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Clawson

November 27, 2012

Sheridan wins write-in battle, joins Batur on CPS board

Newcomers to fill Bosnic, Bedford seats in January

By Chris Jackett
C & G Staff Writer

CLAWSON — Two weeks after the election, residents within the Clawson Public Schools district finally learned who will serve as their second new Board of Education member.

The Oakland County Board of Canvassers completed a count of the write-in votes late Nov. 20, and Kevin Sheridan earned the most votes of the three write-in candidates. Sheridan, an independent digital marketing consultant, will join Brad Batur as the two new members of the board in January, taking over seats vacated by Trustee Mike Bosnic and Vice President Joe Bedford.

“There’s a lot of training we have to do for them to get them up to date on public education,” board President Kevin Turner said. “It’s good to have a wide variety of backgrounds on the board.”

Batur, a Southfield-based financial advisor and parent at Schalm Elementary, was the only option on the ballot for the two vacant board seats carrying four-year terms. As such, he gained 3,796 of 4,140 originally reported votes.

Of the 344 remaining unofficial votes, the county officially reported just 218 write-in votes. Sheridan captured 103 votes (47.2 percent of the write-ins); compared with 66 (30.3 percent) for Schalm parent Brady DiAntonio and 49 (22.5 percent) for pre-school parent Glenn Shepard.

“I decided about two hours before the deadline to file with the Oakland County Elections Office,” Sheridan said. “I was planning on running in about two years anyway. I felt it was my civic duty.

“I got out the weekend before and pretty much went door to door and covered about 60 percent of the community. Thank God it’s a small community. I put on a lot of miles that weekend.”

Turner said Bedford and Bosnic brought a lot of good experience to the board, but he’s eager to welcome Batur and Sheridan and get them up to speed.

“When we brought Joe in, he brought a good perspective from his accounting and financial background,” Turner said. “Mike’s done a tremendous job for us. He was the board president for a year or two. He had political connections as far as what was happening at the state level.”

Batur did not respond to several messages seeking comment during the past two weeks, but Sheridan said he was ready for the challenges ahead.

“I don’t expect to come in there and wave a magic wand and make everything with Clawson schools better,” said Sheridan, who helped bring the Neptune Aquatic Club to Clawson. “We are a small, strong, tight-knit community and we’re better than the bottom third of the state.”

A Troy native, Sheridan’s wife, Patty, is a 1984 graduate of Clawson High School. The couple moved into the district in 2004-05 and their daughter, Shannon, 15, is currently a freshman at the high school. Their son, Kevin Jr., 15, is a freshman at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School.

“Unfortunately, Clawson did not have the curriculum to challenge him,” Sheridan said of his son, who had a 4.0 grade-point average in eighth grade, scored in the mid-20s on the ACT in seventh grade and was tutoring 11th graders in geometry last year.

Sheridan said they looked at the International Academy in Bloomfield Hills, but 16 students were in the random lottery for the five seats allotted to Clawson eighth-graders who would be entering their freshmen years. Kevin Jr. drew the 15th spot.

“He was the top student in his class, but he wasn’t considered because of the random lottery,” Sheridan said. “I think we need to revisit that and see if maybe we’re shortchanging ourselves.”

Kevin Jr. typically has four to six hours of homework per night from Jesuit, Sheridan said, while Shannon, who carries a solid 3.76 grade point average, often has none from Clawson.

He would like to see Clawson schools develop a more challenging curriculum that, despite the district’s size and resources, could be more competitive with neighboring districts, such as Troy, and retain some of Clawson’s brighter students, many of whom are currently opting to join private schools or other more challenging public districts through Schools of Choice. Sheridan also urges parents to take a deeper interest in their child’s education.

“It’s challenging our existing students to take a deeper interest in their education,” Sheridan said. “Parents should be the principal educator of our children. We shouldn’t be passing them off to basically a glorified daycare program.”