I began my term on the Bloomfield Hills Schools Board of Education four years ago. I have been called a “detractor” and a “rubber stamper.” I am neither of those things. I am a parent — a parent who loves BHS and wants to do something good for my community.
My years of involvement in BHS go back much further than my time on the Board. I vividly recall waiting outside Mrs. Bushey’s kindergarten class over 20 years ago — holding the hand of a nervous and excited student, his younger sister, and steering the stroller of a 3 month old — proud of us for making it there on time with a backpack, healthy snacks and a camera.
“Mom” is the hat I wear, first, last and always.
My husband and I moved to Bloomfield Hills 26 years ago for the schools. We were welcomed by neighbors, friends and, eventually, teachers. I estimate that I have been a room parent over 20 times, celebrated over 240 school parties, packed over 8,000 lunches, and stood on too many fields to count. I have been to the farm and nature center over 500 times, at least half of which were field trips. I have been to too many PTO meetings to count, worked on five bond campaigns and spoken on the other side of the podium with babies and kids in tow.
I have been a stay-at-home mom and a working mom. BHS found plenty of places for me to volunteer regardless. The clap-outs, costumes, book fairs, field days, concerts, conferences, curriculum nights … I will miss them all. Even making lunches.
We chose Bloomfield because we wanted to give our kids a fairytale childhood, where every day was happy, where the sun always shined. Some people think my expectations are too high…No place in the world could meet those criteria, but as my daughter pointed out years ago, in our memories, our favorite places exceed them.
For years, I contemplated running for the board, and I knew it was the right time as my list of constructive criticism grew. It is easy to criticize, but not so easy to make things better. In the last four years, I have learned just how difficult change can be. Upon reflection, the most important thing I learned is that it’s all important — that everything matters. BHS is made up of thousands of people, each with unique perspsectives and preferences. Academics, athletics, arts, music, clubs, math, science, reading, writing … there is no one best way to run a school district.
If you offer choices and respect the ones others make — especially if they differ from yours — you honor our students. If all your decisions are made with students in mind, that’s a good place to start. Sure, there will be some mistakes, but they’re solvable. Finally, if you listen to students, let them tell you what they need and want, you will make fewer mistakes.
My thoughts about BHS after 20 years of involvement, four on the board of education:
There has never been a better time to be a BHS student.
I am grateful for every one of my 20 years here. For four superintendents, the many board members who preceded me, and teachers that changed the lives of my four children, and countless others.
Grateful for paraprofessionals, coaches, bus drivers and volunteers.
For PTOs, Boosters and parents and caregivers who loved my children and watched over them.
I love BHS. The people I have met — my “family” — are what fill my memories.
I never had political aspirations and was never very good at creating an “on camera” persona. I just wanted to do some good for the community.
Thank you to the administration, fellow board members and the entire BHS community for putting your trust in me. These were not easy times for our country, but through it all I felt overwhelmingly supported and encouraged, and I am so grateful.
For anyone considering running for school board someday, my advice is: do it. One of my role models told me that parents and PTO volunteers make the best leaders, and I believe it. None of my “professional” experience prepared me as well as the time I spent in classrooms. If you think you need lots of money or the support of a campaign staff, think again. Our board is about to welcome a trustee who spent no money and is not on social media.
If you’re very lucky, like me, you will have a campaign team — goddesses all — who are there before the campaign and never leave your side during your term.
Thank you all.