a feel for what’s going on in the community and to be able to have an opinion about
it when you’re asked. And I feel like that’s
something that would be, something I could bring is that I’m involved with
having such a age gap in my kids, I’m 24 down to 13, and they’ve all played a lot of sports. I feel like I’m very hands on with people in the community. I feel like I hear what people are saying as far as what changes they like, what changes they don’t like. And I just feel like I could bring a lot of hands-on experience to the board. – [Dennis] What do you
think is more important to you and why? Board members accountability
to each other at the table or board members holding our
superintendent accountable for district performance? – I think those kinda go hand-in-hand to me a bit. I definitely think the
board has to work as a whole and one person just can’t
take their personal agenda and force it down the
rest of the board members. You have to work to be a whole. I really liked when I
read through the bylaws and your responsibilities,
how it even listed in there is that if you’re acting out, pretty much, it’s okay
for another board member to let you know that. Because I think that you have to represent as a whole, but I think that you also, the superintendent needs to be accountable and we would be the governing board to make sure that works. So to me those questions
kinda go together. I don’t know which one I would put above the other. I would hope that they would both happen and that we would all be a part of making them both happen. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. Number eight is describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – What capacity would be the person, are you talking about a teacher, are you talking superintendent? – [Kathy] It’s really up to you. – When you’re reading these bylaws there’s a pretty specific
chain of command, how you report it, how you deal with it. I would hope, I’m sure I would go through the proper channel. But a lot of how I respond a lot of times is if how you’re affecting a child. Is it their safety? Is it just one kid bein’, what would be the circumstance, or what the person that you’re holding accountable had done. I know that I’ve gotten involved at times during the schools, I’m
not afraid to speak out, especially when it comes to kids safety or kids happiness. That I feel calling and
letting somebody know will make a difference for the kids. So I guess it would be
what that person had done and what the severity
of what they were doing and how it would affect the student body. Because, as I put on my application, I really do consider myself
a children’s advocate. And I would definitely
be willing to stand up and put the kids first
and the students first. But I would also realize that there’s a chain of command in how you do it. I wouldn’t just react out in public or take my opinion and run with it. It would have to be a group decision. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Willy] Describe a
situation where you work with a group of people, and they went in a different direction that
you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – I think that if the whole
group is going one way, you eventually, as it says
in most of these bylaws, you eventually want to agree as a group. But I would also hope that
I’m a strong enough person that I would represent my opinion and not just represent it out of feelings but to research it and to know why I was representing my opinion strongly, and whether it be the budget or a policy or how it would affect the kids, how it would affect our community. And also if you come in
strongly with one opinion, but somebody else on the board or a superintendent or somebody puts out a different opinion, I hope that I would have a, I feel that I would have the capacity to go research that other opinion and be open to both sides, but still hold strongly on my own. But as a board, at the
end, I think that your goal is for everybody to
represent their opinion and then come together as the best for the community and
the students ultimately. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number 10. What kind of time
commitment do you believe is involved for this position? And besides attending regularly scheduled board meetings, how much additional time, average hours per week, are you willing to commit to board tasks and functions? – As I said, I feel like
that would be something that would be a positive
for me as a candidate. Because I am a stay at home mom, and I have dedicated,
I feel like I’ve kinda made volunteering for
Novi Schools my career. I gave up my career after
my second child was born. My third son is graduating
and heading off to college, so for us to have one child in the house is going to be very strange. And I feel it’s gonna be a breather for me as a mom and I’m
gonna have extra time. And my husband and I discussed instead of me going back to work, I would rather continue
to dedicate to the kids and our family as well as
to the community of Novi. It’s just been a big part of our life and we wanna give back. So I think that that would be, for me being a stay at home mom, I think it would give me opportunity to represent the board in different ways during the day. And I definitely would be interested in researching the topics. I think I would put in extra time researching the topics
before the meetings. And I have that extra time in my life now. It’s just gonna be nice for me. (laughs) So to answer your question directly, I think it’s gonna be a
big commitment of time. And I’m not going into that blindly. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Paul] Thanks. As a board member you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what is best for you,
your family, your friends and your school, to do what
is best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – I think that this board is representing Novi Community School District, and that means the community in a whole. And I think especially with us being a very diverse school system, there’s a lot of pockets
of different people that are gonna want different things, but we have to represent the community We’re representing the
community as a whole and we have to always remember that. I feel strongly that I would be able to do that for the best of the community and not just for the best of a certain pocket of children. And what’s best for all
the children as a whole is ultimately the best for each pocket, even though sometimes that’s hard to see right off the bat. But I hope that, I would expect myself to take a step back from
just my own interest and be for the good of all the kids. And like I said, I’ve
pretty much dedicated, that’s been my life, is just being a advocate for children. I love it. – [Bobbie] Thank you. So last question. Is there any other information
about your candidacy that you would like us to consider that has not already been shared with us during this interview or in
your application and resume? – I just feel that with
our history in Novi and our tie and our
love for the community, bein’ a business owner
here for over 25 years, being a resident here for over 25 years, volunteering heavily day in and day out for over 20 years, I just feel that I come just with a lot of experience to bring to the board. A lot of things that I can maybe bring up where maybe somebody that’s
sitting behind a desk all day wouldn’t really know that if they hadn’t experienced
it in the classroom, if they hadn’t seen different changes that change what a teacher does, changes what a coach does, changes what an administrator does. I feel like we’ve seen it. We’ve gone through smaller class sizes to bigger class sizes. We’ve gone through less
diverse to more diverse. My family’s seen the changes. And I feel like I would just bring a lot of knowledge first hand how that affects the kids, which ultimately is the goal, is the best for the student body of
Novi Community Schools. – [Bobbie] Are there follow-up questions for clarification. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] Yes, if you
could expand on that a little bit. You’ve mentioned that a couple times now, you’ve been in the classroom so you see what worked
and what doesn’t work. Can you expand on that a little bit? What do you see that’s been good and what do you see that
hasn’t been so good? – Obviously if we coulda
cut the class size a lot smaller and the
reading support bigger, but budget calls, as in
every school district. We haven’t been able to do that. The changes at Novi High with all the AP and IB, it has changed a lot from my first son to my third son. And the amount of courses they can get to, and the level that they’re
teaching at is incredible. I just hope that we can keep that going. And obviously I think
the elementary schools have dealt well with what those, those teachers have taken on a lot. They’ve gone from a smaller class size to a way bigger class size,
to less reading support to more students that don’t
speak the language proficiently. And what they have done and kept the level of education where it is,
they are to be so commended. But a lot of those changes,
those aren’t changes that, the reading support going down. That’s a state-wide,
that’s a nation-wide thing. The number of kids in a classroom. That’s not what Novi chose to do, that’s what we had to do. I just feel like I’ve seen it and to watch those teachers adapt to that has just, to me, been incredible. Especially some of the older teachers, when they really weren’t
given first-hand training on how to deal with a classroom that has kids speaking many languages, reading at many different levels. And their class size went
up 10 to 15 kids per class. And they have just all
responded just great. But would I vote for a smaller class size? Yes, I would. It’d be better, but I
understand a budget also. Anything, just bein’ in the
classroom with the kids, seeing how they respond to different teacher’s personalities, different teacher’s ways. I feel like I just have
a lotta insight to that. – [Bobbie] Great, other
follow-up questions the board has? Great, we thank you for
being with us this evening. – Thank you, thank you for having me. – [Bobbie] You got a
little feel for the board. – And it’s just incredible that we had so many applicants. – [Bobbie] We do too. – It speaks loudly of our community. I really appreciate that. – [Bobbie] It really does, it really does. – [Tracey] Thank you very much. – [Bobbie] Yeah, thank you again. All right, this will be our last one. Lookin’ good, 8:30. Half an hour more. Great. – [Butch] You saved the best for last. – Good evening, yes. Thank you for being here with us. Would you like us to call you Butch? – [Butch] You better. – Okay. – [Butch] Best kept secret in Novi. – (laughs) I’m not sure
that’s much of a secret. Thank you again for your
interest and for being here. I’ll explain a little bit
about how the process works. Same process we’ve used
for each candidate. We have 12 questions that we’ve
been asking every candidate. About 20 minutes we’ve
allowed for interviews. Obviously you’re the last one. We’re not going anywhere, but I’m sure you would like to get home too. I will be asking the first question, then we’ll move to Mr. O’Connor, and we’ll move in this direction and then I’ll wrap it up
with the final question. We do allow for follow-up questions if there’s time, for clarification. So just to start, if you wanna tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your history in Novi
Community School District. – I’ve lived in Novi for 24 years. Had a daughter graduate six years ago. Son three years ago from Novi High School. I’m a sales rep in the
sporting goods industry, have for 38 years. Took an early retirement last June. Now just got back into it
with another sales job. Been very active in the community with a lot of things. You can see by my interest level. Still is, I officiate
high school sports still. I think you saw me at
a, didn’t I officiate one of Novi’s Girl’s games. I officiate high school
basketball and volleyball. So I’ve been pretty active. 64 years old, I’m not retiring to be the starter at
the local golf course. I’ve still got a lot
of get up and go in me, and it’s one of those things. You can tell my activities. I think goin’ back to when I was in high school I played a lot of sports and was active. In college I was real active. And somebody said, is
that where it come from, I said, well you know, growin’ up as a kid when I was nine or 10 year old, who was the one that got the ball game down at the park. Remember when kids used to play at a park or a school, play ball? Well, I was the one that usually was, that’s just my nature
to do stuff like that. So that’s just a brief history, my background and what I’ve done. – [Bobbie] Great, thank you. – [Dennis] So what skills and experience do you offer as a
prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – I think that was one of the questions, I believe, on the sheet. I think basically I’m not
a philosophical expert on the world of education. I’m just a layperson out there. I think when my kids did
go through Novi Schools, whether it would be sports or activities, I always volunteered
to be in the classroom, to be at field events. When my kid played
lacrosse at the high school I was the one that helped issue equipment, and worked right on the field. And so I mean, I am not
an education person, even though I do substitute
teach a little bit in South Lyon right now. That’s about as close as I’ve got to the education end of it. But I feel just the interest in Novi, the interaction with the kids in Novi over the years. That I’ve played an active part, but I do realize there’s a lot more to learn and know as I move down the road. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – [Kathy] Thank you. Number three. Are you an advocate for public education, and please explain. – I would say so. I think I respect the private sector, if that’s what they wanna do, but I think public education is the foundation of our country. And I think we as citizens and taxpayers owe that to our children. I see the advent of charter schools happening around Michigan, and I won’t get on a bandwagon about that, I don’t like what I see with some of that. As an official and as a salesperson, and whatever, dealing with charter schools and how the upper tier, maybe I shouldn’t get off on this. But the upper tier of their administration is way up here, makin’ the money, but they don’t pay their teachers, they don’t take care of facilities, and things like that. So I think the way our foundation, the way our structure is
of our society right now, I feel that public education is still the foundation of the community. – [Willy] In your
opinion, what is the role of a board member? And part two, what would
you consider micromanagement as it pertains to the
role of a board member? – My perspective on it, I don’t know if it’s right or wrong,
it’s just what I feel. I think we’d be the eyes and ears of the community to find out what’s happening out there in the community. I think you would be a
sounding board for parents. Obviously if you’re on the board, you’re in a position, which I’m sure all you folks do. You hear from the community
about what’s going on with the schools, good and bad. I don’t think it’s my
job or your guys’ job, maybe I’m wrong, to micromanage. I think it’s your input,
you’re the background, you’re the pillar of the community, and you’re the one that I think makes the thing go. But I don’t believe micromanaging is probably the answer for a board member, to tell ya the truth. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number five. What are the strengths of
Novi Community Schools? – I think number one is the education and I think the demographics of the school district
are extremely strong now. Seeking an education in Novi has changed and it provides that. I think education is number one. But I think the overall experiences in the community and the schools are very important too. It’s the whole picture, the
whole learning experience. And I’ll relate back. I was involved with some of you possibly when I was on the Booster Club in Novi. I did the chairman for the TasteFest for two years. Yeah, we raised $25,000,
that was fantastic. But just the part of bein’ out there and seein’ 3,000 people
at a community event bring the community together was almost more important than $25,000. But to answer your question, academics is the most
important aspect of it, but it’s the total learning experience in the community. – [Paul] Here’s a situation
we want you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent feels or thinks
the teacher’s being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board
member, respond to this parent? – I would listen to the
complaint or the opinion or what the phone call is. I would treat the person with respect. I think it’s something
that, especially being new, I’m sure I would get some training or some background how to handle this, but I think I would treat
the person with respect. I would answer their questions. Then I would do the proper protocol, do you go to the principal
at the high school, and relay this message back to them and then make sure that resident gets a return phone call, either from me or the principal that would handle the direct issue. I don’t think you blow it off, and I don’t think you try to tackle it right off the bat either, because you’re not the
expert in that area. – [Dennis] What is more
important to you and why? Board members accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding their
superintendent accountable for district performance? – Good question. I think the accountability to your peers, the board, is important. But I think the
superintendent of the schools is the leader of the schools. He is the figurehead. We are responsible for him to do the best job he possibly can. And I think as a group,
it’s our responsibility to monitor what he does, as a group, not as an individual. And monitor what he does and assure that he’s fulfilling his obligations to his contract, that
he services the school to the best of his ability. So I think it comes back to the board, then it goes back up as collectively they watch what he’s doin’. It’s not one individual or anything. But I think one hand washes the other and you gotta look at what he’s doin’. If he’s doin’ the job that’s fine, if he’s not, I think it’s part of our job to make sure he does. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. Number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation, and what was the resolution? – Well, I just think at a
lot of the volunteer things that I’ve done, I’m not gonna relate to my work career. But a lot of my interaction with children and parents, and I believe Tracey and I were involved in Novi
Youth Baseball one time, and we had a lotta people involved in the program. That if you have guidelines set and you instruct somebody
and you’re supposed to do something a certain way, I think the proper way to do it is not embarrass that person. Not to call ’em out, but
you call a private meeting if you’re the person, if
you’re the board in charge or the superintendent in charge, or the individual in charge. And you address it. And we had several issues with baseball, to use that as an example. I think you try to deal
with it on the side as a one-on-one. Then if you have to
get the board involved, when you do that it
makes it a bigger issue and it’s not always the answer to do. But I think you first address the person, you talk to ’em like a person, and you try to address it and get ’em in the proper direction. And I remember some success stories and I remember some ones that did not end as well. But I think one-on-one first, then you bring it back
into a group setting. But if you do that, then it’s usually gettin’ to a point it’s serious, and then the consequences
may not be what you want. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – [Willy] Describe a
situation where you worked with a group of people and they went in a direction to which
you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – Repeat that. – [Willy] Sure. Describe a situation where you worked with a group of people and they went in a direction to which
you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – Huh, well, I think
in general I do recall some of the many groups
that I was involved in, also I was on the City’s Parks
and Recreation Commission for 18 years. Some issues did come up. That’s more of an advisory commission, but there were some issues that council put to task for us to do. And certain issues on parks. We built a golf course,
which was voted down, there’s a lot of sensitive things we were wanting to do. And I think if I had a
passion for something I think the way to handle it is to be a professional about it. To respect the other
person’s opinion on it, or even if the group
is going in a direction I don’t think is that way. I think you give your input, you try to do the best you can to possibly persuade them that way, which I’m sure what you guys do is a give and take situation as a board. But I think the key thing is to maintain your professionalism. Talk to people like they’re adults. And try to rationalize your input to hopefully sway them in the direction that you feel is the proper way to go. – [Tracey] Thank you. Number 10. What kind of time
commitment do you believe is involved for this position? And besides attending regularly scheduled board meetings, how much additional time, average hours per week, are you willing to commit to board tasks and functions? – Well, first of all,
this stuff that you see on my resume, I did and I was able to do it all, ’cause I’m a salesman. And when you’re a salesman, I’ve worked out of the house for 38 years. My time’s my own. I could do this. Now I’m semi-retired I guess you’d say. I’m back into sales again, but you could see my resume, I still do a lot of stuff. So I think my time is my own. I have a lot more time now than I did let’s say two years ago. So time is not really an issue and a factor. I’m not working 40 or 50 hours a week. My kids are pretty much older and gone. I do have one that’ll probably hang on for a little bit longer. But he’s got a problem. We ask the issue of time, I believe you meet two times a month? – As the whole board, yes.
