East Detroit school board member resigns

Seibert to move out of state

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 18, 2014


EASTPOINTE — Paul Seibert, longtime East Detroit Board of Education member, announced his resignation effective immediately during the board’s meeting Feb. 10.

Seibert said that he and his wife, Joan, were planning to retire to Florida at the end of the year when his term expired, but their new home in Florida is ready for them to move now. Coupled with the frigid winter, he said he was ready to go.

“It’s been great working with everybody. The superintendent, the staff, have been great,” Seibert said. “The students were always first, and the district second. We had our uphills and downhills — we had a lot of them — but we got through it.”

The school board will be looking for someone to fill Seibert’s seat until the November election, and interested people can submit letters of interest at the school district’s administration building, 24685 Kelly Road, through Feb. 28.

Since he is 60, Seibert said he likely will continue trying to work while in Florida until he is 65 and can get his Medicare benefits, but he said he is looking forward to the year-round warm weather.

The other members of the board thanked Seibert for his 14 years of service with the district, which started in 2000. Treasurer Jon G. Gruenberg mused that Seibert was on the board when Gruenberg graduated from East Detroit High School, and that Seibert was one of the school board members who shook his hand when he received his diploma.

Secretary Jon S. Gruenberg said that he and Seibert did not always see eye to eye, but at the end of the day were friends and respected each other.

“I remember a meeting a while back where I really ruffled your feathers,” he said. “We remember, but we don’t hold a grudge. We haven’t, and we’ve enjoyed a cold beverage or two since.”

Deena Trocino, a trustee on the board, said she had requested the seat next to Seibert so he could mentor her on the board.

Seibert, when he initially ran for a six-year term, quickly found himself wondering what he had gotten himself into as he learned how much business unrelated to the classroom the school board must address.

He said that even though there have been long meetings, arguments and litigation, there also have been gains in student achievement and other education-focused discussions that he enjoyed.

“I never regretted my time here, and I never regretted what we went through here,” Seibert said. “We didn’t agree on a lot of things, and sometimes, sessions get kind of heated, but we do walk away — we are friends and we acknowledge and respect each other for what we do.”

Seibert said his one regret was that the job took away time from his family and caused him to miss out on activities with his daughter, since he needed to attend a variety of functions.

The school board also honored 54 other retirees during a ceremony at the start of the meeting, ranging from teachers to custodial staff — some of whom had been working for East Detroit for more than 40 years.

About 13 people in total were in attendance to participate in the ceremony itself, and Superintendent Joanne Lelekatch thanked them all for their service.