– As a board? But I’m sure just like
bein’ on Parks and Rec, and other things I’m involved in, there’s constantly other meetings. Time would not be an issue, especially at the status of my life I’m at right now. – [Bobbie] Okay. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Paul] As a board
member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what’s best for you,
your family, your friends and your school to do what is best for the students and the district. What does this mean to you? – Well I think that’s if you’re a position on a board, I’m sure you
vote in teacher’s salaries, you make decisions on curriculum, there’s a lot of things you do that I’m probably not even aware of because I have not been
involved in this part of it. I think you gotta do what’s right for the community, that’s
why you’re on this. I think if the consensus of the board and there’s an issue that my neighbors or my buddy
across town might not like, I still think you have
to vote with your heart and your brain and make decisions that are best for the academic and the success of the school district and the system. And if you get a little flack or a little humiliation from neighbors or friends, that’s part of the game, ’cause you gotta make decisions what’s best for the community. Not you or your neighbors
or people down the street. – [Bobbie] All right, question 12. Is there any additional information about your candidacy
that you would like us to consider that has
not already been shared with us during the interview or in your application and resume? – Not really. I pretty much, the resume was put together when I took an early retirement, and one company asked me to send a resume, and I said I hadn’t made one in 42 years. So my wife helped me put this together. You’re not interested that much in the job experience. But it’s pretty much all on my resume. And then my activities in the community pretty much are self explanatory. I have no skeletons in the closet. I’ve been out there, I’ve been active in the community I think since my kids are outta high school. Obviously when your kids are involved in a lotta things you’re gonna be active. When your kids are out of it, you’re not gonna get involved because they’re not there. But I think now being on the school board, I still have the passion to stay involved and I think that’s important. ‘Cause some people look at it, ’cause some people have
asked me the question, what the hell are you doing? You don’t have any kids
in this school district. Okay. And I say, well that’s
good, that’s probably a good time to be on it, because I have been through it, and I think it’s just an opportunity for me to give back to the community just like everything else
that I’ve done on here. – [Bobbie] Great. Are there follow-up
questions for Mr. Wingfield? Yes, Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] On your application, you said you wanted to make sure that you strive for a balanced
educational experience for our students. – Right. – [Dennis] Explain what you mean by balanced educational experience. – Kinda like I mentioned earlier, academics is number one, but I think the total experience in the community, you want kids involved in clubs and sports and activity. I think that you want ’em to feel part of the community. I think academics, getting your As and Bs and striving to be the
best academic student, that’s the objective of student. But I look at all of us too, probably at our high school
or college experiences. I probably learned half
of what I learned in life by not what was in a paper and book, it’s by the experiences that I shared with other fellow students
and made me grow as a person. And I think that’s what I call balance. You have a kid that gets straight As, but nobody will talk to ’em
and he’s kinda isolated. That’s not right. I said I wanna have a kid to have, and that’s not a real world either, you’re gonna have kids like that. But I think the educational environment is a balance of everything that a kid from when he’s five to 18 years old, that we offer, whether
it’s community and classes, whether it’s sports or clubs. It’s the total picture, not just books. – [Bobbie] Great. Are there follow-up
questions from the board? No, well we do thank you so much for your interest and for being here. – Okay, thank you. – [Bobbie] And for waiting
and being our final candidate. – You only got six more, I’m just kidding. The last one she said. (board laughs) – Thank you so much. It was great to see you again. All right. I would entertain a motion to adjourn, unless there’s comments from the audience. – Comments from the audience. – Oh, we have the opportunity for comments from the audience. But we have no one in the audience, so I guess I’m going to assume no one wants to comment. Thank you Mr. Cook for reminding me. – Still has to be the opportunity. – Yep, opportunity’s there. – So moved. – Support. – We moving to adjourn? – Yes, you asked already. – Okay, all those in
favor, please say aye. – [All] Aye. – Opposed? Motion carries six to zero. – [Man] 8:44. – This particular board and
for community school boards is to oversee issues that
are affecting the community and education and working together and collaborating with the cabinet and the administration
to come up with a policy and systems to make sure
that we are providing a good solid ground for moving forward with the mission and vision of this board and the Novi Community School District. As far as micromanaging,
my feeling on that would be to not allow the administration, the people who we have hired as a Novi Community School District Board to do the job that they
have been hired to do. Getting into the schools and finding out what’s going on within
the schools is important. But to do other people’s jobs that they’ve been hired
for would be considered to be micromanaging the administration. – [Bobbie] Great. – [Paul] What are the strengths of Novi Community Schools? – Novi Community Schools
has many strengths. I think that the first one being that we have a community that cares. We have a community that
cares about its students, that cares about its
other community members. We have a partnership with parents, with staff, with students. We have a very diverse community, both culturally and in learning styles. I think that we have a diverse community in the way that students learn, whether it be academically, whether they’re interested in arts, the technology that we offer
through Oakland Schools, you know, that technology piece that they can go off-site and have that form of education. Obviously we have excellent teachers here within the school and staff members. So I think that that is definitely something wonderful about
our school district. I also feel, I have
two students with IEPs, and I feel that the resources that this community offers, the school district offers to my students in particular, can’t
speak for anyone else, but is above and beyond what you can get in other school districts. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – [Kathy] Hi. – Hi. – [Kathy] Number six. Here’s a situation we want you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to this parent? – So first of all I would listen. I would be an active listener and let the parent express their concerns. I would certainly kinda figure out what the problem is, in my own mind, but without offering any
suggestions at that point. And then I would,
depending on the situation, if it’s something that can be handled at administrative level, I would speak with and probably refer them to RJ Webber, to Dr. Matthews here in the district. If it was something of a higher level, I would still do the same thing, and talk to them on how we
should bring this forward and have a board conversation about it. And then I know that all board, I’ve been reading a little bit about closed session
and executive sessions, and different things,
and I know that you guys had an instructor come in from the Michigan
Association for School Boards and would certainly bring it forward at a meeting so that an open transparent discussion could happen in a board setting. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Dennis] What is more
important to you and why? A board members accountability
to each other at the table or board members holding their
superintendent accountable for district performance? Which one’s more important and why? – I would probably say the latter. The board members holding the
superintendent accountable for district performance. And the reason that I state that is because I feel like that is part of the responsibilities
of the school board. Obviously as a team, and
when you’re a part of a board you want to work well
together for the mission and the vision of the school district. But I feel like that’s kind of a given, and we are not supervisors of each other. I think that we could have conversations to make sure that we
can work well together and can collaborate together. But I think that the
purpose of a board member is actually to accomplish the latter. Thank you. – [Dennis] Thank you. – [Tracey] Number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – That’s a tough one, Tracey. (laughs) Because life is, I mean I could go anywhere with that. (Tracey laughs) – [Tracey] Exactly. – So I’ll just keep it simple, just to keep with time. I mean certainly even as a PTO president, you find yourself in different situations where people volunteered and offered to do certain things, and
then when the time comes the delivery doesn’t
happen or doesn’t get done. And so I think just having a conversation, having open communication with the people that you work with. And people that I’ve worked with can help resolve that. Going to the person and saying, hey what’s going on here. You know, is the reason
that we’re at point B and we should maybe be a point E. Is there something goin’ on
that I can help you with? Is there something that’s prohibiting you from doing it? Maybe you don’t understand it. Maybe frankly life circumstances have gotten in the way
and have prohibited you from moving forward, which
we can all understand. We all have great intentions and things happen along the way. So I think just being open and having open communication has helped me in the past. And then figuring out a
way how to move forward. Whether it be to help that person so that they continue on in the position that they’ve offered to do, or if they’re just at a point where it’s not gonna work for them for time reasons or just it was more work than they had anticipated. What we can do to help fill that position. So those are things that
have kinda happened to me both like on the PTO board and certainly in committees that I’ve led and been a committee chairperson for. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Willy] Describe a situation where you worked with a group of people and they went in a different direction to which you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – So we would face these problems at the Michigan Dental
Association on the board, just like any board or any group of knowledgeable intelligent adults, we would have conversations. And to be quite honest I was never really in the position where I was over here with everything, but if I was, or when I’ve seen other
people in that position, I think ultimately the goal is to be an active listener, to hear everybody’s perspectives, to give everybody the
respect that they deserve in getting their perspective heard. I think that that can
also offer an opportunity to hear something that you certainly did not think of on your own, which could actually sway your decision, because we all have our
own opinions on things. And sometimes when you
hear someone else’s reason for their distention, it can give you a different understanding. Bringing that back, though, is if you find yourself in that position, I think ultimately you vote how you feel. But in the end it’s a board decision and you need to go out
with a smile on your face and not continue to put
your opinion out there, because you need to be
a collaborative board that sticks together
and goes by the decision of the board. And we’ve had those issues when I was on the Michigan
Dental Association Board, and it’s definitely a learning curve, that it takes a little while to realize that that’s how a board can function at a high level. – [Paul] What kind of time commitment do you believe is involved
for this position? And besides attending regularly scheduled board meetings, how much additional time, average hours per week, are you willing to commit to the board’s
tasks and functions? – So besides, I’ve done a little homework on what the board does, and I know that there’s monthly meetings, and that there’s board retreats, and there’s a couple,
there’s two to three, I believe, committees
that board members sit on. I’ve also learned that there is, I would call them a liaison assignments, to the schools here in
Novi Community Schools that each board member
is assigned per semester to attend functions, even
if it’s not your students or your child’s school. And so on average, I mean this is really just a ball park average. I would imagine that there would be a commitment of 10 to 20 hours a week that would need to be put
towards the board commitment, and if not, and there
potentially would be more. You guys are having four meetings to interview 21 candidates, so obviously that’s above and beyond what was thought was needed at this time. So I think the flexibility
that you need to have to be part of the board, and your time and your willingness
to commit to the board needs to be there. – [Kathy] Thank you. As a board member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what’s best for you,
your family, your friends and/or your school, to do what’s best for the district and students. What does this mean to you? – I think that that’s an important aspect of a board member, whoever that may be, is to understand the big picture of what the decision means for the Novi Community School District, not just for your personal interests or your family or your students, or your neighbors, because I know, that we all are friends with our neighbors and we have other social relationships with people who have students
here in the community. And so I think that that’s important to just have a bigger picture of what is the mission and the vision and the strategic plan of the Novi Community School District. And I know that there
will be hard decisions, especially in the financing aspect of what the financing
is and the crunch of it, and making decisions. And everybody wants everything, and trying to determine priorities and what’s important to our schools. So I feel like that is
a difficult thing to do as a board member, but it’s necessary to have a board member who can be a successful board member and be a part of the community. – [Bobbie] Thank you. Back to me. So is there any additional information about your candidacy that you’d like us to consider that you’ve
not already shared with us in this interview or in your application? – I don’t think so. I think that I just would like the board to know that I’m a passionate, I’m a perceptive person. I’m prepared. I want to serve the Novi
Community School District more than what I’m currently doing. This is an opportunity for me to do that. I feel like, although I’m a dentist, and I don’t have experience
within the district as a teacher or as an administrator, or having worked in schools, I’m very passionate about education, both my own children’s and I like to be kind of a go-to person when people have struggles with their kids on many levels, both here in Novi and in other areas of education. And then I also think that school safety is important and it’s become more in the forefront lately. So I think that that, (woman sneezes) – [Bobbie] God bless you. – [Woman] Sorry. – I think that that is important, and something that is gonna be, some decisions need to be made locally and at the state level and in many places. So I think that it’s just important to keep our students and our staff safe at all school events and. (woman sneezes) God bless you. (laughs) – [Woman] Thank you. – And I think that I have the skills and the character to
be a good board member. – [Bobbie] Thank you. We appreciate you being here. – Thank you. – [Bobbie] We appreciate your application, and thanks. – Thank you for your time. – [Bobbie] Oh, a follow-up
questions, excuse me. Does anybody have a follow-up question? – [Dennis] Yes, I just wanted to, just a quick second. – Yes. – [Dennis] Could you expand a little bit. You’d mentioned all your different roles as part of the American Dental
Association of Michigan. What specific, I’m looking for like committee specialties or what kind of different roles have you played within those. You named your, like you’re on the board, but are there specific committees or any specialty that you work with within the Dental Association as part of your trustee experience? – You know, the Michigan
Dental Association Board of Trustees, we have many
many many committees. – [Dennis] Oh, okay. – And one of the jobs was to be a liaison for different committees. So it went from ethics
to New Dentist Committee, leadership development, finance. So depending on what year you were in, each year you were appointed
a different liaison. – [Dennis] Oh, so you
would rotate accordingly. – And you would go to
their committee meetings and you were really
just there as a liaison between that committee and the board. Not that that would be maybe your area of expertise. So I did have a lot of experiences
in a lot of things that I didn’t know as much
about when I started. And it was just a nice diverse way to learn different
things about governments and how different the structures work. One of my passions, because
I started off really young, when I graduated from dental school, I was already involved
in organized dentistry, so was New Dentists and
leadership development. So as just like anything, whether it be. – [Dennis] Like the
orientation process and then? – Actually leadership development in the sense that getting
people to volunteer and feel comfortable with the structure and the organization of
the Dental Association, and feeling comfortable that they could someday feel like
they were in a position to be a board member or a leader. So I started the LEAD Program at the Michigan Dental Association, which was a program based off of a committee that I was on at the Jewish Federation. And it basically was an immersion program where someone could come in as a layman and a volunteer and learn, each time they had a session, about a different aspect
of the organization. And then in the end, they
were pretty well trained to be a board member. And so it was just an immersion program at a time where volunteerism is sometimes a little bit not. I mean the 21 applicants
is an amazing thing. We’re at Deerfield and
we try to get parents to volunteer to come to the science, be on the Science Fair Committee, and so, just leadership development and having people be involved and active in their community. – [Dennis] Okay, thank you. – Thank you. – [Bobbie] Are there
other follow-up questions for Ms. Ruskin? Okay, we thank you again for coming. I’m sorry I got cut off
by my sneezing there. – Oh, that’s okay. And thank you guys for
your time, I appreciate it. – [Bobbie] Mr. Mena’s wearing
new cologne this evening. – [Willy] I am not. – I’m gonna grab a tissue. Would you mind letting Mrs. Holly know that we’re ready for the. – [Danielle] Yeah. – Thank you so much. I apologize. Are you sure you’re not
wearing new cologne? – Nope. – Okay. – Unless you’re allergic to dogs. – I am allergic to dogs. – Oh, there’s one in my house this week. – Oh, well there you have it. – That could be it. – [Michael] Hi everybody. – Hi. – Good evening. – [Michael] We all
became friends out there, so we’re gonna split
the spot up, we decided. – Oh, excellent. – [Michael] So no decisions to make. – Excellent. Well we do thank you for being here. You are Michael Lubin.
– I am. – I can see from your name tag. I am going to start the questions. We have 12 questions we’ll
be asking you this evening, the same that we’ve
done for each candidate. You have about 20 minutes
to answer the questions, about a minute and a half each. We’re not finding that
that’s a problem for anybody. – [Michael] I’m a talker though. – Well you don’t have to time yourself, unless you want to, because that might be distracting for you. But I will start and then Mr. O’Connor, we’ll kinda go like this
and then I will finish with the final question. So, basically, just the first thing. If you’d like to tell us a little bit about yourself, your
family and your history in the Novi Community School District. – Okay, so I am 49 years old, I mean 50 years old this year. I grew up in Troy. I’ve got a wife, wife Jenny,
my two kids, Bryce and Brynn. My son Bryce is a
15-year-old ninth grader, and my daughter Brynn is a
13-year-old eighth grader. They’re both active in sports. I’ve been workin’ for
Chrysler, FCA, Cerberus, Daimler Chrysler for the past 20 years, it’ll be 21 years in May. Like I said, I grew up in Troy, spent some time out of the state for a couple years,
and kinda sowed my oats when I was in my early 20s, and then found my way back here in the automotive industry. So that’s what I’ve been
doin’ for the past 20 years. As far as kinda personal stuff, I’m a coach, my son plays a lot of sports, I’ve coached him through the years, coached my daughter a little bit, she plays some volleyball. Been pretty active in the community since we got here. We’ve been in Novi for
the past eight years, we moved from Wixom to
Novi a little while ago when the kids were young. And that’s kinda the high level of me. – [Bobbie] Okay, thank you. – [Dennis] All right,
what skills and experience do you offer as a
prospective board member? And why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – I’m gonna probably draw
on some of my experience in my profession. So I’ve been workin’ in
the automotive industry for long long time, 20 years. And I was in the plants for awhile, so union plants. I was a supervisor for a long time, all different shifts,
all different plants. So I’m pretty good at problem solving, conflict resolution, things like that. I’ve been presented with a lotta different perspectives on different things where this guy’s got a perspective, and this guy’s got a perspective, it’s the old two sides to every story, and I’ve had to mediate a lot of those types of things. In addition to resolving
conflicts and things like that I like finding solutions to problems. So I’m certain you guys are
faced with some problems on this board every now and then, right. So I like talking about ’em, debating ’em, comin’ up with some fair solutions that we kinda logically arrive at. I think that’s, so I tell ya about what I, what kinda skills, that’s why I’d like to be on something like this. I’ve been involved with the community for a long time from kind of a distance and I’d like to get more involved is really what it is. I think I can help. – [Tracey] Thank you. Question number three. Are you a advocate for public education, and if so explain why? – Yes I am an advocate
for public education. I come from a lineage, well actually I don’t, my
wife’s a teacher though, in South Lyon. She is a Reading Recovery teacher. And my father-in-law was a teacher for 30 years in Troy School District. My mother-in-law is
actually a retired teacher at St. Hugo. So she was in the private schools. My brother-in-law’s a teacher. I have multiple teachers in my family. And I grew up in public schools, and I think that’s the way it oughta be. There’s some things, I’m not gonna go into the details of
exactly what I think is the better or worse, but there’s some things that
current private schools, that I’ve talked to some friends that I don’t necessarily agree with. In talkin’ to my wife, she tells me, and you know, through
conversations with her and some of her colleagues, the rigors of the training is much better in the public schools. Plus we pay the taxes
for the public schools so I don’t wanna pay for
something I’m not getting. I think everybody should be, I am an advocate for public schools. I think they’re effective too. – [Willy] What is the
role, in your opinion, what is the role of a board member? And then also, two part question, what would you consider micromanagement as it pertains to this role? – Well, so the role of the board member as I understand it is kinda govern the whole thing, right? You guys kinda oversee the big picture. As far as the role of the individual, I think it’s just to kinda make sure that things are on, headin’
in the right direction. You don’t wanna get off to ask, you wanna make sure that you’re focusing on the, frankly the kids. What is best for the district, the kids, and how can
you help influence that. So you wanna have good debates, productive debates in here that ultimately result in some good initiatives, resolutions, whatever you wanna call ’em. Now, you don’t wanna, I don’t think you have time to micromanage. So when you say, what would be a micromanaging, is that
what I heard, right? – [Willy] What would you
consider micromanagement as it pertains to this role? – Yeah, so I don’t think you need to overstep your boundaries. I wouldn’t wanna argue with every single one of you guys about every single thing that comes up in this room. And conversely, I would say that once it’s done it’s done. I wouldn’t wanna come back and say, hey, you know, do we really, let’s revisit this, this thing that we made a decision on as a group six months ago. And I wouldn’t wanna
go outside of the board and go to Steve or Brian
or any of the principals and go hey, are you really doing what we decided you were gonna do. So I don’t think that’s the role. Plus you just can’t do it. There’s a small group of people. And you rely on this is
what we’re supposed to do and everybody else
supposed to do their job and things should work out. – [Bobbie] All right. Mr. Cook. – [Paul] What are the strengths of the Novi Community Schools? – I wrote ’em down. I think that it is a very, the biggest strength is that they believe in their strengths. That they’re very engaged in what they’re trying to do. So everybody from the
board to the teachers to the students to the community is locked in on what’s goin’ on in the district. I think that Novi’s
got a solid reputation, more than a solid reputation,
as an educational, this is where you wanna be educated. So I think people don’t wanna lose that. And you can kinda tell. You can see that people are really, the notes that you get, just kinda the vibe that you feel when you talk to Dr. Matthews or Dr. Webber or any of the teachers, or even the students. And just stuff that goes on. So I think the strength is the feeling that you
have in this community. You see things and then you kinda, it kinda draws on itself. It’s kind of a self-perpetuating thing. And of course there are, they’re highly trained teachers and they’re great facilities. They’re really ahead of things like, even things like the book clubs and the coffee with the superintendent, and just the personal
touches that you have. I think that’s really kinda what it is. It’s a small community and you really feel like you’re gettin’ good value here as a member of the community. That’s how I feel. – [Kathy] All right, thank you. Here’s a situation we want you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher’s being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to the parent? – So a parent calls me, as a board member, and says that they think a teacher is being unfair, and this
is just out of the blue. – [Kathy] To their child, right. – Teacher’s being unfair to their child, and I’m a board member in this scenario. Well, I’d have a very brief conversation with them probably about it. Because I wouldn’t wanna get into any particular details, I
don’t think, about that. This is not unlike, situations what I’ve been in, where I’ve been a manager and I have had supervisors who supervise Hi-Lo Drivers or workers on the line, and that worker will come to me about the supervisor. And I’m like, look, have you talked to this guy about this. That’s really where I would go first. Have you talked to the teacher, have you talked to. And then usually they’ll
say, oh, yeah yeah yeah, well I haven’t talked to ’em but so-and-so has talked to ’em. Well, have you discussed this with ’em. So in this case, though, I
don’t know what the rules are, but my guess is that you are not, you don’t really engage
somethin’ like that, so I probably wouldn’t engage it more than a very incredibly
brief conversation and I really wouldn’t ask for any details, and I’d refer ’em to the teacher or the principal or someone else, with support. I’m not just gonna say, hey go away. Can I help. Let me know what happens after that conversation, type thing. – [Bobbie] All right. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] All right. What is more important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at this table, or board members holding our
superintendent accountable for district performance? Which is more important and why? – It is definitely,
it’s the superintendent. I would say that holding
the superintendent, not just the superintendent,
everybody in the district. Holding them accountable for the things that they’re supposed to be doing to educate the kids. To keep the things that
we have going, going. And the reason is simple. I think that that’s why we’re here. That’s why we’re here. That’s it. That’s the end of that. I think that you’re here to make decisions that are in the best
interest of the district and the kids. And I think if you do that, really kinda you’re accountable to each other by the end of that equation anyway. I think you’d end up doing both by takin’ care of the first one. – [Bobbie] All right. – [Tracey] Number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation, and what was the resolution? – So I’ve had that a lot as a manager and as a supervisor. And really it comes down
to performance appraisals. I don’t really love the way we do our performance
appraisals, where I work, for multiple reasons. They’re tough to do no matter what anyway. They’re just not, it’s tough. They’re very subjective. But I use ’em. And so when I have somebody
who’s not accountable, that’s an avenue that I can use. But the way I do that is I make sure that expectations are very clear up front. We have a process and at the beginning of the process you set expectations and you set goals. And in the middle of the year you say, hey, here’s how
you’re doin’ on these goals, and you’re not doin’ very well on a couple of these, and here’s where you’re headed. If you don’t improve these things, here’s where you’re headed. You’re going to get this rating, do you understand what I’m sayin’? And sometimes, I modify that a little bit, but sometimes you have to be direct depending on who you’re dealin’ with. And then if they don’t
meet the expectations, I had no issues with sayin’ look, I told you this is where you’re gonna be, and this is where you are. And generally I haven’t had any issues with that, because I told ’em at the beginning, if you
do this, this and this, you’ll be here, but if you don’t, you’re here, and here’s
where your heading. So it usually works out. If you just tell ’em what you expect. I have that with even kids that I coach. You’re not playin’ unless
you do this, this and this. Get it parents? And we talk about that. We’ve had meetings right in the beginning where I sit all the
kids down on the bench, and the parents all sit
down right behind ’em, and I say here’s how playing time works. ‘Cause that’s all they care
about at the beginning. And that’s it. And I haven’t had any issues with that. Because they know. – [Willy] Okay, describe a situation where you worked with a group of people and they went in a different direction to which you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – So without going into the details, it happens at work all the time. It happens in my family
all the time, frankly. We have discussions as
a family and as a group. Even as things as silly as vacations. I don’t wanna go there. Well, that’s where we’re goin’. It’s the cheapest, it’s the best value and we can get in and
out, blah, blah, blah. I like to debate and I like to logically arrive at conclusions. And so if I can do that, and at work it works a lot better. Because sometimes it’s, you
get emotional in the house. You can’t always be logical with your 13 and your 15-year-old, or frankly your wife or your husband, so it doesn’t always work. But at work, you present your facts and you say okay, here’s my case. And if the group says no, then do we have all, is everybody, we get it, we understand, do you understand what I said? Yes I understood what you said. Do you still disagree? Yeah, and then you move on. And you support whatever
decision the group made the best you can. It’s no different than like an election. You’re not always thrilled with the way elections turn out, but you support what you can support. – [Bobbie] All right. – [Paul] What kinda time
commitment do you believe is involved for this position? And besides the regularly
scheduled board meetings, how much additional time,
average hours a week, are you willing to commit to
board tasks and functions? – Well I know this is a
very highly paid position, so I’m gonna be on an hourly basis here. No, I know that’s not true. So I know it’s at least one or two two-hour meetings a month. I think is what, I’ve
looked at the schedule. And I expect twice that,
somethin’ like that. I don’t know if it’s
three times that or not, I don’t know what you guys, I’m sure you do things in your spare time. It’s no different than teachers. You don’t see what the
teachers do after hours, but they do a ton. So I expect that it would be like that. But I don’t expect a ton of time devoted to it. I think everybody’s got full-time jobs. But I’m willing, I have time. I don’t coach my kids anymore. I volunteer coach because
I have time to fill. I called one of the Novi High School basketball games a little while ago ’cause I had some spare time on my hands. And I film games for ’em, and I’ll do. So I don’t have a problem devoting extra time to things. Are you guys gonna tell me how much time it takes? (laughs) – [Bobbie] No. (laughs). – Okay, that’s fine. – [Paul] To be honest with you, I haven’t punched a clock, I have no idea. – Yeah, so it’s, I’m
sure it’s no different than, it’s a big position. I get it, it’s not a small thing that you guys are doin’, so it takes time. So I’m willing to put in time. Like I said, it’s worth it. My kids are gonna be here for a long time. I’ll be here for a long time, hopefully. – [Bobbie] Great, thank you. Mrs. Hood. – [Kathy] Okay, next. As a board member, you may
be asked to make decisions where you must put aside
what’s best for you or your family or your
friends and your school to do what’s best for the
students and district. What does that mean to you? – Well, I expect that. I think that everybody on this board should be in it for reasons
other than themselves. If I heard your question correctly, right? That’s what, you’re making decisions not based on necessarily
personal, what you think, but ya have to look at facts logically and decide, okay, does this make sense for the district and the
kids and the teachers. And whoever else it
needs to make sense for. And so I don’t have any issue with that. There’s plenty of times where I’ve been, I don’t necessary agree
with what we’re doin’ but it does make kinda sense for us to do it like this because of whatever reason. And I’m totally fine with that. – [Bobbie] All right. Thank you. – [Kathy] Thank you. [Bobbie] We’re to our last question. So is there any additional information about your candidacy
that you would like us to consider that you
haven’t already shared with us during this interview? – You guys, I think, have seen, some of it’s in my resume. I told you that I’ve coached. I have coached for some teams that don’t involve my kids. I coached the 13, 14 year
old baseball team last year. House League baseball team. It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, but I was out there in the rain, none of my kids, none
of my family was there. So I do do things like that. It’s because I like doing that. I like seein’ the kids progress and I like the fact that I can say, I can hold ’em, they know I’m not doin’ it for my kid. So I like puttin’ that out there. And this is the same sorta thing. I’m not doin’ this because, well, a little bit, because we live here, that’s why I would be here. I’m doin’ it because I wanna help. And then I have a couple of, I do have a couple of testimonials from friends of mine. I don’t know if anybody has asked that, but I can either email ’em to ya, but that would be it, really. I can certainly provide
references, if necessary. – [Bobbie] Okay, we appreciate that. – [Willy] Testimonials are always nice, so feel free to forward ’em to the board. – I have a copy of ’em right here. – [Bobbie] Were they
included in the application? – They were not, no. I just actually solicited
’em a little while ago. I can just hand ’em to ya. They’re just from three, one of ’ems the vice
president of the baseball. – [Bobbie] You know what? Why don’t you give them to Mrs. Holly on the way out. She can add those to your application. – Yeah, okay, I’ll do that. – [Bobbie] That would be great. – Okay, all set? – [Bobbie] Are there follow-up questions that anyone has? Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] Yeah, just a quick one. On your application
form, you said you wanted to impact positive
change in the community. How would you do that? – Man, that’s a good question. – [Dennis] I’m just readin’ what you said. – Yeah, no, no, no. I think it was a little
bit of a generic statement. What I would do. I mean there’s some things
that I would change. I think that there’s a little bit of a, you know, so I’ll go back. I’ll go to the basketball thing. I felt like that was one
of the biggest things to happen in this city sports-wise in forever, it was undeniably the biggest sporting event to happen to this city probably ever. Maybe it’s because my
kid was in the thing, but I didn’t really feel like there was a huge sense
of community around it. There was a pretty good
turnout at Breslin, but there was not that great of a turnout at Calihan Hall on Tuesday. And I felt like a lot of the kids didn’t really know about it. So I would, and it’s not just sports. It’s other things. There’s a ton of things that go on in this district and that might be even one of our little bit of a downfalls, is that, hey, everybody’s
got somethin’ goin’ on, but does everybody really know who’s really accomplishing things. So to whittle that down, I would think, I think communication
could improve a little bit in terms of, even our website, I think could use some sprucin’ up. Not everybody communicates by Twitter. I don’t. I don’t know, but I
know a lot of people do, and I’m not sayin’ to get
rid of it or anything. But I think the website could be better. I think the communication could improve. I think, so, I would like to improve the sense of community in this community. It’s kind of, Novi’s not a home-grown thing for me. It doesn’t have a downtown per se. It didn’t grow from
inside out, to kind of, so I think that could improve. – [Bobbie] Great, thank you. All right. – Okay, thank you very much. – Thank you Mr. Lubin. If you wanna give, make
sure you give those to Mrs. Holly so she can, and just ask her that we said to add them to your application. – [Michael] I will. – And then you can ask her to send our next candidate in. – [Michael] I will, okay, thank you. – Thank you. – Thank you very much. We appreciate your interest. Okay, we have one more
then we’ll take a break. – That was number three right? We’re on four now? – That was number three. We are on number four and it is 7:00. – Five, six, seven, eight tonight, right? – Yep, but we’re goin’
through ’em a little faster. – That’s good. – A half hour, six, seven, eight thirty. – Where’s the popcorn? – I know. – Where’s the popcorn? – [Monish] Hi. How are you?
– Hi, how are you? We’re good, how about you? – [Monish] I’m good thank you. Thank you very much. – Thank you for joining us. – [Monish] Thank you for the time. – Is it Monish? – [Monish] Monish Verma. – Verma, all right. We’ve got your name in front of us, and ours are here. – [Monish] Oh. (laughs) (board laughs) – You can see who we are. The way this’ll work is
that we have 20 questions we’ve been asking each candidate. – 12. – Excuse me, 12. Thank you. – Eight extra for me, right? (board laughs) – Eight extra for you. Twenty minutes, that’s the 20. So there’s about 20 minutes that we’re allowing per interview. So that’s about a minute and a half. I think we were right on
time with the last one, but we’ve been under on most of ’em. So just to keep that in mind as we’re asking the questions. And I will start and then
it will move to Mr. O’Connor and we’ll just kinda
move in this direction and then back and then I will finish with the last question of our questions. And if there’s follow-up
we might allow that, we might have time for that as well. So, first we’d just like you to tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your history in the Novi
Community School District. – Sure. So my name is Monish Verma. My wife and I live in Novi. We’ve been living here
for about nine years. I grew up in Novi originally. My parents, Ramesh and
Usha Verma came here. We moved here when I
was in the second grade. So I went to the Novi School system. My father is still very
active in the community. He’s on the Library Board. So we really moved back to Novi when we started our family. We lived in the area,
my wife is from Florida, but we lived in Plymouth,
we lived in Northville, but when we started having a family we wanted to move back here. I felt like it was a good place to raise a family. I was raised here, I
had a good upbringing, went to Michigan State afterwards. I have three little boys,
all in the Novi Schools. A kindergartner, a third
grader and a fifth grader. So they are very excited to be in Novi. They play sports, they’re in the school, they’re very active. So part of why I thought of kind of coming for the selection process
when I saw the email was, because I’ve talked to a few people in the community, who are on the board, and just wanted to find another way to give back. Because I felt very fortunate growing up in this community,
having a great experience in the Novi Schools, and then going off to a Michigan University, Michigan State. And having the ability
to really move anywhere, like I said, my wife is from Florida, and really choosing to
still stay home based, obviously around family. But really what was our very big decision was school system. So when we moved, we lived
in Green Oak Township, we lived in Northville,
we lived in Plymouth. We came back to Novi because
of the school system. And the reason we chose to stay here, we bought our second home in Novi now, so we’re here for a bit. (laughs) – [Bobbie] Great. Thank you. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] So what skills and experience do you offer as a
prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – That’s a great question sir. So in my last 22 years
as a financial advisor, so after Michigan State I
became a financial advisor, and I’ve been in Michigan the whole time. I’ve served on a few different boards, mostly Chamber of Commerce. I’ve served in the Novi
Rotary for a number of years. I was sponsored by Amol
Sangle and I was there for about a dozen years. And then I’ve also been on
the TiE Entrepreneur Board which is basically a board, there’s a Michigan chapter that’s still thriving today. I was the vice president of that board for one year. And then I was also on the first Chamber of Commerce for the
Indian Ethnicity in Michigan, so I was part of that
board for five years. I was the president of
the board for five years. My tenure ended last year. And I think that a lot of the experiences that I’ve had in those various roles, working with the community, building rapport with other ethnicities, building rapport with the community and especially being on the board, where kind of everything,
buck stops with you, right? You have to kinda make the decisions and really work with board members and work with the other committee members, a lot of which are usually they’re on their own time, to make things happen. So I think a lot of that value I brought back to the table for something that I’d like to do here. The reason that I decided to put my name in the selection process is because I have three little kids. I felt that when I went through this school system it was fantastic. I still think there’s
a lot of great things happening in the school system. I just wanted to see if there’s anything I can do to help make it better, or continue what’s been going on, for what you’ve been doing for the last 35 years since I’ve been here. So that’s why I put my hat in the ring. I like to give back. I think it’s part of our civic duty, my father taught me that. He’s been giving back since he retired. He was doing it before and he continues to do it now. And I looked at the
fact that I’m no longer at a board level on the other things that I was doing. I decided that this would
be a great opportunity. I’ve talked to a couple people who are on the board, privately, at school events, at community events, and just kinda was
thinking of running myself, when there was an opportunity, in a November election. And my wife saw this,
she got a little excited. She’s like, hey weren’t you thinking to do this anyway? And so she’s very encouraging of me to do this. She’s a little bit more introvert, because I was asking her to do it. And I said, why don’t
we both put our names in the ring. But she’s very active at the school level. She’s at my kid’s schools as many times as they’ll let her. She loves to be at the schools. And so she felt that’s where she adds a lot of value, and she’s a homemaker now. I’d really like the
opportunity to give back and I think where I’d like to be is at the school level. Because it was such a
very big part of my life growing up, and I wanna give back to where, I think helped
make me who I am today. – [Tracey] Thank you. Question number three. Are you a advocate for public education, and if so explain why? – Very much so. The reason that we chose Novi is because of the school system. Obviously as everyone has the ability, they can go to any school system when they’re looking to buy a home and depending on where they’re gonna work. My office where I work is in Farmington Hills, Michigan. I’m a financial advisor by training, and I’ve been doing it
for a company called UBS. I’ve been there for nine years, but I’ve been at previous firms in the same industry for over 20 years. So we can move anywhere in the market. We chose Novi because of
the public school system. I have a lot of family,
friends, and colleagues that have their children
in private school, and I think that’s a
decision they’ve decided to make for their families. I find that if you’re in a strong program, you can really have a thriving community environment, where all the kids kind of know each other, they play with each other. We have a lot of friends of our kids who play together and all
go to school together. And that’s very important to us. But obviously it stems from
having a great education. And I think that the education piece of it is vital for the community. So I think being a very
good school system’s highly rated in the State of Michigan, highly rated in the
country, it was the reason that we moved back to Novi. Obviously having
grandparents three miles away from you is not a bad thing. But definitely, when you’re looking around in the communities that we have around us, there’s some really good school systems. But I think we stand out, and I think that’s the reason that we do encourage our kids to do
what they can in school, participate at all the school functions, but why we moved back was because we’re big advocates of
the public school system, specifically obviously Novi. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Willy] In your
opinion, what is the role of a board member? And also, what would you
consider micromanagement as it pertains to this role? – Great questions. So the role of a board member, I think, first and foremost, is be an advocate for all the community. I think the family members
that are out there, who are having their children go through the school system, are looking at this board to really be their eyes and ears of what’s going on in the school system. What can they do better? What are they continuing to do and how can they make the school system kinda retain it’s level and standards and continue that going forward. So I think that’s the firs thing is being an advocate for
the community members who live in Novi. Second I think it’s really to evaluate what’s going on in the system and keep the level of standard to the level we are today. I think if you don’t have a strong board who can communicate effectively with the superintendent, who could communicate effectively with the school systems, the principals, I think you lose something in translation. So I think having a strong board where you can go out, go to the events, be a active member in the community, get the visibility for the board, understand that people are watching. What are you doing for us? How can we communicate
with you sometimes offline? When are you accessible? How can we talk to you, and maybe get our voice heard? I think those are very important things. So being an advocate for the community I think is the number one reason. Your second question
about micromanagement. In my profession I have my own team. I kind of, it’s kinda like what we do as a team. I hear everything that happens on my team from all the employees
that are on my team. And I call them partners, because really I think you’re only as
strong as your weakest link, and hopefully we have
no weakest links, right? So what I really think is we work together as a community. I think everyone should have an opinion. I think everyone should have an opinion that’s heard. And I think once we
have everyone’s opinion, everyone should be professional enough to make sure that, if it’s not your way, it doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way or the right way. It just means it happens to be a way that’s gonna be moving
forward with the board. So I think micromanaging
is not a great idea, but I do definitely think there are times when maybe you’re committed to something and you’ve been assigned that task, that that’s your baby and you have to run with it. I think then you have to have a little bit more time involved in that and manage it better. But I think most times people are looking at all the pieces fitting together to get the same solution answered. – [Bobbie] All right. Mr. Cook. – [Paul] What are the strengths of the Novi Community Schools? – Well that’s a great question. I think a few of the
strengths, and there’s many, so a couple of the major ones, I think, is the unity of the community. I think you see a lot of people. An example of that, you
saw the Novi High School basketball team play up in Breslin, and look at how many
people went up, right? I think that’s a huge strength. I think that as a community,
when you can rally around your kids, I think that shows a show of support and it shows community. So I think that’s the number one thing I would say is there. I think the baseline
of how we hire teachers is pretty strong. I see a lot of talented
teachers teaching our kids. And I think that’s what, again, parents come back to
us and wanna make sure that continues to happen going forward. The third is the administrative. Having three kids in the school system, we know our principals. When I was growing up
in Novi, I don’t think my parents knew my principals. And I think that connection with who is Mrs. Bedford,
who is the principal, who can I talk to if
I wanted to reach out, and having them be accessible. And quite honestly they encourage the parents to come into the schools and talk to them. I think that’s very vital. It’s a two-way street. Education is not only in the school. Education has to be at home as well. And I think if the
parents kind of get that with the instruction from
the superintendent down, from the board down,
from the principal down, you’re gonna see a little bit more tight-knit community. Other things that we’re
very strong at is diversity. I think we have a lot of
opportunity for diversity. I remember in my graduating class I was one of maybe four kids of diversity in my class. And now, you can see what
has happened to Novi. It’s happened across the board. There’s so much diversity
in our community, which translates to be so much diversity in our schools. So I think managing diversity is something that we’ve done very well. I worked as a diversity coordinator for the University of Michigan a few summers when I
was attending college. And it’s a very important thing to manage diversity. And manage it means in a good way. How do you kind of let it
flourish in your community? I think some communities
find it a little restrictive and some communities want it to flourish. I think we live in a community and a school system that
want it to flourish, and I think that’s very important. So I think that we have a lot of things that we’ve done very well. And I think there’s a
lot of things, obviously, that are probably on the agenda that could use more work, and have more involvement from the board as well as other community members. – [Bobbie] All right. – [Kathy] Thank you. Okay, here’s a situation
we want you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to this parent? – Well I think any time a parent, being a parent, and you
have someone, a concern, I think obviously the first levels that you should go through
are through the school. There’s a reason that they have strong administrators. There’s a reason they have teachers. Working with the teacher, working with the administrators, I think would be the
thing I would encourage to have happen. That being said, I would probably want to understand what the
parent is talking about, what is the problem, what is the concern. And maybe have a discussion
with the administrator and kind of let the administrator really follow through on what they’re went to school for, what
they’re really there for. And kind of follow back up, and say how did that get resolved. I think as a parent in
that same situation, I think when they come to someone at the board level, I think what they’re tryin’ to do is say, hey,
it’s a very important, and I want it to go to the top, right? And I think that that’s not a mistake from the parent. But I think that there’s
really qualified people between a board member and the parent along the way that can really address that maybe better than even some of us can, or I know I can’t. So I think getting the
right players involved is the first step to really defuse that, and I use the word defuse, because it could be a
defusion of something that could escalate. And really make sure that the teachers who are trained in those things, and really the administrators
that are trained in those things, really
kinda get involved in that And then if it’s a friend of yours who happens to live in your community, follow-up and just make sure that there’s some closure to it, and not leave it open-ended. So that’s what I would really do. I would go that route first. I don’t wanna circumvent the system that’s been working for a long time. – [Kathy] All right, thank you. – [Dennis] Okay, what is more important to you and why? A board member accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding
their superintendent accountable for district performance? Which one’s more important and why? – So I think they’re both
have a very high level of importance, but I think
at the end of the day, the board is a unit that’s
there for the people, because everyone here for the most part was gone through the
channels and elected, right? So basically you held
the body of the people in your hands and say we are now having a superintendent that’s
here who’s a position, or superintendents who are here to really run this administration. So I think, as a board, there has to be some level of unity of
what direction we want the school system to go. And I think the
superintendent’s role in that is really to make sure that that job is performed well. And I think the superintendent has to be held to that level the board has put that person at. So I would really say
both are very important, but I would opt to say that as a board, as a community, you’re
holding the community at that standard. And the superintendent’s role in that is to really implement the strategy and to come back and
get some accountability and answer questions. And obviously give a lot of feedback of what their opinion is. And I would always want their opinion in decision-making. So I would be more opting
on the side of the board. – [Bobbie] All right, thank you. Ms. Stevenson. – [Tracey] Number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation and what was the resolution? – So, you know, there’s a
lot of real-life scenarios in my role as a professional, that we have a lot of accountability. And I think one of the things we always have to make
sure is understand is what is it that that person’s
being held accountable for. So one of the things I’ve done in the past is sit that person down,
first and foremost, and have them understand what they’re being held accountable for. And if they didn’t do
what they were supposed to do, I wanna understand why. And the why to me is very important. Because sometimes when people are not held to a standard that maybe
is too high for them. Then you’re setting ’em up for failure. So I wanna make sure that the level of what we’re holding that person to was attainable for that person. And then we’ll go back and make sure that they did what they
were supposed to do. As long as that was clear, then, yes, we hold ’em to the fire and say you did something right,
you did something wrong, I think we should, what’s
the course of action to be corrective of what we are there. I don’t like the idea of kinda throwing someone into the fire and saying it’s all about you. As a supervisor, it’s my job to make sure that my people understand what they’re being held
to and what level and why. And I wanna make sure that they have clarity on that. But at the end of the
day, my responsibility is that it’s my job to deliver on those action items. So I keep that very open. I always want them to understand they can come to me any time when there’s a conflict
or there’s a concern, and we can resolve it together. But at the end of the day, if they have something
that’s mandated to them, and they have to take care of it, and there was some reason that they couldn’t handle
it, I first wanna know why they couldn’t handle it. And then I help solve it
or provide some resolution that they will be involved
with that resolution. Unfortunately, in my business, there are times we have to fire people. And we’ve done that. I’ve unfortunately had to do that many a time. I gotta tell ya it’s not fun, I don’t enjoy it, it’s not one of my favorite things to do every day. But I don’t shy away from it either. Because I think at the end of the day, me being a professional, everything that happens in my business is my fault. The good, the bad, it’s all mine. As a board, things that
happen in this community fall on your shoulders. Whether it came from here or not is irrelevant sometimes. So getting to finding the right people for the right solution
and having those people buy into that solution,
sometimes is the best, in my opinion, of how to proceed forward, on that conflict. – [Tracey] Okay, thank you. – [Bobbie] Mr. Mena. – [Willie] Okay, describe a situation where you work with a group of people, and they went in a different direction to which you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision. – Great, great, that’s a great question. So I can tell you real life examples. In my role as being on the Chamber a couple of times, there’s been some times where my opinion of how
something should be handled and the rest of the board’s opinion on how something should
be handled is different. I think, to be a member of a team, being a team player doesn’t always mean it’s always your way. So in those kinda situations, even though I felt it was wrong, I would still participate. I would understand and
let everyone understand that my opinion is different from theirs, but as a team player,
I let them understand that I will also partake in what the overall board decision was, and move forward from there, and help out in any way I can. I think that that kind
of builds continuity going forward because I think sometimes I will be wrong, and
someone else will be right. And you should still be supportive of whatever the overall
board is wanting to do. And in some situations, when you know, maybe that conflict comes
back and you are right, you still have to be there with the ideas to help resolve that situation. So I wouldn’t turn my back on the board. If anything I would still want to be actively involved. Because along that process of where that idea might have been not mine and I wasn’t supportive of that idea, down the road there might be some turns and nuances that that might have to still have your
advice and your expertise to help move that path along. So I think we still have to work together, and I don’t think turning
your back is a solution. – [Bobbie] Okay, thank you. Mr. Cook. – [Paul] What kind of time commitment do you believe is involved
with this position? And besides attending regularly
scheduled board meetings, how much additional time,
average hours per week, are you willing to commit to
board tasks and functions? – My opinion of this is
that I think most people have a full time job. This is kinda like having another job, 20-some hours per month. I think there’s gonna be
times and ebbs and flows where there might be more time commitments and there might be less time commitments. But I think as being an
advocate of the board and being an advocate of the community, part of the role as a board member is to be visible. Going to events at the local schools, all the schools. Participate at some of those events, even if you’re own kids
are not participating in those events. Being visible to the community. Showing them that the board,
which you’re a part of would be kind of, being out there and showing that the board is involved in all of the community affairs. And I don’t think it’s work. I think it’s fun. Because, as we were chatting outside, everyone has all these things their kids are doing, and all of us are in the community a lot as it is, right? So some of it might be overlap, where a basketball game for one son, a soccer game for another son, a commencement ceremony
for your neighbor’s child. There’s a lot of reasons that we’re already in our own community, and will continue to be doing so. But I think the work,
maybe a lot of the things for the pre-work for a meeting. Maybe the post work for a meeting, there’s always work that
comes out of a meeting, and the actual meetings themselves. So I’m pretty comfortable knowing that in my experience on boards that it’s always more than you
think it’s gonna be, right? And it comes in waves. And some waves are a lot more time than other waves. And you have to kinda roll with that. Otherwise if you’re too rigid with it then it’s not gonna work well. So I think coming into this, I think the time commitment, if you wanted like an hour number, I’m assuming it’s in the high teens to maybe 20 hours a
month, maybe give or take, depending on the month of the year it is. But I think it’s not always sitting around a table doing things, it’s actively being a
member of our community which we’re already doing. So it’s kind of time well spent. – [Kathy] All right, okay, thank you. As a board member you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what’s best for you or
your family, your friends or your school to do what’s best for the students and district. What does that mean to you? – Well I think that’s gonna be a very hard question for everyone. Because when you have
personal interests involved, it’s difficult at times. But I think learning
from my past experiences, what you have to also do is sometimes look at the whole, right? The six, seven thousand
kids that are out there, our faculty, administrators, and sometimes what’s best for all of them may not be best for your own child. So I think there’s gonna be times that that’s gonna happen. And I think you have to
look at it objectively. I think you have to look at it and say, where’s this gonna be the best benefit. Where is the best value here? And I think you have to
make those decisions. You have to make those calls. And you have to be ready
to make those calls, and sometimes you don’t
wanna make those calls but you have to do it. So I think that goes back to the integrity of the person. You don’t wanna do this kind of level of commitment to be on a board, to see how you could better yourself, your kids or your own family, but how you can better the community, and how you can better overall the level that’s already been established to a higher level. And if you put yourself
first in those roles, inevitably you’re gonna lose. So I think you always have to put yourself at that level of how
is this going to affect community and then work down from that rather than say how’s this gonna affect me and work up from that. – [Bobbie] Great. We are out of time. – Okay, thank you for your time. – [Bobbie] So we appreciate you coming. – [Willy] I’ve got a follow-up. – [Bobbie] Well, I didn’t get to ask the last question either. – [Willy] I don’t think we can strictly. – [Bobbie] Is the board comfortable? Okay, okay, as long as
the board is comfortable with that, let me ask my final question and then we’ll go to followup. Is there any information
about your candidacy you’d like us to consider
that’s not already been shared with us during the interview or in your application. – I think I shared
everything as much as I could on my application and on my resume. I will say it was the first time I’ve done a resume in like 20 years, so I apologize if it
wasn’t more in detail. But I understand you
wanted one so I did one. But I think everything was there. – [Bobbie] Great, thank you. Follow-up. – [Willy] Back to your
comment when you made your response for the strengths in the Novi Schools. You mentioned that the board
can have more involvement and do some more work in some areas. I’m curious to what you
think those would be? – Yeah, you know, I think
one of the major areas that’s on my mind, and I think it’s on a lot of parents minds is safety. And I think it’s something that we all as parents in this whole country have been thrown into. And I think it’s very relevant, and I’m sure there’s been
a lot of work done in that, but I think just because
of recent developments and recent events, it’s just gonna be more on the minds of parents. And that’s what I really meant by that. Is how deeper could we get into the safety of our kids. All of us have children, grandchildren, and what you’ve heard
about in the last months is just, you just don’t ever wanna have it happen again. And at some level what can be done from the bottom up, from the top down, to really really really drive that home to parents and say we’re safe. I think that is one of
the things that really, as a parent, keeps me up at night. Sometimes it doesn’t allow me to go to bed, honestly. How safe are our children when they’re not literally
right next to us. And I don’t mean that as a criticism to the Novi School System, I just think it’s something that, given the last few months
of what’s happened, it’s just on every parent’s mind and it’s gonna come up a lot more than it maybe has in the past. And I think we just, as a community, have to be ready for that. So that’s what I meant by that. – [Willy] Okay, thank you. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – Thank you. – [Bobbie] Thank you for your interest in the position and for being here. We really do appreciate it. We are gonna take a 10 minute break, or we’re supposed to take five. It’s 7:29 right now, can
we come back at 7:35? – [Paul] Sure. – Thank you for your time. [Bobbie] Thank you again for being here. – [Woman] Have a good day Mr. Verma. – [Man] Next. – Oh now we’re gonna
start gettin’ somewhere. – We are back to our candidate interviews this evening on Thursday the 29th. We are awaiting our next candidate. Hi, how are you this evening. – [Bhavani] Good, how are you? – We are good. Thank you for being here. I can try to pronounce, is it Bhavani? – [Bhavani] Yep, awesome, perfect. – Koneru? – [Bhavani] Koneru, yeah. – Well we thank you for being here. I’ll tell you a little bit
about how this is gonna work. We’ve allotted 20 minutes per interview, we have 12 questions to
ask you, ends up being about a minute and a half. You don’t have to time
yourself unless you want to. I’m gonna ask the first question, then we’ll move from
this side of the room, around, and then I’ll
ask the last question. If there’s time we’ll have
time for follow-up questions. So first we’d just like
you to tell us a little bit about yourself, your
family and your history in the Novi Community School District. – [Bhavani] I’m from India. I came here 1993, went
to Wayne State University for my master’s in computer science. I did my master’s at Walsh College for both management and an MBA from Walsh. I’m married with two lovely children, 16 years old and 14. They go to Novi Schools. They went to Woods, they went to Meadows, and Middle School. One of them is eighth
grader and one of them is 11th grader. They play school sports. They are into every single
activity at the school. And I always volunteered
across the Novi School District in every single school that they were in, elementary, middle school, Meadows and help out at the high school too. My passion is coming to this country. I do represent a diversified community. Our community is, as you
know, hopefully you know, Indian community and the
Temple down the street, which we ask for help
from the school district for the school buses all the time, and they have big vans. My husband is the treasurer
and on the governing board for the Temple. – Okay, thank you. Mr. O’Connor. – Okay, what skills and
experience do you offer as a prospective board member? And why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – [Bhavani] I have 20 years of experience in IT industry at higher education. I do understand the needs for education community as a whole, and how to give, actually create policy for the students to get to the very good education for
them, quality of life, and how do they need to be trained to be the best person going out. – Thank you. Are you a advocate for public education, and if so explain why? – [Bhavani] Yes. Public education, every
person in this country contributes for the taxes, they pay taxes. And taxes are what pays
the public education. So I preferred my girls
going to public schools more than private schools because public school is where they get diversified views and
understanding of community and understanding of how
the student life grows. This is actually a typical workforce. You could see this is
how the typical workforce is going to be. It’s not a private
school, it’s going to be a public school which provides you the diversified attitudes
and understanding that every single student
and every individual has to have it. Me being a different person
from a different country, I really, really, it
really helped me blossom when I went to the University which is in Downtown Detroit, to get
that diversified perspective. – Thank you. – Okay, what is the role, in your opinion, what is the role of a board member? And, two part question,
what would you consider micromanagement as it
pertains to this role? – [Bhavani] So the role
of the board member is to actually not just
to create a policy, but to see if the policy is being executed and implemented according to what the thought process behind the policy is. In terms of education, in terms of anything that was created,
how it was developed. So the development
process, a planning process has to happen. So every single plan that was put at the back of the policy
has to be implemented the way it is supposed to be, and the board is the
controller of that policy path and the implementation path. Could you repeat the
second question please? – Yeah, sure, and I tell everybody that, it probably will happen. What would you consider micromanagement as it pertains to the
position of a role of a board? – [Bhavani] So I’ll take US government as, the Congress creates policies
or votes on the policies. The President actually
executes the policies, so for us the superintendent actually executes the policies. We shouldn’t be micromanaging
how it is being executed. We need to provide the idea of how it should be executed
and have some controls and understand how to actually have key performance indicators help us to see how the policy is being executed but not tell them how to do it. – What are the strengths of
the Novi Community Schools? – [Bhavani] Basically I can name for hours what the strengths are
but I’ll start with it. The Novi Community Schools
prepare our students very well for their college education, for their personal well-being
throughout their lifespan. We offer 16 AP classes,
we have 6,266 students across the Novi Community Schools, and we actually provide
a diversified clubs and like the sports and
athletics, music, band, orchestra, choir, this
is a variety of things that we offer to the students to make them an all-rounder, that’s the major important thing, that a student has to be an all-rounder in order to go face the realities of life in the future. – Okay, thank you. – Thank you. – Hi. Here’s a situation we want you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks that the
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board
member, respond to the parent? – [Bhavani] As a board
member I’m not responsible to be even talking to
the students’ parents. The reason being because there is the executive board, I feel like, is the superintendent. They need to go through the right system. It’s not the board’s responsibility to hear the issues of individual people and a teacher especially. That’s not the board is for. The board is here to
overall look at the policy and maintain the policy. There is an executive
system that is actually in charge of those kind of complaints. I don’t see, we as a board should not be getting into individual
things like that. – Okay, thank you. – Okay, what is more
important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding our
superintendent accountable for district performance? – [Bhavani] I would answer it differently, how would I would say
is, we work as one team. The board actually works as one team, and makes the superintendent accountable for how the things are being executed across the school district. – All right. – Thank you, number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation, and what was the resolution? – [Bhavani] So I’ll take my workplace. So people have to be
given clear instructions of what they’re gonna be accountable for. If they do not understand
what they’re accountable for, what is the roles and responsibilities, they will not be able to adhere to what you are asking them to do. That’s the first step. The second step is, if
they’re not accountable through their roles and responsibility for what they are supposed to do, you kind of re-address them and say, these are the things, and document it. Always document everything
that has to happen. So you document information saying that these are the things we see that are being deviated from what has been agreed upon. And you create a development plan and make sure that they
adhere to the plan. It could be, the reason is
when I say development plan, it could be different ranks of how, what kind of people we’re talking about. So definitely we need
to document the process and make them accountable. If things are not happening the way, we need to think about are they fit to do that particular job or not. – Thank you. – Okay, describe a
situation where you work with a group of people and they went in a different direction to which
you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s function and ultimate decision? – [Bhavani] So I believe in teamwork. I’m a big proponent of that. So both my girls play in team sports. From workplace, when
you are managing a team, they could go in a different direction. You have to be flexible
enough to understand what the opposite people are saying, what are their pros and
cons of the situation. If you will be able to
ask probing questions, why you are going in
a different direction, why they’re going in
a different direction, you need to be flexible. You cannot be rigid on what you think. You have to be very
flexible and understanding, because there could be a point. If 10 people are going a direction and you’re the only one saying that is not the righteous thing,
you need to understand if there is something
in what you’re thinking and how to actually convince them if you think that is
the right thing to do. It has to be well thought through and well understood process. – All right. Mr. Cook. – What kind of time
commitment do you believe is involved for this position? And besides attending regularly
scheduled board meetings, how much additional time,
average hours per week, are you willing to commit to
board tasks and functions? – [Bhavani] Not every week is
gonna be the same, definitely, but I would think, I was thinking about when I applied for this
particular position, I thought it was about
10 to 15 hours a week. It could be less than
that in certain weeks, and it could be to that
amount in certain weeks. So that’s the time I
was willing to commit, that’s why I applied for
this particular position. – Thank you. – Thank you. As a board member you may be asked to make decisions where you must put aside what’s best for you,
your family, your friends and your school to do
what’s best for the students and the district. What does that mean to you? – [Bhavani] As a family person, I’ll say family is my first priority. But when it comes to a
board, then you’re trying to help out the community at large, what is it takes. You have to understand what it takes to actually dedicate yourself to do that. When I was gonna apply for this job, that’s the first thing
I have thought about it. Because there’s no space for family when you make certain decisions that are not, you won’t
think about the family, you won’t think about your near people. You have to think about
community at large. You have to think about what
is the right thing to do for the community at large. And as I said, you need
to convince the people, you don’t try to say this
is what you wanna do, you wanna convince the
people how you want to do it, and what is the right thing to do. – Okay, thank you. All right, we’re back to me. Is there any other information
about your candidacy that you would like us to consider that has not already been shared with us in the interview or in your application? – [Bhavani] No, I kind of put
my case in my application. Because I would like to see, like, we are a diversified community, and I would like to represent
the diversified community and do the right thing
for the school board. And definitely my answers are short because that’s how I expect it to be. Because I do not like
to take too much time from people, because everybody’s times are very valuable. That’s how I see it. – Thank you. Are there follow-up
questions that anyone has for Bhavani? Sorry, no one. We thank you so much for your interest. – [Bhavani] Oh thank you. – And we thank you for
being here tonight with us, and that concludes the interview. – Thank you. – [Bhavani] Oh thank you so much. – Yes, thank you very much. Have a good evening. – [Bhavani] Thank you. – Hey Bobbie? – Yes. – The last two, the last three candidates, I think since we came back,
the cameras aren’t switching. – Oh. – To the candidate? – Yeah, to the candidate. – Are you guys aware that
the camera isn’t switching to the candidate? When they come in? Obviously there’s no one here right now, but. – Let’s see if he can show us a shot of the front of the chair. Flip the camera. There you go. Okay, so that’s how we need it. Thank you. Nice catch, Kath. – Thank you, well, yeah. I’m not looking at it. – No, neither am I, but she’s sittin’ over there, so. – Yeah, so she’s able to see it. – I don’t like to be on camera so I usually look up like, ugh. – They’ll repeat it in two views too. – Right, thank you. – [Chris] Hello. – Mr. Harpenau, thank you for being here. I’ll explain a little
bit on how this works, even though you have
been through it before. It’s been some time and
it’s a little shorter now, we’re 20 minutes. We’re going through our questions. We have 12 questions still. It’s about a minute and
a half for questions. We’re not finding that too problematic for most people. And then if there’s time,
there’ll be follow-up questions at the end. I will start and then we’ll
move in this direction. So, let us begin. Tell us a little bit about
yourself, your family and your history in the Novi
Community School District. – A little bit about myself. We’ve lived here, coming up on 13 years, and I have twin girls in
sixth grade at Meadows. We came through Parkview. And I really enjoyed the school district and the girls have had great
experiences, great teachers. My wife, she works at Schoolcraft College. She teaches in the biology department, and teaches primarily biology or anatomy/physiology classes. A little bit about myself. I work for a specialty chemical company. Our office is in Madison Heights. We primarily service the automotive, as far as this office, primarily, the automotive-type business. But a lot of the products
that we represent are processed materials, adhesives, sealants, cleaners, lubricants, coatings. And so for me, my role is
Global Portfolio Manager in technologies, and
Global Brand Management. – [Bobbie] Okay. – [Dennis] What skills and experience do you offer as a
prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – As far as skills, I believe my skills include my dedication, my creativity, my attention to detail,
both my professional and also in my personal life. As far as taking something
and following through and taking it to completion, looking at all aspects of it. My bringing my ability
to listen to the table and listening to people’s opinions, listening to their views,
doing research on a topic. What’s the best way to try and accomplish the end goal, and then taking that and trying to implement
that, or finding ways to implement that. Those are the types of skills that I would hope to bring to the board. And just a pure dedication and wanting to continue to serve our district and our community. – [Tracey] Thank you. Question number three. Are you a advocate for public education, and if so explain why? – I’m definitely an advocate
for public education. I think our district itself
brings a tremendous value to the community. A sense of community and the opportunities are available, are very diverse, along with the community itself. And that there is, gosh I can’t think of the right word, that having a strong public education, having a strong education,
something that will allow you to build and for the future is paramount, and having that presence in the community, having a strong public
education school district helps in just building
that overall community and being a successful person. – [Willy] Okay. What is the role of a board member? It’s a two part question here. What is the role of a board member, and also what would you
consider micromanagement as it pertains to this role? – What is the role of a board member? I believe the role of a board member is to represent the students, the staff, the community, the district. And to listen to their opinions and be an advocate for
the best path forward, and along with that of
knowing and researching, discussing what that best path it would be in making sound decisions. Whether it’s on personnel or financial, governance, but taking
the time and the effort to understand everything and making sure that the best path forward is with everybody in mind. As far as micromanaging? What was the definition of micromanaging? – [Willy] So what would you consider micromanagement with
regards to the position, this particular role as a board member? – As a board member? I think with any position, in any role, that there’s a level of trust, there’s a level of accountability, and that people are put in roles. Whether it’s a teacher,
whether it’s a staff member, administration, a board member, that you have that level of trust for those people. And that the process works correctly. And so hopefully there’s not a strong need to micromanage as a board member, and that the, kind of the, I don’t know if it answers
your question completely, but that there’s not a strong need for micromanaging and that the process works through itself. I am not a micromanager, but I am a very detail oriented person. So I want to work with other people and knowing everything and
understanding everything. But I don’t stand over their shoulder. And that’s really been a part of my professional life as well, from a personal or
especially professional life. That I have not been micromanaged. The expectation has been put out there, here’s the goal. Here’s what we need from you, Chris. And so I work towards that goal. I consult if I need to, other people, my boss, whomever. But I don’t, I have not been micromanaged in a long time. And I feel that’s a good thing. And so that would be something that hopefully that I would be able to follow. – [Paul] What are the strengths
of Novi Community Schools? – The strengths of Novi Community Schools, I think there’s a wide variety of them. But, first and foremost is
the educational background or the educational
foundation that is available. The opportunities that are
available to our students. I think the dedication of
our staff and administrators. To me, in what I see, my experience, and the people I’ve interacted with. I’ve had very positive business or, not business relationships, but just working relationships or
teacher/parent relationship has been very positive, or
administrator relationship. I think that asset is, to
me, has been tremendous, and has been a very positive experience. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. Here’s a situation we want you to analyze. A parent calls you with a
complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks that the
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to this parent. – My first question is going to be, did the student address it
with the teacher specifically? I think the more that we can have that teacher/student
interaction as that first layer of review and connection,
then it just helps further down the line of, mom and dad are not always gonna be there to help in answering or
knocking on your boss’ door, and has that been accomplished, has that been reviewed or considered or taken place. So I think that’s
definitely a first question that I would ask, has that been? And then just from a
hierarchial standpoint, as far as has the next connect been made between the principal, or has the student addressed it with anyone else, another peer, or maybe another teacher, on
how that’s been discussed. For me, kind of the last resort that I could think of would be having a board member to
have a direct interaction. It escalates up to that point, hopefully that wouldn’t need, that there’s other steps in the process that would take place and before that would need to be considered. – [Bobbie] Okay. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] What is more
important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding their
superintendent accountable for district performance? – Board, I’m sorry, say it again. – [Dennis] No problem. What’s more important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at the table, or board members holding their
superintendent accountable for district performance? – Both. (laughs) – [Dennis] And why? – Well, hopefully as a board, that the board can have
meaningful discussion and that fruitful discussion. I would never expect everybody to agree on everything, but hopefully
it’s a positive discussion. But at the same time, there is, of course, as the superintendent being the top of the administration pyramid, that there is an
accountability there as well. I think just depending upon the topic or the discussion points. I mean if they’re directly
connected to each other, if it’s a topic in holding
the superintendent accountable or if there’s a discussion
within the board itself. But hopefully there would
be enough positive things, enough positive discussion
moving forward that, I hold myself accountable at a high level, hopefully everybody else would as well. – [Bobbie] All right. Mrs. Stevenson. – [Tracey] Sorry. Yes, number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation, and what was the resolution? – Well from a professional standpoint, I’ve had a few. In my role, I work in Global Teams. And so most of my communication is email or phone, a lot of email. And so not knowing what everybody is doing on a daily basis, and where they are at, it’s kind of like, here’s my priority or here’s the project we are working on. Here’s the timeline for it. And sometimes those aren’t always met, and then trying to understand why are they not being met. And so how I try and first address it is trying to understand what their maybe limitations are, maybe
its they didn’t understand what I was asking about. Having so many different languages and people that English is
not their native language, English is about the only
language I can speak. To me that’s always
kinda the first place of, did they understand what
I’m trying to accomplish in this project. And then as it goes forward, if we’re still not meeting it, then it’s continued discussion, trying to find other
people maybe in that region that may be able to help out or help in helping me, again, better understand what the delay is, what the issue is. Maybe it’s something completely unrelated. But in the end, if
there’s a continued delay, then it’s kind of again
moving up the ladder, moving to the next spot. And not saying this person is not getting the information, but again trying to, I’m always trying to keep it positive, and saying I’m trying to understand why they’re not delivering
at a certain time. You know, these expectations
or these objectives. Can you help me understand maybe what they’re dealing with type of thing. And things like that that
help, kind of indirectly, that help in getting things accomplished. – [Bobbie] All right. – [Willy] Okay, so describe a situation where you worked with a group of people and they went in a direction to which you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – Adamantly opposed. (laughs) I wonder if there’s an adamantly opposed view. I mean there’s been disagreements, or maybe some different views. But how I, again, first try and take it is kind of understanding what their view is. They have what they
feel is a strategic goal or a path that they wanna go down. And I don’t always maybe feel that maybe it’s not the right path, but I wanna understand
why they feel that way, why is that the right path. And in part by asking questions, so trying to ask questions that help maybe me understand better but also maybe they understand or helping them to better understand what the project is or what the end goal is. So that maybe it changes
their mind a little bit or it takes it maybe in a
slightly different direction. They may not completely 180 it but it just kind of takes us
all down the same path with the same objective. – [Bobbie] Okay. – [Paul] What kind of time
commitment do you believe is involved for this position? And besides attending regularly
scheduled board meetings, how much additional time,
average hours per week, are you willing to commit to
board tasks and functions? – I’m willing to dedicate
the time necessary, one. How much time that is,
I believe it’s a lot of research, understanding,
communicating with each other and as far as the amount of time. (man sneezes) – Excuse me.
– God bless you. – [Man] I’m sorry. – The amount of time involved. It would be hard for me
to estimate the total, the potential time involved. But evenings, weekends, things like that. As far as events, I enjoy
going to events today and experiencing all the
different types of things that our students bring
and our staff bring to the table, and would continue to go to those and promote those. I think that that’s a good opportunity for community relations,
community connection, district connections,
to show a dedication. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. As a board member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what’s best for you,
your family, your friends or your school, to do what’s best for the students and the district. So what does that mean to you? – Well, I would hope that if it’s good for the students that it would be good for the school. – [Kathy] So that wasn’t a trick question. – Okay. (laughs) – [Kathy] Do you want me
to, let me say it again. – Okay. – [Kathy] So what does this mean to you, as a board member you may
be asked to make a decision where you must put your, put aside, sorry, you must put aside what’s best for you or your family or your
friends or your school, to do what’s best for the
students and the district. – Oh, okay, so the schools
that the students are in. – [Kathy] Yeah, the students. – That my students would be in. – [Kathy] Sorry, yes. – Not my students, my
children would be in. (laughs) Okay. (laughs) So what was the first part? What does it mean to? – [Kathy] So as a board member, – Right. – [Kathy] When you’re making a decision, you may be asked to put aside
– Set aside. – [Kathy] What is best
for you or your family or your children or their school. – Right, yep, yeah, yeah, yeah. – [Kathy] Right, so what
does that mean to you? – What does it mean to me? Okay. I would not have a problem with it. Because I think that what ultimately is good for everyone is not gonna be, well, what’s good for the district is not necessarily good for everyone. And that, there’s conflict there’s things that come
up, issues that come up, and we just have to constructively deal with them and talk about them after, if it’s afterwards, with, say if it was with my wife or with
friends that maybe have a question about something. And whatever I was
privileged to be able to say, at whatever point in time, that it would hopefully be, again, a constructive discussion and it’s not a finger-pointing session, let’s say. Because, again, I think that
the way I present myself in situations and in
discussing with people or friends or family is fairly detailed, and that communicating that, the ability to communicate
kind of the end result, the end goal of what it would yield by doing X. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. – [Bobbie] Okay, last question, is there any information
about your candidacy that you’d like us to consider that has not already been shared with us during this interview? – Other than what is,
what was, I submitted? – [Bobbie] Yeah. Or on your application, I apologize. – Or my application, yes. There’s nothing really truly new. I look forward to the opportunity. I appreciate the time and the effort and what you do for the district today, and your dedication to our students. – [Bobbie] All right. We are kinda over on our time, so I just wanna make
sure, is there anybody that has a pressing follow-up question? – [Woman] No I’m good. – [Man] No, thank you. – [Bobbie] Okay, thank you. – Okay, thank you. – [Bobbie] Thank you for coming. Thanks for the interest. And if you’ll let Mrs.
Holly know that we’re ready. – [Chris] I will. – [Man] Thank you Chris. – Spoke too soon about
moving things too fast. – What’s that? – I said I spoke too soon
about (speaking faintly) thank you. We’ve slowed down now. – That’ll work, sure. I’m timing every one. – That one wasn’t short. – Yeah it was, it was, oh no you’re right, it did go over, sorry,
that’s a wrong start dammit. – That’s all right. You’re allowed to be wrong occasionally. – I know dammit. (Woman laughs) – What are you two doin’ over there? – Oh, I’m laughin’ at them. – You spying on them, she’s
laughing, yeah I know, I know, or bantering. – Not. – The computer system’s online. – Hi. – [Mahasti] Hi. – 21 is that enough. Open an honest dialogue. – [Mahasti] Thank you so much. – Great, thank you. Thanks for being here. – [Mahasti] Thank you. – I’m Bobbie and we talked
earlier on the phone. – [Mahasti] Yes, I’m Mahasti. – Thank you for your flexibility, we really do appreciate you being flexible and coming this evening. – [Mahasti] No problem. – And would you like to
pronounce your name for us? – [Mahasti] Yes, my name
is Mahasti Mafee Shahidi. – Great. Well thank you for being here. The way this’ll work is that I’ll start. We’ve allowed about 20
minutes per interview, that’s about a minute
and a half per question. We have 12 questions that we’ll be asking. And then after I ask the first question, it will go to Mr. O’Connor
and then we’ll move in this direction and then back. And then I’ll close out
with the final question. So if you’d like to begin by telling us just a little bit about
yourself, your family and your history in the Novi
Community School District. – Sure. I moved to Novi in 1997. I used to live on the north end of Novi, and my daughter was in a
Montessori school at the time. And I was working in a private school that was close to the Montessori school. And then after awhile I decided that it was time for my daughter to enter the public school. She was at Brookfield
Academy for four years, and I thought, okay, I want her to go to a good school. And I didn’t, at that time, the Walled Lake School District wasn’t as appealing because it was a C plus school district, and Novi was getting A ratings, although I was in the Novi community, living in Novi with a zip code of Novi, I was not in the Novi School District. So my husband and I decided to look around the south end of Novi so that my daughter can get a really good
education and come here. And so at third grade she came to Novi Community Schools and
we were fortunate enough for her to get an
excellent education here. You offer the best education
because my daughter actually graduated from Novi High School and went to University of Michigan undergrad, completed her education, got accepted to accelerated nursing and now she’s going to go into pharmacy. So she’s doing very
well and I attribute it to Novi Schools. I have two other children who went to a private school with
me when I was working as a teacher at a private school. And then two years ago we decided to transfer them out and bring them to the Novi School Districts
because I got a job as a principal and I
left my school district, so it was time for them
to spread their wings and to start a new chapter in their lives. – [Bobbie] Great, thank you. – [Dennis] Okay, what
skills and experience do you offer as a
prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – Okay. I’ve been in the education
field for 20 years, I was a teacher for 17 years. I subbed, I student taught at Walled Lake, I subbed in Romulus, so I
had that urban background, cultural diversity. I also subbed in Novi so I
know this side of the town too. And then now I’m a principal and I work with Yemeni students, refugee students, Detroit zip code but Hamtramck Community. Very different. My teachers are generally
African-American and white, but my students are
Yemeni with 85% Yemeni, and 15% African-American and Bengali. So I think I can offer
you a diverse perspective. I can offer you my educational background. I can offer you what I’ve
learned as a teacher. What I’ve learned as a principal, as an administrator. I’ve attended monthly board meetings for the last two years with my school. I’ve learned a lot about
financial aspect of schools, budget allocation. What to do to help the culture
and climate of schools. How to work with teachers, I’ve mentored and coached teachers in this job and in my last job I was a teacher leader and I was a master teacher, And now I feel like I’m evolving and becoming a better leader
in my field every day. Better instructional
leader and school leader. – [Bobbie] Thank you. [Tracey] Thank you, question number three. Are you a advocate for public education and if so, explain why? – Hundred percent. I did teach at a private school, for the school in Montessori, and I’m a graduate of
public school as well. I went to school in Belleville, Michigan. I grew up in Belleville. Met my husband and we moved to Novi. But public education gives
you global information, it shows you a more broad perspective of how to study and to learn, and how to work with
people in a community. It is not just, okay, it’s
not just one streamlined train of thought. How do I explain it? It’s very broad, that’s something I like. It offers a lot of opportunity. There’s a variety of
sports, athletics involved for the students. There are a lot of
opportunities like math club, drama club, theater,
singing, dancing, choir, whereas I find, not that I’m opposed to private education, obviously. I taught in a private school. But the opportunities
weren’t as presented, were more limited. Whereas the public schools offer a lot. They offer a lot in terms of diversity. We can’t deny that. The private schools that
I have myself attended, and my kids have attended were very narrow in their focus. Whereas public schools
offer you that opportunity to work with a lot of different people and a lot of different groups. And I like the fact that
the money from the state helps us build our education
in the public school, whereas in private school
the money’s not always there. Resources are not always there. Teaching staffs are limited. Especially I’ve noticed that
technology’s very limited in private schools,
whereas in public school you can’t outdo Novi
Community School’s library or their labs, their computer
labs, their technology. Their teachers are excellent, it’s an excellent program. – [Willy] Okay, what is
the role, in your opinion, what is the role of a board member, and then also what would
you consider micromanagement as it pertains to this role? – Okay. From my perspective, the
role of a board member is to be open-minded, first of all. Second of all, to be knowledgeable about the school district and the teachers and the programs. Third of all, the board
member should be able to really really understand the budget, and the goals and the vision of the school and work alongside with the teachers and with other board members, so that you can work collaboratively and as a team to create a positive impact for the school district as a whole. I would assume that
micromanagement would be, in my opinion, trying to basically dictate to the principals exactly
how to run their schools, take away their autonomy. How to handle discipline perhaps, like in the school or even how to allocate funds for certain programs for professional learning
communities, for PDs. I think the board has to be open-minded and work with the administrators so that the administrators
can do their best work in the school for the
benefit of the teachers and the students. But the board has to guide and listen and facilitate, but ultimately a lot of, I think, the end of the day, the administrators, the principals should have some room to do their work to their best ability. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – [Paul] Thank you. What are the strengths of
the Novi Community Schools? – Where do I begin? The community, an excellent community, the resources, the
proximity of the schools, the transportation department, the busing, the food service, just the menus for the students are amazing. The teachers are top-notch. I just went to the
parent-teacher conference the other night for middle school and the teachers are friendly,
sociable, personable. I went to the high school
parent-teacher conference a couple weeks ago and
my son is a freshman, my daughter is a first
year in middle school, and the teachers, they communicate. Communication’s number
one, they communicate well, they send emails, there’s
always some sort of communication from Novi High School, from Dr. Matthews, from Miss Carter, from Miss Schriner, from Mr. Comb, these are positive attributes
of your school system that the communication is out there, parents are not in the dark, they know what’s going on. Also you have excellent
programs, athletic programs that are unbeatable every day. The basketball’s winning,
or volleyball’s somewhere. You have excellent programs
like HOSA and DECA, how many people have actually
won awards, it’s amazing. So the opportunities, I would say, contribute to making Novi Schools one of the best schools in the state. As I said, I moved here because Novi was considered
an A plus school district, or A school district back in 2001, when I came to this side of Novi. Sorry. (laughs) – [Kathy] Thank you. Okay, next. Here’s a situation we want you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks the
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to this parent? – Okay, so would I be able
to talk to the parent? – [Kathy] They called you. – They called me directly? – [Kathy] They’re talking, yeah, right. – As a board member, the first thing I would do is listen. I would seek to understand the complaint before jumping to any conclusions or trying to resolve anything. I would listen to the complaint. Then, depending on the situation, I think I would ask the board member, excuse me, the parent, to speak directly to the teacher first. Go back to the teacher, find out, you know, I know how children operate. They tell you a story,
parents are emotional, they buy into that story, they don’t know what’s happening on the other side of the door. They’re not quite sure what’s happening in that classroom. They only know what their
child is telling them. And they’re emotional so
they’re gonna buy into what their student said. But you need a broader picture. So I would tell this parent, you need to have perspective
from the classroom. You need to know what your
teacher’s going through and what’s really happening. So I would ask this
person, this individual, this parent, please talk
to the teacher first. Find out how your child is behaving in the classroom, why they feel that things are unfair. Perhaps the teacher doesn’t even recognize that the child is feeling targeted or feeling that something is unfair. Clarify those issues. Give it some time. I would tell them, give it some time. If you don’t see any resolution, if you don’t see anything changing, contact the principal. Talk to the principal next. That’s how I would do it. I’m thinking of myself as a parent as well as a board member. Talk to the principal next,
explain your concerns. Tell them what’s been happening, tell them you spoke to the teacher, you talked to your child,
things are not resolving. Next step talk to the principal and see how you can solve this as a team. Perhaps the principal will tell you, let’s work together. Me, you, your child and the teacher, to come up with a result
that you are looking for for your child. – [Kathy] Thank you. – You’re welcome. – [Dennis] What is more
important to you and why? Board members accountability
to each other at this table, or board members holding
their superintendent accountable for district performance? Which one’s more important and why? – That’s an excellent question. I think at the end of the
day, the superintendent is going to be the one
who directly affects the principals who directly
affect the teachers who directly affect the students. I do feel that the board members should have a loyalty to each other and be on the same page. But the superintendent is the person that I’m looking for him to be accountable and for me to be accountable for him, because I’m entrusting my
administrators with him and the teachers with the administrators and the students with the teacher. So I think that’s my best answer for now. – [Bobbie] Thank you. – You’re welcome. – [Tracey] Number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation, and what was the resolution? – Okay. I came into a school district 2016 fall. I walked into a school
that was extremely negative and it was a culture shock for me because I’d worked in a school district for 17 years where
people worked as a team. And I came into a school
that was not very accepting of new leadership. They liked the fact
that their old principal was their buddy. They didn’t want someone new that they had to be accountable for and actually prove themselves to. That they had to maximize instruction, that they had to use curriculum correctly, that they had to be nice to the students. That they were there, invested,
student-oriented building, not just adult-oriented concerns about my pay, my days off. So I went there with all these issues and I one by one had to pull people in and say, this is going to change. We want a positive school, we’re gonna change the culture, we’re gonna change the climate. I wanna see everyone on the same page and if you can’t muster this, and you can’t meet the challenges, there are gonna be some changes. We have an evaluation
system, we use Marzano’s. And through the rubric of Marzano’s and daily walk-throughs
and following the domains, and then several other
evaluation key pieces all having to do with data, but some were also subjective as far as are you a positive influence on the students? Are you positive in the
culture and the team of the school? And then I had a nice talk with my boss and I said, you know, I know
you’re not gonna like this because you want teacher retention, but some of these teachers
are not worth retaining. And I think it’s time for me to speak up and let them know. If they can’t change and
if they’re not willing to do what the school district wants, and what the school wants, and what’s best for these kids, we’re not gonna keep them around. And he’s like, Mahasti,
that’s really tough to hear because it is very difficult right now. Teacher shortage is reality and we wanna keep these teachers. But if you believe, and I believe in you, that you can do something to
help the school, go ahead. And I had to have that
talk with these teachers, and say, this is it, I’m not kidding. I wanna bring you all back,
but if you’re not with me, if this school’s not running as a student-oriented center, that’s it. And ultimately we let go of many people and we’ve hired in new. And the staff this year is exceptional, and I’m so proud of them
because they’re actually positive people working for the same goal, following the vision of the school and just everybody is collaborating, everybody’s on the same page. Everybody is out there for the student, and I’m really happy about what’s happened in our school. Really proud of it. – [Bobbie] That’s great, thank you. – [Willy] Describe a
situation where you work with a group of people and they went in a different direction to which you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and the ultimate decision? – Okay. Lot of things are coming to mind. I’m just tryin’ to think of something that would be applicable. This is a simple example. Recently we had Literacy
Night in our school, which was a very successful event. March is Reading Month in our school and as students were
required to read every day during D.A.R.E. time, and we had plans and our plans were to collect money, collect funds, so that we could offer these kids wonderful programs. And I had a lot of teachers thinking that it wasn’t gonna happen. They were opposed to some of the ideas. So I thought about it and I said, how can I change this. I have my way of trying to
raise funds for the school, they have theirs, let’s figure this out. So I sat back and I
reflected, which I do a lot. And I wrote an email to my staff, and I said, this is Literacy Month, and as much as I’m invested in my ideas, I understand where you’re coming from. And I am going to make this
a teacher-driven activity. I wanna see what we can produce, and I’m putting it in your lap. You’re going to have KLC staff meetings and work together to
create this activity night as a team. I am going to step back. I am an observer, I’m not
going to get involved. I wanna see what’s going on. So I did, and I watched, and I observed, and they sent me notes,
they sent me minutes. Some of the meetings I was present, some I wasn’t. I just wanted them to take charge, ’cause I feel like the school is very much leader-driven, they’re
always waiting for me to come up with the next idea, for me to do the next thing. But when it came to raising funds, they didn’t like my idea. So I said, okay, I’ll let ya do it. And once everything,
once the ball got rolling and the plans were in place, it actually worked out very nicely, and then I got involved and I tweaked here and tweaked there, and they were much more willing to compromise with me since I gave them so
much autonomy and freedom and independence to actually create this event for the school. So I think by stepping
back and allowing them to do their work had helped us get together as a team. – [Paul] What kind of time commitment do you believe is involved
for this position? And besides attending regularly
scheduled board meetings, how much additional time,
rough hours per week, are you willing to commit to
board tasks and functions? – Well, I’ll be honest with you, I read what you were requiring. I think it was every other Thursday. And I think visiting the schools and maybe some summertime, some weekends. I don’t remember exactly,
but when I read it, I was willing to accept these terms, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Because I know how much time it takes to be an administrator. I know how much time it
takes to be a board member. Like I said, I attend
board meetings monthly and I know what our board
does for the school. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. So I will read a statement and we want to, we’re going to ask you
what it means to you. So as a board member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what’s best for you,
your family, your friends and your school, to do what’s best for the students and district. So what does that mean to you? – That’s exactly what I’m doing now. It’s being objective,
it’s looking at things from a perspective that isn’t selfish. It’s looking at things that, what is gonna benefit my student. What is gonna benefit this
school district, this community. If I went into my job
thinking I’m only gonna benefit one or two people,
I wouldn’t be there. My goal was to help these
300 refugee students become better, to be able to speak, to produce language
skills, listening skills, reading skills, writing skills. If I was there for my sake or for my teachers’ sake,
I would not be successful, nor would I have remained. So to answer your question, I would be very objective and I’d do what it takes for the right reasons. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Bobbie] All right. We’re back to the final question which is, is there any other information
about your candidacy that you would like us to consider that has not already been shared with us in the interview or in your application? – I guess my final thoughts are, one reason I chose to come tonight and to interview for this,
even if I’m not accepted, was to kind of share out there that we need more diversity in Novi. I will tell you, my son and my daughter are 10 years apart. When my daughter went to school, she felt like very much
a minority in her school, where we are Persian-American, and she was like, mom, there’s
no Persians in my school, there are no Muslims in my school. I’m alone. There’s a few Indians here and there. 10 years have passed, my
son’s friends are Indian, they’re Chinese, they’re Japanese, they’re African-American, my neighbors are African-American, Chinese, Indian. And I like that. And I felt why not a
Persian, Iranian, American, whatever, although I’ve been here many many many years, grew up here, went to school here, I have my culture to share with you. And I think I bring
that global perspective, that cultural perspective to the table. – [Bobbie] Okay. Are there any follow-up questions that the board has for Ms. Shahidi? – [Woman] No, thank you. – [Bobbie] Thank you, thank
you for your interest. – Thank you. – [Bobbie] We really do appreciate it. – Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me. – [Bobbie] And thank you
again for being flexible. – Oh, no problem. – [Bobbie] We really do appreciate that. – [Mahasti] Have a nice
Easter and spring break. – Thank you. – You too. – You also. – I was gonna ask you if
you were from New York City. You’ve got that east coast spunk, where I grew up from, and I just. – [Mahasti] You know what, I lived in New York City, Queens, for three years of my life. You did? – I knew it. – [Mahasti] My dad, he did his residency in New York, we went there for three years and then we moved here in ’74 and we’ve been here ever since. So yeah, I have a little bit in me. – You recognized it. – I knew it. (board laughs) – [Mahasti] You’re smart. – Thank you. – [Mahasti] Take care, bye bye. – Okay. – Sorry, it was killin’ me. I had to know. – That’s okay, that’s okay. Are you talking to yourself? – I’m counting. – Oh, okay, okay. – I’m the only child. I can do those kind of things. – Yeah, that’s why I, I just wasn’t sure if you were mumblin’ under your breath, or what you were doin’. – [Tom] Is it time for a cup of coffee around here? – Good evening. – Would you like. – Whatever you want, the general gotcha. – Yeah, find a good one. – Sorry, I can’t see
the name, what was that? (board laughs) – Mr. Smith, thank you. Thank you for your flexibility. – [Tom] Sure. – I know you’ve been
bumped around a little bit. – [Tom] That’s, that’s fine. – We really, we do appreciate that. The way this will work is that I will ask the first question, we have
12 questions to ask you. We’ve allowed about 20 minutes. We’ve gone over, we’ve gone under, but that’s the ball park
that we’re shooting for in order to keep it reasonable. So I’ll ask the first
question, then we’ll go to Mr. O’Connor, we’ll
move this direction, and then I will close us out with the final question. And if you don’t understand a question and need clarification,
please don’t hesitate to ask. – [Tom] Okay, thank you. – All right, so the first thing is, if you’d like to tell us a little bit about yourself, your
family and your history in the Novi Community School
District, appreciate that. – Well thanks for staying so late. It’s been a long day,
I’m sure, for all of us, so I appreciate that. And I appreciate the audience member for supporting the candidates. (board laughs) I’ve lived in the district for 21 years. I reside in Island Lake with my wife Amy, and our three children. I dropped off our eldest,
who is soon to be 16, this morning at the airport for her trip to, where she went, the Galapagos islands,
with the Spanish class. So it’s kinda crazy. So she is going to Ecuador, I guess, first and then they make their
way to the Islands. So she’s our eldest. Our middle daughter,
Tiffany, is in eighth grade at that building and then our son Thomas is 12 and he’s a sixth grader at Meadows. My wife and I are business owners in the community. We own a financial services firm on Town Center Drive. We’ve been there for, oh gosh, 10 years. The business has been in
Novi for the last 18 years, so that’s me. – [Bobbie] All right, thank you. Mr. O’Connor. – [Dennis] So what skills and experience do you offer as a
prospective board member, and why do you think you’re qualified to serve on the board? – I believe, Mr. O’Connor,
my primary skill set was developed over the last 30 years as a leader in a Fortune 500 company. American Express was the company that I started with back in 1989, and through spending
time working with others, learning how to be collaborative, learning how to provide
hope when hope is needed, yet to be clear in defining reality, which is, I think, a leader’s job to define reality and provide hope, has allowed me to be relatively effective in working with groups of others, and changing things effectively and not having to do it in a manner that’s full of conflict and argumentative, back and forth versus, again, maintaining more collaborative effort. Also, as a business owner,
I’m results-oriented. So I believe that an example of that would be as President of the
Novi Educational Foundation. We’ve improved our ability to fund-raise, which allows us to impact more lives, and some of you are familiar with the work that we do at the NEF. But it’s not just about
getting along with people, it’s about getting along with people and getting results. And that’s what I’ve done
for the last 30 years. – [Tracey] Thank you. Question number three. Are you a advocate of public education, and if so, explain why? – I’m an advocate of
public education, yes, Ms. Stevenson, and
demonstrated by the fact that we have our three kids in the Novi Community School District. I grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and attended Immaculate Heart of Mary, from second grade through eighth grade, and went to Grand Rapids Catholic Central for four years. My wife went to St. Anne’s in Warren, and then attended Bishop
Foley for four years. So the intention, when
my wife and I married, and started to have our family, was to have our kids go through a Catholic educational
program just like we both did. And we moved in May of ’02 to Island Lake, and our first daughter
was born in July of ’02, and we began to familiarize ourselves with the resources that Novi offered, in particular, in our
case, Deerfield Elementary, which was 250 yards away
from our front door. And we toured the school and
we were actively involved in our Parish, which is
St. James here in Novi. And after learning a little bit more about what Deerfield offered,
and seeing the resources that our kids would
have, and comparing that to what our background
was and deciding okay, we could drive our kids
to Farmington every day to go to Our Lady of Sorrows, or up to Walled Lake,
or we can ride our bikes with them to Deerfield. And we were confident that the education that they’d receive there would be top notch and so we made the
decision to commit ourselves to the Novi Community School District and public schooling, and get involved in things like the Novi
Educational Foundation, and the PTO. And we both served, my wife
as PTO committee person, finance chair, and then I’ve
gotten involved as well. And then we’ve balanced that with a unique spiritual
life out of St. James and the Student Education Program there, where I’m also a teacher. So, it’s a balance. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Willy] Okay, in your opinion, what is the role of a board member, and also what would you
consider micromanagement as it pertains to this role? – I think the role of a board member is to show up with the idea
that we’re here to serve and we’re here to serve for the benefit of the kids in the district. It’s ultimately my love for those children and my desire to see them
have a quality education that would even lead me to consider such a position. I think, then therefore
our role as board members would be to put in place procedures that would allow for the people that we’re serving, residents of Novi, to see that their tax
dollars aren’t being, excuse the pun,
willy-nillyed on bad hires, that we run as a transparent organization so that individuals can
see how we make decisions as it relates to who we’re hiring in an administrative capacity. Whether that’s the superintendent or looking and exploring the decisions like privatization of things
like the cafeteria services. We have a budget we need to follow. We’re running a business and we’re serving on behalf of the people to
run that business efficiently and in a capacity that
serves all of our kids in the best way possible. Micromanaging might be an example, I would think of, Mr. Mena, would be me offering my two cents on what textbook might be the best for
an AP algebra course. That’s not my expertise. I don’t think it’s micromanagement to really do our due
diligence and insistence if we’re looking at
hiring a, say a principal for one of our schools, and
understanding the criteria. Let’s say for example
our superintendent uses, if they want to make a decision or extend a contract or act in a manner that would ultimately involve and impact the lives of our students, I think we need to be
cognizant of the systems that we have in place. But I think that’s the
definition of having a process, is it’s that removal of discretion when making decisions. So I think we need to be careful whom we would grant discretion to, and it’s ultimately our responsibility to make sure that those systems that we have in place are transparent and designed for the benefit of the kids. – [Paul] What are the strengths of the Novi Community Schools? – Oh gosh, you’ve reviewed
some of those numbers at your last board meeting, where we were tops in Oakland County, tops in the state with regards to our students’ growth
progress year over year. We compare very favorably with Troy and Birmingham and I think those three school boards came up in the top one, two or three spots in almost every category. But when you looked at the overall scores, we were really second to none. Which carries with it a tremendous weight and responsibility. And also to not be complacent with that. So I believe our greatest
achievement so far is the fact that our kids are phenomenal. And I can speak not just to the fact that I saw some slides or some charts from Jeff that said, hey, here’s where we rank here, here’s where we rank there. That’s great. I’m talking about having an intern in my business last summer, Ditya, who is a senior at Novi
High School this year, and is President of the DECA group. These kids are amazing. It’s one thing to talk about what we see as results,
it’s another thing, I had the pleasure a couple of months ago to, Mr. Cook, of sitting
in Jodi Forster’s classroom listening to one of her students, Robert Shu, do his presentation on a senior project that he was partly fulfilling at
Smith & Associates in Novi and then part of that led to him doing a presentation to his class. I do a fair amount of public speaking and I listened to this young man speak for 15 minutes and he didn’t miss a beat. So our students are phenomenal. Where we have an opportunity is to help those top-notch students really achieve even greater results. And I think we have some students that are maybe at the
bottom of that spectrum. And I don’t think it’s fair to lose sight of them as well. I don’t wanna rest on our laurels, and I can appreciate that
it’s gonna be difficult to figure out how do we
really measure growth year over year when we’re best in class. But we’re not the only
board that has that issue. I’m sure Troy’s working on something, I’m sure Birmingham’s
working on something. I think it’d be foolish
to rely on the state to come and help us out and show us how to do that. So I think that’s our strength, is that we’re in a great spot right now. Our focus on some of the other issues involving the kids’ non,
if you will, school skills. That ability to communicate,
the mental health issues, the things that they can
take with ’em for a lifetime. We do a phenomenal job
K through really four. I know we talk about going K through six, with the Leader in Me Program. But I’m just reminding you guys, I know that you get this,
and I’ve seen each of you over the years at
different leadership days at the different elementary schools. But our elementary students and the groundwork that they get on that Stephen Covey’s 7
Habits is outstanding. Being a Lighthouse District, being the only school
district in the whole country that had each one of the buildings, a Lighthouse Program for Leader in Me was a phenomenal effort. And thanks again to the
Novi Educational Foundation. But it’s those types
of programs, Mr. Cook, that allow us to be great. And figuring out how to continue that, not just K through four
but all the way through 12, that’s our challenge. – [Kathy] Okay, thank you. Here is a situation we
want you to analyze. A parent calls you with a complaint about a teacher at the high school. The parent thinks that the
teacher is being unfair to his or her child. How would you, as a board member, respond to the parent? – The first thing that
I’d try to do is listen, and validate their concern. I would try to make sure that I understand what they were trying to say to me, by repeating it back to them, do I understand you correctly. So I think really that
would be the first step is to make sure I seek first to understand what you’re saying and why you’re saying what you’re saying. To understand how they’re feeling. And I would also probably ask what they would perceive as a solution, or a possible solution to the situation. I don’t think it would
be appropriate for me to acknowledge that the teacher
behaved inappropriately, ’cause I would be ignorant of that fact and that situation. So I kinda think the first
recourse is just to listen, seek to understand, document the heck out of the conversation. And then come back to all of you. I don’t think that there
should be any secrets in situations like that. So I think my responsibility would be to share that with my
fellow board members. I know at the board meetings
Dr. Matthews is present, so if it would be appropriate, to immediately reach out to him. But I’m sure that there’s some protocol that you guys have established when dealing with things like that that I’m just not privy to. But I think it’s important, like I said, to listen, to document, and then to manage expectations. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Dennis] What’s more
important to you and why? Board member accountability
to each other at this table or board members holding our
superintendent accountable for district performance? – Great question, Mr. O’Connor. I would say ultimately it’s holding our superintendent accountable. I think that loyalty is a
phenomenal quality to have, and I think that the ability
to play nice together in the sandbox is also very important. But my guess is that if I were elected to serve as a board trustee, I would be elected
because of my commitment to provide our kids with
the best possible education. And the person that we hire to really spearhead that
is our superintendent, if I understand everything correctly. So I don’t think that there’s
a much more important task that we would have as a board member, than to have the right
people in those jobs and to be sure that if we hired someone and they said they were
gonna do A, B and C within a certain time frame, that we would hold them accountable to doing what they said
they were gonna do. And then if we all expect
to hold other people accountable to that, then my assumption is we would hold ourselves accountable to the same thing which would then, by default, accomplish
the first thing you asked, which would be loyalty to each other, or accountability to
each other, if you will. – [Tracey] Thank you. Question number eight. Describe a situation where you were to hold someone accountable and they were failing to deliver. How did you handle the situation, and what was the resolution? – About a year and a half
ago, within our firm, we hired an operations manager who, from 2004 through 2010, served as my executive assistant when I was a vice president
within our organization. I knew this man well. I’d been to his home for social functions. I’d been to the funeral
home when his father passed. We kept in touch when I left that role, and over the next 10 years he stayed on in different capacities
with the organization. And ultimately I hired him to come into our private practice and serve in a slightly different role that I thought he could do. My trust and love with this man were off the charts. My expectations of him
were also very high. I did not do an appropriate job assessing his readiness to do the tasks that I was asking him to do. I knew that he was loyal, I knew that he was hardworking, and I thought that that would be enough. And it was a great business
learning for me as well, because trust and loyalty and how much you care for somebody are all wonderful characteristics, but if he doesn’t have the ability to do what I’m tasking him to do, then he’s gonna fail at
what I’m asking him to do. And that’s in turn what
had ended up happening. I put a timetable in place. I provided additional training. I provided additional resources for him to tap into to improve his results. We met on a weekly basis
to review his progress, to monitor any roadblocks. And we found after about six weeks that his progress wasn’t being made. And because we were
meeting on a weekly basis, by the time we met for the seventh time, John pretty much knew what was goin’ on, and I said, I care about you too much to watch you to continue to fail. And I think I know you well enough that you would admit that you’re failing. And he did, and we agreed to part ways, so I had to let him go. So sometimes, when you’re
addressing conflict and you give it enough attention or time, it can work out. And there’s other times where it doesn’t. But it doesn’t mean that you have to blow up the relationship or point fingers or have it be a negative thing. So it actually turned out, I think, to be positive for John
and positive for me. – [Tracey] Thank you. – [Willy] Okay, describe a situation where you work with a group of people. I know you don’t do that too often. Work with a group of people and they went in a different direction to which you were adamantly opposed. How did you participate
in the group’s discussion and ultimate decision? – A recent and relevant example is in my role as President of the Novi Educational Foundation. It was my desire, Mr. Mena,
to improve and increase our fundraising. It was my desire to
have a greater footprint in the grants that we were
able to give teachers, in the scholarships we
were able to give students, in the programs that we were looking to bring into the middle
school and the high school. And the sense that I had
amongst the group as a whole is things were okay the way they were. We’ve got this event, we make this money, we do this, we do that. And maybe it’s because I have kids that are in that age. I had a kid that was getting ready to go into middle school. I had a kid that was getting bullied. I had a kid that was
going into high school. I had fear and anxiety and angst and all this stuff that
these kids are dealing with. And I just felt compelled to do more. So it occurred to me, that it was the Novi
Educational Foundation, not Tom’s Educational Foundation. And along with my executive team, we made a decision to hire an outside consulting firm
that worked with nonprofits, and they agreed for a very nominal wage to come in and facilitate sessions with the entire board,
whoever wanted to participate, to go through and amend our mission and our vision and what
our scope would be, where our strengths were,
where our weaknesses lie, and to basically provide a framework that the educational foundation, as an entity, would embrace. So when I pulled back and sought to get more involvement
and to get more input so that we could all sing from the same sheet of music, that was the first step in at least gaining some common ground. There were in particular
a couple of trustees who, in my opinion, were not comfortable with the direction that we were going, and unfortunately that led to some candid conversations about, well, as a group we made a decision and voted that this is the direction that we were gonna go. And I can appreciate the fact that you didn’t vote
along with the majority, so that leaves you to either leave or accept that the bus is going here and to ask what role you could now play to the best of your ability to help us achieve what our objective is. So in a group, if you’re
committed to a goal, there may be some methods or means to hit that goal that
not everyone agrees with all the time. But again it goes back to
Mr. O’Connor’s question about is there a loyalty or accountability to each other that we’re all here ultimately for hopefully the same purpose. We may have some different ideas on how to get there. But if you keep that end in mind, and you put aside personalities and egos, I think that you can
generally work through things and recognize that you’re
not always gonna be right. There were times that I was wrong with some ideas that I had. But again the overall organization, by bringing in a third party to kinda facilitate that discussion and get us to agree as a group, and okay we’re in agreement basically, here’s where we wanna go, that that eliminated,
oh that’s Tom’s idea, or that’s so-and-so’s idea,
or that’s so-and-so’s idea. When I made a decision to
hire an executive director, our board was just waffling. We went for months and talked about it and talked about it and talked about it and so I read the bylaws, and I came to the conclusion that it was in my scope to make a certain decision. And it’s working out. We raised more money this past Green Gala than we have ever raised at other events. So anyway, sometimes
you gotta take a leap, but if you get everyone involved, I think it works for the best. – [Bobbie] Okay, thank you. – [Paul] What kind of time
commitment do you believe is involved for this position,
and besides attending regularly scheduled board meetings, how much additional
time, in hours per week, are you willing to commit to
board tasks and functions? – Well I can appreciate that things happen and you find yourself on Holy Thursday at 9:00 at night sitting in a room talkin’ to people, 9:10. So, to some extent, not to be evasive, but you do what it takes. My understanding is that
there’s regular board meetings that maybe last a few hours, from the time you arrive and be prepared. But the being prepared part is the part that I would guess takes up more time. Like anything in life, if I’m gonna meet with a client, that client
meeting might only last 60 to 90 minutes, but
I’m spending hours before and hours after preparing,
doing my research, making sure that if I’m gonna be presented with some information
that I’m not seeing it for the first time when
it’s being presented to me. We’ve all been in different groups, and you get agendas ahead of time, and you get the minutes a head of time. You shouldn’t be showing
up to a board meeting reading those for the first time. So I know that it’s not just the time that you spend in the meetings. My understanding, like any organizations, there’s committee assignments also. I believe, at least with the
Novi Educational Foundation, that in the committees, that’s really where the work gets done. Yeah there’s discussion
when we all come together and we’ve gotta vote on things and there’s Parliamentary Procedure and Roberts Rules of
Order and all that stuff. But when you’re talking to parents, when you’re in the community, I tease my kids, Mr. Cook, and I think we have sons a similar age, that fortunately or unfortunately, when I’m out at a
restaurant with my children, I expect them to behave
in a certain manner because I never now who’s sitting three booths down. And it used to be my face on the back of the church bulletin. It’s my wife’s face on the back of the Booster magazine. If I’m on TV every so
often as a board member, that carries with it a
certain social responsibility. That basically means we’re on-call 24/7. You never know when that
parent’s gonna call. And if you’re not in the right proper mind and you respond inappropriately, the damage control’s far more expensive than being of sound financial mind. So I’m sure, to give
you a standard answer. I don’t know if it’s
15 or 20 hours a month. I don’t know what it is, but I know I spend a lot of time as President of the Novi
Educational Foundation, my term ends June 30th,
and I’m looking to do more, which is why I’m here tonight. – [Kathy] Thank you. As a board member, you may be asked to make a decision
where you must put aside what’s best for you,
your family, your friends and/or your school, to do what’s best for the students and the district. So what does that mean to you? – Not to oversimplify it, but it’s to do the right thing. As an elected official, even
though I was not elected to serve as President of the
Novi Educational Foundation, why do you get involved in this? There’s not a ton of
power that comes along with being a board trustee for the Novi Community School District. We’re just a little tiny speck on a great big planet. But from the time I spend in Deerfield to the time I spend with Julie or Mr. Brickey at Meadows, gosh that middle school’s
a battle zone sometimes. It just seems like with all the stuff that goes on there. The high school’s overwhelming. I get lost, I’m so
impressed that those kids get from point A to point
B in the seven minutes, or whatever they have to change classes. I don’t know the last time you guys picked up a backpack but my 10th grader’s backpack is heavy. It’s really heavy. So those kids are why we’re here. If there’s a decision that might not be Tom’s favorite decision, but I think it benefits more kids, then that’s the right decision to make. – [Bobbie] Okay, thank you. That kinda brings us
to our final question. Is there any other information
about your candidacy that you would like us to consider that has not already been shared with us in the interview or in your application? – I just wanna make sure
that you’re all crystal clear that my involvement with
our students is real. I’ve have the opportunity to be in every single elementary building, and I understand the differences that maybe Village Oaks
and Orchard Hills has versus Parkview or Deerfield. I have a concern that we have kids that come into our school district in the sixth grade or seventh
grade or eighth grade, and they unfortunately,
by no fault of their own, haven’t had the benefit of The 7 Habits of
Highly Effective People, and lack the intercommunication skills or interpersonal skills
that some of our kids have and that’s part of what I’d
like to see us improve on. I’ve worked with these children, not only at the Coffee
Shop but in my business and I’ve never stopped to be amazed at really how talented they are. I have a vested interest. I’ve got another six years where my son will be a participant in Novi High School, I hope only six years. (laughs) So that’s it. I appreciate the time
that you’ve all given me. I know it’s late. So thank you very much. – [Kathy] Thank you. – [Bobbie] Yes, thank you very much. And again, thanks for
hoppin’ dates and times and all that. – Anything for you. – [Bobbie] We appreciate
that, okay, thanks. – Anything else? – [Bobbie] That’s it, thank you very much. Is there any other business
of the board this evening? – [Willy] Comments from the audience? – Maybe there’s some comments from our audience. Is there any comments that our audience would like to make this evening? – [Man] Thank you for takin’ the time. Thank you very much. – All right, we have no
comments this evening other than a thank you from Mr. Smith, who has been with us both evenings, the other Mr. Smith. I would entertain a motion to adjourn. – So moved. – Support. – Moved by Mr. Mena, and
supported by Mrs. Stevenson. All those in favor please say aye. – [All] Aye. – Those opposed? Motion carries. – [Man] Please have time
for a quick question that has nothing to do with today. – [Bobbie] Sure. – [Man] Did any of you
hear about the film Angst? – [Bobbie] Yes. – [Dennis] Tonight. – [Man] So you guys did. – [Bobbie] Yeah. – [Man] The what? – [Man] The movie Angst. – [Dennis] They’re showin’ it tonight. – [Man] It’s in the middle school. – [Bobbie] They sent
it out on a list, sir. – [Man] Yeah, but, so I’ve
got a kid in sixth grade, a kid in eighth grade and
a kid that’s in 10th grade. None of them could tell me that they heard about it, knew what it was about, when it was. So either all three of
my kids are foolish. – [Bobbie] Well I don’t, did they announce it to the, it’s more of
a parent thing, I think. It’s a documentary. – [Man] When I stopped in, Nicole said it was for students and parents. – [Dennis] I wanted to go see it tonight but I’ve got something
else on my schedule. – [Man] Yeah, right, I know, I know. – [Bobbie] I know, I know,
it would’ve been nice. I actually looked. There’s a place online that you can look to see where else it’s showing. – [Man] Oh that’s smart. – [Bobbie] But I did not,
I did not get through. – [Man] Smarter than me. – [Bobbie] Looking. (speaking faintly) Okay. Oh, oh, right there. – [Man] My handsome brother. – [Man] (speaking faintly) grows. – [Bobbie] One of you has way more hair than the other. (board chattering) Oh, there you go. – [Man] None of my kids brag
about me doing anything. – [Man] Oh don’t think that. – [Man] I’m not kiddin’. – [Man] Are they on this thing
called Facebook or Twitter? – [Bobbie] Tom looks so short sitting down with his long legs. – [Man] It’s 6:30 so what are. – [Man] I don’t know. – [Man] It’s about 12:30
and we’re leaving here at 6:20 to go (speaking faintly). – [Bobbie] (speaking faintly)
Where’s my Board Book? There we go, oh, oh. I was like, oh, was that gonna make me sign in again. Yes it did. – [Man] Feel like foolish
and puttin’ it on, for the first one. – [Bobbie] Did you get a new car, Dennis? – [Dennis] No, I’ve had
it for about a year. – [Man] You can ask for
a professional opinion (speaking faintly). – [Bobbie] Oh, it’s nice. – [Man] Our documentary
is (speaking faintly) – [Bobbie] Special meeting. And log in my password tonight. – [Man] Yeah, it’s like
55 (speaking faintly) (board chattering) Did it start at seven tonight? – [Men] 6:30. – [Bobbie] Oh. Wow, we are really close
to six, but we’re still waiting on Paul and Tracy it looks like. – [Woman] I am so tired of bein’ here. – [Bobbie] I don’t think you’re
alone with that sentiment. – [Woman] I know. – [Bobbie] It’s all about the sacrifice. – [Woman] You do what you have to do. – [Bobbie] I moved the
two girls into my house and left them. I said, I am gonna leave. – [Woman] Where are they from? – [Bobbie] Just so you, Vietnam. I am going to leave my phone on silent, but I told them, if it’s an emergency, ’cause I just don’t know, just text me. – [Woman] Are they home alone? – [Bobbie] Yeah, my husband won’t be back until probably about 7:30, 8:00. And the other foreign exchange student, who knows where everything is, is at her lacrosse game. – [Woman] So you have three foreign exchange students? – [Bobbie] Well I have a
girl from Spain that’s mine, and then these two girls from Vietnam is the gal down the street, who’s hosting them, was
chaperoning the orchestra, I think it’s the orchestra field trip that’s this weekend? – [Woman] Oh, okay. – [Bobbie] So she’s
chaperoning the field trip with one of her daughters, and she had asked me some time ago, would you be willing
to have them come stay. And I was like, yeah, not realizing this would all be in the middle of that. – [Man] I’m bored out. – [Bobbie] So needless to say, that’s why I got a late shower, and look like I do. We’re just waiting for a
couple more board members. (audience chattering and laughing) Everybody’s in the back. You know what, we’re gonna, I’m gonna grab these, just in case I sneeze. (blows nose) – [Man] We got a full
house in here tonight. – [Man] Show and tell. – [Man] Hey there’s a
stranger in the building. – [Man] You start, I
meant to send this to you. I went through, now that we’ve
gone through this initial, I went through this and documented, I was gonna send it to ya for future. – [Bobbie] Oh, well I
think we talk about it the next time, like maybe when we do a board self evaluation. We do a little debriefing. – [Man] Well I mean, because this is. – [Bobbie] You’re
welcome to send it to me. I just think it’s something. – [Man] This’ll be part of the, this is still part of the
Board Operating Procedure, now that we’ve been through the process, isn’t this part of, isn’t this out of the Board Operating Procedure right now? – [Bobbie] Yes, yes. – [Man] So that’s why it’s still relevant to try to come up. – [Bobbie] Oh yeah, for sure, for sure. I mean you’re welcome to send it to me and I can keep it. But I think that’s
something we need to discuss as a group. That’s my sentiment, that we probably need to sit down and debrief on this and the process and whether or not we wanna continue to. (audience chattering) – [Man] It’s just a best practice. – [Tracey] Paul is pulling in. – [Bobbie] Paul’s pullin’ in? – [Tracey] Yep. – [Bobbie] Okay, perfect. Okay, just a couple more minutes, downstairs if you don’t mind. – [Man] That’s Paul’s (speaking faintly). – [Man] He just walked in. – [Bobbie] Oh, okay. – [Man] Monday? (audience chattering) – [Man] Hello, how are ya? – [Bobbie] Paul doesn’t have a tie on. – [Man] (speaking faintly) off. – [Bobbie] Do you have it in your pocket? That’s okay. – [Woman] I’m gonna get
coffee (speaking faintly). – [Woman] So how did you do this for free? – [Bobbie] All right,
I’ll give you a minute to, – [Man] Breathe? – [Bobbie] Breathe? – [Man] No I just said,
I had to drop Davey off at a soccer game (speaking faintly). – [Bobbie] That’s fine, that’s fine. Tracey just walked in too, we’re good. – [Woman] I just got
free (speaking faintly). – [Man] I tried to run her
down in the parking lot, but she’s too quick. – Hi. All right, play. Okay, we’re ready downstairs when you are. Oh, they are ready. Good evening and welcome
to a Special Meeting of the Novi Board of Education. It is Wednesday, April 11th at 6:00. I would appreciate it if
you could do a roll call, Mr. Mena. – Trustee Cook.
– Here – Trustee Hood.
– Here. – Trustee Murphy.
– Here. – Trustee O’Connor.
– Here. – Trustee Stevenson.
– Here. – Trusty Mena’s here. – All right, I noticed we have Pledge of Allegiance next. So if you would rise and join me for the Pledge of Allegiance. – [All] I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America. And to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. – Thank you. Next we have the approval of the Agenda. I would entertain a motion. – I move that we support
the Agenda as presented. – I support. – It’s been moved by Mrs. Stevenson, and supported by Mrs. Hood. All those in favor please say aye. – [All] Aye. – Opposed? Motion carries, six to zero. All right, so this evening we will be discussing our applicants. We have used a process of
supplying our esteemed assistant, who’s been, I must say, very committed to
helping us every evening. And she supplied in our folders a list of those that got the top points based on the point system
and the rating system. Those candidates are
listed in your folder. So if we wanna begin talking, perhaps, about the top two candidates, and what we thought was
positive and valuable, whether or not there’s
one of those candidates that the majority can support. I would open the
discussion to talking about our top candidates. – Well, I felt that, if
no one wants to speak, I felt that Punita Thurman
was my top candidate, just from her background,
educational background, her experience, her being
vested in the district. She served previously as
a interim board member and I think she would bring a good quality and a good fit for the board. – Okay. Mr. O’Connor. – My top candidate was George Kortlandt. Clearly he has more
experience than anybody else since he has served more
than 20 years on the board. He understands school finances clearly since it’s only an
eight month appointment, there’s no learning curve with him at all. I thought, in terms of the question about advocacy for public education, I thought he answered
it the best, in fact, and he’s the one that talked about meeting with our legislators,
establishing relationships, lobbying for things. He hit that out of the park. He did address one of my concerns. I, for one, never understood why he didn’t run last year and clearly, I was convinced in the
interviewing process, that he’s had buyer’s remorse, that he still has a passion for this and he made a mistake by not runnin’ and he wants to run again in November and be involved with the community. The last thing that I wanna say about Mr. Kortlandt is, just to share a story before, Mrs. Murphy, you and were on the board, I remember when Dr. Austin resigned. There were not a lot,
there weren’t 21 applicants to say, but there were
three or four applicants for that open position. And I think it was Mr.
Brown had just resigned as principal of Village Oaks. And when he applied,
everybody on the board just kinda sat there and said, well if we’re lookin’
for board continuity, he’s gonna win his election in May. At the time it was May, so why not a plan. Mr. Kortlandt’s gonna run in November and he’s well-known in the community. I would be very surprised
if he didn’t win. So I think that’s something else that we should consider in
terms of board continuity. – Mrs. Hood. – Yeah, before I talk about names, I just wanted to, this has
been a really long process, and I think everybody
on the board would agree that we had a great,
really impressive group of parents who came
forward to apply for this. And so I spent hours and hours and hours going through my notes and reviewing resumes and applications. So it was a very rigorous process. And I had a few criteria that I was looking at initially, and then the interviews helped. So I just wanted to
talk through my thoughts on that first. So there are three main things I was looking for. One was really a demonstrated activity in school organizations. So we had a lot of
candidates who took part in leadership spots, in PTOs,
in Booster organizations, in parent councils, the NEF. We had a lot of strong candidates because they already
have a good foundation of how our schools operate, participating in school-focused activities and really an interest in driving results for the district, for
the kids in the district. So that was one piece,
the demonstrated activity in school organizations. The second one was
demonstrating a high level of understanding of the role of the board, of a board member in the community and in this setting. So many candidates expressed that it’s obviously important to listen to parents when you run
into them in Kroeger, listen to parents, provide feedback where it’s necessary but
also embrace and respect the difference between the board’s role in the district which is governance, and the administration’s role, which is running the schools. So that was my second criteria. And then the third one was,
I think every candidate, almost every candidate, at one point in their interviews really included, when we were talking about the value and the
strength of Novi Schools, they included our diverse
student population, and that it brings a value to their children’s
educational experience. And I believe that too. And I think our schools reflect the world that our kids are going to operate in when they graduate, whether they go to college or straight
into the work environment. I think it’s important, if it’s possible, to increase the diversity that we have on this board. So those were the three primary criteria I was looking at before
I heard anybody speak, as I was going through applications. One additional, just as a side note, one additional thing that was interesting or important to me was the importance of public school advocacy. And that goes beyond just
supporting Novi Schools. I was looking for
somebody who really values what public schools
brings to any community. So my top candidate, given all of that, my top candidate was also Punita Thurman. She had been on the board before, and she was, I think she was appointed by Oakland Schools the last time, right? That’s how she ended
up on the board before. So she is my top candidate. We had a lot of good candidates, but she was really my top candidate. – Okay, other board members? Mr. Mena. – Yeah, I think we were talking, and I think you had asked us to talk about the first two on the list. So what I’d like to say
about Mr. Kortlandt, above and beyond what Mr. O’Connor had already said and I
agreed a hundred percent with his comments. Mr. Kortlandt has been a
long-time member of this board. We’re looking for somebody to fill a seat through the end of the year, and based on his experience on the board, the fact that he’s a long-time volunteer and probably arguably the
number one cheerleader for this district, and not to say that the other candidates weren’t, we had a lot of great candidates. But I did feel, since we’re talking about these two candidates
that he would be an excellent choice to fill this role, as he can step in fairly easily with the experience that he has. – All right, Mr. Cook, you look like you’re about ready to say something. Can I call on you? – Mr. Kortlandt was my top pick also. I don’t think there’s
an event that I go to that he’s not already there. He is vested in this community. He has been on this board,
like Mr. O’Connor said, the learning curve to
bring him up to speed is nonexistent ’cause
he’s done it so long. The advocacy, he’s fought
for all of the kids in this community. And I don’t think think there’s anything he wouldn’t do for these kids. There were a couple of questions on there, situational questions. And what I was looking
for in those questions was what you did, not what theoretically you would do. And I was very disappointed in, we had a lot of good candidates, but most of ’em came back
with what they would do on those questions. Mr. Kortlandt didn’t. He actually stated examples
of what he had done. In areas where it wasn’t necessarily a situational question,
he even gave examples of what he had done for
advocacy for the schools, or the time he spends for it. So just to me he rose to the top with those few things easily. – Okay. Well I would just say
I’ll preface my comments similarly to Mrs. Hood. I really went through,
I know we had our list of questions, I know everybody was kind of looking, maybe, for
their own kind of things through those questions. I went back to the list that the MASB kind of put out about checklists for qualified school board candidates, partly because I knew so
many of the candidates, and really wanted to try to remain as objective as I could
about the candidates. So kind of looking at that, and also I did have some criteria about involvement in the district, people that had kind of
proven to be committed to the district through their
involvement and leadership. I also, for me, I value
people that have kids in the district that might bring a different perspective. We currently have three board members, soon to be four, that
will no longer have kids in the district, and I
think that’s something that adds value. I think that adding to
our demographic mix, it’s not often you get the opportunity to actually appoint someone. Usually someone is selected, and it actually gives us an opportunity to help our board reflect the demographics of our community a little better. Not that that would exclude anyone, because that’s certainly
not what I’m saying, but I do value that. I value the diversity in our community, and to Mrs. Hood’s point as well, there were a lot of candidates that also found value in that. I think that Mrs. Thurman,
she was my top candidate as well for many reasons. I think that she has been heavily involved in this district. She served as a PTO President. She’s currently on the NEF. She’s been a volunteer with
Destination Imagination. She has a track record of
putting children first. She gave a Merit Pay
presentation for all of us at one point. I know Mr. O’Connor arranged for her to do that because she’s
got some experience in that through her professional work. I looked for people that hopefully didn’t have personal agendas. Some of the things that they said, Need Not Apply, Need Not Appoint was something that’s on the MASB Website and they had several criteria on there, so I really tried to look
from that perspective too. Are there candidates that I felt like, um, you know, maybe they have an idea of something they wanna change. That’s fine and good. I didn’t see that in Mrs. Thurman either. I saw her as being someone that had budget and financial experience. She has been a strong advocate for education across the board. To me she really does kind of embody what a volunteer does, so she ended up my top candidate as well. So I guess we need to talk about whether or not that’s something that, we’ve got a three-three split already. Are board members feeling like these are the only
candidates you wanna discuss? Would we like to move
on to other candidates? Are candidates willing
to entertain the idea of talking a little bit
more about those candidates and what value they
would bring to the board in hopes of coming to
consensus on one of them? I’m asking for direction of the board. Is anyone willing to
consider that Ms. Thurman or Mr. Kortlandt, that
they’d like to switch and make a different choice. Were you gonna say something? – Well, I mean, I don’t
know if anybody else has anything to say at this point. We have other candidates here. – Yes, well we can move down the list, we can talk about some
of the other candidates. The next candidates, or we can talk about any one of those if someone would like to bring the next candidates up on our list in terms of
the points that people got, were Sreenivas and Monish,
and then we’ve got several that are just under them. But there was a big
jump between those two, well, not a huge jump,
but a decent size jump between those two and the next one. So if we wanna move down our list, I’m completely, I’m comfortable doing so. – I guess my feelin’ is
is that I’ve selected the top one that I felt,
and then I would be doin’ a disservice ’cause I don’t feel the other ones qualify to that expectation of those other ones. So for sake of time, I would prefer to just talk about the first two. ‘Cause I don’t feel like
I’m gonna change my mind, no I’m not gonna change my mind about the person I selected. So I don’t know how we go
from having a three-three tie to select the person that we wanna all agree upon. – Well I am willing to
consider other candidates. I don’t clearly, it’s
what we should be doing as a board. Clearly we’re split here. So I would imagine that’s really all we can do right now unless we’re all gonna hold steady. And we’ve got 21 candidates who applied. I thought there were a lot
of excellent candidates and I’m willing to just go down the list and talk about the next candidate. – Okay, so you’re not willing to consider Ms. Thurman as a candidate? – She wasn’t top on my list, so there’s other candidates that I’d like to consider. – Okay, other board members? – I think we should talk
about other candidates. – Okay, okay. Well, we will move to, is
there one of those candidates that someone would like to begin with. If we are at the point
where we can’t agree to either one of those top candidates, I would entertain discussing any of the, yes, Mrs. Hood. – Yeah, I was gonna say, I
supported Dr. Ruskin too, Danielle. – Oh she is a dentist. – Yes. I would be perfectly comfortable. I think, let me see, she has been active in the Meadows PTO, she has been active in the Deerfield DCC, she is an InterCouncil member, she was active outside of Novi schools, March of Dime, March of Dimes rather, and then I wrote down Jewish Federation and I can’t remember what piece that was. She’s very active in the dental community and she has three kids in our district. I thought she did a very nice job talking or describing what she sees as the role of the board. She felt that from the
superintendent accountability that that was the purpose of the board, was to hold the
superintendent accountable, and I certainly agree with that. And I thought she gave strong answers really across the board and in all of the whole interview. So I thought she was perceptive, she was passionate, she
was certainly prepared, and I think she’s been very
active in the district. I don’t know her personally, but she’s got a very nice application and I would welcome talking about her. – All right. Mr. O’Connor. – I was extremely
impressed with Sreenivas, I apologize, Sreenivas Cherukuri. I was extremely impressed
with his understanding of public education from
a practical experience, in fact very similar to Mrs. Thurman, he was heavily involved
with Detroit Public Schools as a consultant, both in terms of IT and financial consulting. I found him to be very analytical. I thought he’d be a great critical thinker and problem solver if he
was a member of the board. And I liked the way he
relies, he talked a lot about doing research and
how he relied on data to make decisions, which is part of our decision making process. While we’re talkin’
about other candidates, I also thought Mr. Smith and Mr. Wingfield were extremely good candidates. We all know Mr. Smith in
terms of his involvement with the NEF, but clearly he’s also a problem solver and a critical thinker. But Mr. Cook was talkin’ about those situational questions
that were part of the 12. Mr. Smith answered those tremendously in terms of really relaying the types of personal experiences that he’s had both in terms of work and working as his heads of
committees and organizations, and how he really helped people through to understand what needed to be done, to be accountable and also in terms of handling any conflicts that he might have
within the organization. Likewise is Mr. Smith is well known to the community, so is Mr. Wingfield. He’s been all over the place for years in terms of Parks and Rec and his commitment to the community. I think about the skill sets that we need on the board if we proceed with the Bosco Agreement. I think Mr. Wingfield would be a phenomenal fit in terms of helping us do that because he’s
got great relationships with the cities and he’s been involved with the little league baseball and the Parks and Rec Commission. And also, again, when it comes to the public advocacy
in terms of education, I thought his answer was the second to Mr. Kortlandt’s in terms of he very clearly said that charters have an unfair advantage in our state, and I thought that was very perceptive that he shared that with us, which is quite frankly the feeling of not only this board but Oakland County in general. So I thought that was extremely insightful that he had that base of knowledge. – Okay. Other board members who wanna chime in on any of those candidates? – Any candidates? Sure. – Well I’m thinking any
of those instead of, any of those four, Sreenivas,
Danielle, Tom Smith or Harold Wingfield. Unless there’s another
one you wanna bring up. It seems like it would be wise to kind of, let’s talk through those and see if there’s any of those that we’ve got a majority of the board that can support. – Mrs, I’m sorry, Mrs Stevenson. – I felt like the next person that I would probably go with would be Mahasti Shahidi. I don’t know how to say her name. I apologize. Letter I. Back to what I was sayin’ before, I feel like the board needs to have some people on the board with educational background, and she works for a private school, and she was a graduate of a public school. She brings a lot of diversity
to the board as well. She brings the lens of
bein’ an administrator in a building. She talked a lot about
listening to people. She had some good community resources and I feel like she would be able to bring some good information
and some good insight to our board as well. – Okay, so now we’ve got five, five other candidates. Is there any other candidates? – I’d just like to echo
what Mrs. Stevenson said. I thought she’d be a good asset in terms of curriculum
development, et cetera, she’s got a lot of
background in that area. – Okay. – Mrs. Murphy? – Yes, Mrs. Hood. – I would echo what Mr.
O’Connor said about Mr. Smith. He was also one of my top candidates. And I think Mr. Smith is a doer, and it’s obvious from the NEF perspective. I don’t know that Novi District would have Leader in Me and Playworks and a lot of that
without him driving that. So I would be comfortable
with Mr. Smith too. – Okay. Other board members? – I’d like to just throw in a couple words on another candidate if I can. – Sure, go ahead. (laughs) – Well we were in a stalemate. – I know, I know, go ahead. I was also impressed, I mean, listen, and I don’t disagree with what you say, you guys have been pretty eloquent about some of these candidates. But I would be remiss not to mention Mr. Monish Verma. I was very impressed with him. I like the fact that he
has financial background, something that we lost
on this board, I feel, when we lost Ms. Glubzinski. Clearly he has a strong
interest in diversity. He has a lot of community involvement. He served on many boards including some of the local
aging community boards, went to Novi schools. His family’s been involved in the city for many many years. I’ve never met him before but I did serve on the Library Board with his father. His father is very politically involved with one of the major political parties, but what I really enjoyed serving with him is he never let his political opinions spill over the table. He feels that the role of the board is to advocate for the district, I liked that. Personally, he’s one person that I felt when I was watching his interview that made me feel like he could make me a better board member. I felt he had a good
pulse in the community. He served as a diversity coordinator for the University of Michigan. And he was the only person who was passionate about expressing his need for an area of improvement in this district, and
that was to make sure that our children were kept safe. So certainly he would be somebody I would highly consider
for this position as well. – All right. Mr. Cook. – I’m gonna talk about two, but they’ve both been
talked about already. – Okay, thank you. – I’ll echo what Mr. Mena
said about Mr. Monish Verma. I do know him, and I run into him almost as much as I run into
Mr. Kortlandt at events. With the younger kids at robotics events, at science fairs, I see
him involved in the schools for his kids and for other kids. Like me, he coaches an FLL Team. So he’s very dedicated to his family and his community. Not only at the schools, but in his Indian culture. The other one I’ll talk about, but because both of ’em when asked about the strength of the Novi schools, second to diversity a lot of people said the achievements. And achievement. That was a question I was lookin’ for something a little
bit more than achievement. What’s causing the achievement? And both of these gentlemen
mentioned the community and the parental involvement, and how Novi is so lucky to have all the parental
volunteers that we have. Mr. Sreeni Cherukuri mentioned that the volunteer activities
are oversubscribed, because we just have those many parents that care about their kid’s education. Mr. Cherukuri, he is a data geek. I guess, that that drew
him to me. (laughs) I like somebody who uses
data to make decisions and analyzes the data. And what he’s done with the finance, when he was contracted by the DPS, I think somebody who would
look into things that deeply, ’cause for some of the
situations we’re into, we’re settin’ the bar
for the rest of the state and the rest of the county. And I think somebody like that would be a great asset. I would back both those
two wholeheartedly. – All right. Other board members? Mr. O’Connor? – Just to echo what Mr. Cook said, if you’re lookin’ at skill sets for an eight month period, we wanna try to complement what we have on this board, I don’t think it’s just another data geek, as Mr. Cook, Mr. Cook’s an engineer. And I like the fact
that this is a data geek if we’re gonna use that terms, comes from a different perspective. In terms of financial, public education, that IT analysis, et cetera. So obviously Mr. Cook is a data geek, and offer you a different perspective, so I think that’s good in
terms of complementary skills for the board. – All right. – Yeah, and if I could add
a little bit more about him. I had a good sense that obviously he had a good educational. – I’m sorry, can you state
who you’re talkin’ about. – Mr. Cherukuri, again, I was sayin’. – Oh, okay, thank you, thank you. So yeah he’s a data guy, but also has a good educational
financial background. I felt he had a good understanding of funding rules for school districts, fantastic and diverse background. I felt he had a knowledge
in education policy in public schools. Understands spending and
also he has a knowledge that I think would complement
this board greatly as well. – All right. Well, I’ll just say one of the things I do value about the people that we have a lot of very strong volunteers in our community and I think
that of those candidates the two, those one, two, whatever, five that we’ve kind of mentioned now, the two that stand out to me the most are Ms. Ruskin and Mr. Smith. Both have been actively involved in supporting different
things in our district, different initiatives. I too was very impressed with Mr. Verma. I was not aware from his applications about his involvement with the schools. I don’t believe he served
on any major committees but I was also impressed with him. I liked him. We did, to Mrs. Hood’s point, we had some fantastic candidates. I hope we’ve taken all the
names of these people down, because next time we have a committee, we have a full list of people that we can draw from,
which will be wonderful. – We finally have a bullpen. – Yes, yes, exactly. And it’s wonderful to see that there’s this many people that are interested in serving. I did have a couple reservations
about Mr. Cherukuri. His application, he stated the three Rs are most important and
traditional methods. And I just wasn’t sure how that meshed with our current philosophy of really educating the whole child and being concerned about
the emotional health. So that was just one thing that to me was a little, I wasn’t sure about the fit. But I was, he was very
bright, very impressive. I liked his educational policy background. But I just had some reservations about some of those things, that I just wondered about his fit with our kind of all of the opportunities that we provide kids and really trying to create things around the whole child. And so I would certainly
support Mr. Tom Smith or also Ms. Ruskin. We can talk a little bit more about those or Mr. Verma as well, if there’s, looks like we have several people that have indicated support of Mr. Smith, and several with Mr. Cherukuri. I hope I’m not butchering his name. Are there candidates among those that stood out, that board members would be willing to consider supporting besides those that have
already expressed support? Well, so, do we move on down the list? Do we consider. We still don’t have one
that has the support of a majority of the board, which is what is necessary. Yes, Mrs. Hood. – How are you thinking
of gauging the support? I mean if we don’t all
express support for, so several of us have talked about, pick on Mr. Smith. How do we move to maybe think he’ll have four support. – Well I guess the people
will have to express whether or not that’s something that they’re willing to consider. Right now it looks like Mr. Cherukuri and Mr. Smith may have three people that have expressed some support for them. I don’t know if there’s
another board member. I didn’t write down who supported it, I just am kinda trying to keep track so that I know who
might have that support. We can talk a little bit about either Mr. Verma or Ms. Ruskin, I mean both were fantastic. If somebody wants to
talk a little bit more about Mr. Wingfield. I was a little concerned with, I want somebody that
has kids in our schools. I think a lot of us are aging out. Mr. Cook’s our kind of youngest parent. – Parent with the youngest kids. – Yes, I was trying to be nice, parent with the youngest kids. And I do think there’s value in that. So that’s something that I’m looking for. So of those, Mr. Smith has three, Ms. Ruskin has three as well. Mr. Verma has three. Mr. Cherukuri, I can’t remember how many he, I think I wrote it down. – Two. – He has two, he has two younger kids too. – He has two. – Yes. So are there board members that would like to weigh-in on Mr. Verma, or Ms. Ruskin or Mr. Smith. – I would say that Mr. Verma did not make my list, only, well not only, but based on my criteria I didn’t see any schools activity from Mr. Verma. No PTO, that kind of
Booster organizations, that kind of, and so he was middle of the pack for me. – Okay, all right. And it was, with 21 candidates, trying to narrow it down to five, I know that was difficult for a lot of us. Mr. O’Connor. – Although just to clarify that, clearly he messed up on his application, ’cause he’s very active
as a robotics coach, if we are to believe Mr. Cook. – I have to. (board laughs) – Oh no, you can’t do that. – So some school involvement, maybe not a huge leadership role though. – Was that support for
Mr. Verma, Mr. O’Connor? – He was on my list. It was lower than the
other ones that I mentioned but he was on my list, yes. – All right. Well, could we. We had several that were very close there in terms of the points that, you know, the pointing
system that they got. And then several that were a little bit further away. I hate to think we gotta move way further down the list in order to find one that the majority of the board would support. Yes, Mr. Cook. – I’ll say a few words about Mr. Smith, because he interviewed very well. In situational questions he gave examples of what he actually did. Yes and he’s very
visible in the community. I see him every week at St. James, teachin’ kids not only the three Rs, or academia here, but he’s giving them some
spiritual leadership too. And I really appreciate that, ’cause I know how hard that is to find volunteers to help those kids out at times too. I would like to serve with
Mr. Smith on the board, as well as Mr. Verma or any of the others I’ve supported here too. – Okay, so right now, I’m sensing that we have Mr. Smith
that may have the support of four board members,
unless I miscounted. – I was gonna say that. – Yes please. – I would support Mr. Smith as well. I did score him well on his interview. I have worked with him a little with NEF and I feel he has a good, I’m all about the students
and all about serving, and he used those words, serving students, serving children. And that’s my passion. And if anybody on this board knows, I’m passionate about my children, and I feel that they’re my babies, and if I can’t get some diversity, sorry to say, I’m just gonna
be keepin’ it real honest. There’s not enough, I mean
our schools are diverse, our leaders are getting
there in our buildings, but we’re not diverse with our teachers, we’re not diverse on our board. And that is why I came on the board, because I wanted to make a difference. And I wanted to know where I could make the most impact. And if I, no offense to Mr. Smith, because you’re not a diverse person, but I feel like he is
passionate about children and his heart is there. And I did score him well on that, and that’s what I was looking for. Just bein’ an administrator, bein’ a former counselor,
I’m all about the children and making sure we’re servin’ our children and our families. So I would support Mr. Smith as well. – All right. Mr. O’Connor. – So just to play devil’s advocate, no reflection on Mr. Smith. I’ve heard three board members talk about the value of diversity. And yet, we’ve got two
or three board members, I think two or three supporting Sreenivas and Monish that had higher
point totals than Mr. Smith. Again, no reflection on Mr. Smith, but do we explore this need for diversity that it seems to be a theme of some of the board members here, just playin’ devil’s advocate. – No it’s a good question. I think ya gotta take it
into the totality of it. I mean, for me personally, I would love the opportunity to have
more diversity on the board, but I think if you look
at the totality of it, and the involvement that
I think is important to have been involved in our district in some leadership capacity. And I did like Mr. Verma as well, but I would love to
see him around the NEF, I’d love to see him step
into a leadership role in some of the other places as well. And so that was kind of what the way I was looking at it,
is that if Mrs. Thurman is really not an option for this board, I think considering all the other, and obviously Mr. Kortlandt as well. If those aren’t options that the board is willing to consider, then really taking in the whole picture and what we are looking for, who we are looking to serve with and who we think will continue to drive the district forward is the most important thing. And I agree completely
with the whole aspect of diversity and wanting the opportunity to do that. But I also think there is value in our current volunteers and the efforts and the support that they’ve
given to this district. That’s my personal feeling. – Okay, so. – So I would, go ahead. – I was just gonna say, Seriously I didn’t consider diversity. I literally just went through the list and picked who I thought
were the top five folks and two of my five were Mr. Cherukuri and Mr. Verma. Never met either of them before. I was very impressed with them. I’d be happy to serve
on the board with them. I haven’t said any
comments about Mr. Smith, not because I don’t support him, I know him, I think he’d be great for this board as well. I can get behind him as well. If diversity is a huge thing
for my fellow board members, if that’s gonna make or
break their decision, know that I can support Mr.
Cherukuri and Mr. Verma. But I have no problem supporting Mr. Smith for the position of the board either. I think he’d be great
for the board as well. – All right, Mr. O’Connor. – I’ll echo what Mr. Mena said. The need for diversity was lower on my list of attributes. But I can support all three of those. – Okay, well I am sensing that we do have a majority of the board that would support Mr. Smith, so I would entertain a motion. – We’re not, I don’t think
we’re doin’ motions tonight. – Well. – That was what you said
is part of the procedure. – Yes, motion to recommend
or a recommendation. So we will come to the board. This is a Committee of the Whole. We are together. We are able to, it would be a recommendation, that we would recommend that to the board. – But that would be binding, so you really can’t vote today. We can come to an agreement. – Also this is not a voting. – We’ve also passed the Agenda, which had nothing to do
with making the decision. – There’s no voting on a
Committee of the Whole. – Oh, okay, well I apologize
for the error in that. We haven’t done a Committee of the Whole in quite some time, and
certainly as a special meeting. We didn’t have it. We weren’t able to call it
a Committee of the Whole in our Board Book either, because they don’t have it as an option. Yes Mrs. Hood. – So, I was gonna say, from the instructions that went out, then point number three for tonight was if it appears that an applicant has emerged with the support of a majority of board members, I’m sorry, with the support of a majority, a board member may make a motion to name an applicant for recommendation as the new board member. – Well my fellow board members have just indicated that that is a flaw in our process. Is that what you’re. Yes. Mr. O’Connor. – I think it’s safe to say, based on the discussion here tonight, that someone, whether you Mrs. Murphy, as the President, or
someone in administration, put together a recommendation that we’ll consider for
a vote tomorrow night for Mr. Smith. – Okay, I think that’s reasonable. I think we’ve had a fair discussion of our candidates. I appreciate all the time and effort and energy of my fellow board members to work through this. I know Mr. Mena and I talked just briefly at the beginning of the meeting about doing a debrief. If we ever have to appoint again and get 21 applicants, I think we really need to consider this
process and what we’ve done, and maybe make some modifications to what our procedure
is and our process is. So I would hope that we would kinda, if you wanna jot down some stuff, we won’t be discussing it soon, but perhaps when we do
our Board Self Evaluation, we’ll take some time to
kinda work through this, and a little bit more of our
Board Operating Procedures to come to consensus on it. Because obviously there were many things that were flowing at
the same time with this and I don’t think we ever anticipated such tremendous interest on
the part of our community which was both fantastic. And I don’t know about you all, but I so enjoyed meeting
so many new people that have a desire to be
a part of this district. So if you’re saying that we don’t need a motion to adjourn. – Oh, I’m sorry, motion to vote, you mean. – Or a motion to vote. We will put together a recommendation. Our recommendation will be that Mr. Smith will be the appointee. He will be invited to the
meeting tomorrow night, and then we’ll take office, be sworn in on the 19th, which is just the following week. All right? So any other, yes Mr. O’Connor. – Yeah, just a point of procedure on that. I believe whomever the applicant is who we vote for, I believe that person has to be sworn in before
April 15th, correct? – No, they just have to be appointed. You have to have taken a vote on the appointment, that
is my understanding. I can double check that, but I did check that once already. So I’m fairly certain that they can be sworn in at the following meeting. But we will double
check and just make sure that we were accurate with that. – So once we vote for an appointment, they are officially a board member once they go to City
Council and swear-in there? – No, no, no, they get sworn in here. – But they could get
sworn in the next day. – They could get sworn in here. – They can go to City
Council and get sworn in at the City Council. – Not City Council. – I mean at City Hall, I’m sorry. At City Hall is what I meant. – No. – No? – City Hall has nothing to do with it. It’s totally different. – I think Dr. Matthews comes. – No, no, we can do it here. We do it here. – Yeah, we’ll do it here at the meeting on the
17th, or the 19th, sorry. Or we could, oh. – Once the vote is taken, – Once the vote is taken. – I think Dr. Matthews comes. – You can make the swearing
in whenever you want. – Okay, well I don’t have a problem swearin’ him in tomorrow
if that’s the preference of the board. And then we’ll, so we might change it in the order on the Agenda, then. So we’ll see what the preference is for Mr. Smith, because he might wanna invite his family for
his swearing in, right? So we will double check that and we will update Board Book as soon as we have that information so that we can, so that we can solidify
that with the board, okay? Right, so without any
additional discussion. Comments from the audience. This is our first opportunity for comments from the audience. And we have a comment from the audience. Would you please fill
out a green card for us? – Very well, I gave it to Ms. Holly. – [Bobbie] And would you
also state your name please? Know that the board will not be responding to your comments, but may direct the administration to get back with you. – My name’s Steve Matthews. I’m the superintendent of the Novi Community School District. Just comments on the Agenda tomorrow. You have the approval of the Agenda as part of the Agenda tomorrow. At that point you could move any Agenda item tomorrow. And so we could, because
the Agenda’s been published and already posted. It would be more appropriate tomorrow at the approval of the Agenda, to have an addition or
a change in the Agenda made at that time, and
have the board vote on it at the approval of the Agenda so that it would follow
Parliamentary Procedures at that point. – [Bobbie] Okay. – [Willy] Can I just say,
so the thought would be to keep the board member appointment at the end of Action Items. ‘Cause it wouldn’t make sense to have a new board member voting on Action Items that they haven’t really been involved with. – Right and you could have that, but if the board would
choose, you could also choose to have him sworn in at that time based on Mr. Smith’s preference. – [Bobbie] Okay, okay. So we will look at our
Agenda for tomorrow night, we’ll make sure we make the change. – We already have that in the Agenda, that’s an Action Item. – [Bobbie] Right, we can just move it to where we believe that. – Where you want it to be, and also if you choose
to have the swearing in, you could add that to
the agenda for tomorrow. – Can I make a recommendation then that we add the swearing in before the last comments of the audience, and then this way we can get
through the Action Items, we can vote for the board member, right? – We can make that
recommendation tomorrow. – We can discuss that or we can just squeeze that in afterwards. – ‘Cause I think it’d be strange to have a new board member. – Okay, well if he
decides that he can come, you can make the recommendation tomorrow to where you’d like to move it. – Okay, perfect. – I’m fine with that. – [Steve] That would be appropriate. – Thank you. – That’s on you. – I’ll take care of that for you. – Okay, that would be fantastic. Okay, well without further ado, we are adjourned from our
Committee of the Whole. – Any more comments? – Pardon? – Any more comments? – Oh, I apologize. Any more comments from
the audience this evening? No? Okay, we do have some people
that joined us tonight. So thank you, again, Mr. Cook for holding me to that. – We do have to have a
motion to adjourn, right? – Dennis says we don’t
need a motion to adjourn. – No he said we don’t
need a motion to vote, we do need a motion to adjourn. – As a committee? – We opened up the meeting. – We had a roll call. – All right. – I move that we adjourn this meeting for this evening, April 11th, 2018. – Support. – Been moved by Mrs. Stevenson. – Stevenson. – I was thinking, supported by Mr. Mena. I don’t believe we need to vote, but I’m in favor of adjourning. – I’m in favor. – [All] Aye. – Thank you. Thank you very much again. Appreciate your.

Author: Kevin Mason

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