New faces elected to school boards

Clawson write-in victor still unknown

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published November 12, 2014


ROYAL OAK/CLAWSON — A few new faces will bring their experiences to local school boards in the new year.

The Oakland County Elections Division’s unofficial results show that two new members will join the Clawson Public Schools Board of Education and one new member was elected to the Royal Oak Schools Board of Education.

Newcomer Allison Sykes, 53, received 49 percent of the vote and was elected to a four-year term on the Royal Oak Schools board. She will be joined by current board Vice President Deborah Anderson, who received 50 percent of the vote to win a four-year term. One percent of the vote went to write-ins.

Sykes ran uncontested — she and Anderson were the only two candidates on the ballot for the two seats — but that didn’t stop her from campaigning with a slogan of “Sykes for school board, vote for your pal Al.”

Sykes’ past involvement with the district includes serving as past president of the Royal Oak PTA Council. She was the former chairwoman to multiple PTA events, the co-chairwoman and treasurer of the Royal Oak Schools Sinking Fund Millage, and the treasurer of Royal Oak Youth Assistance.

She said her No. 1 priority is to make sure the district provides the optimum curriculum possible for all students’ success.

“I would like to have K-12 be a good, positive experience so the youth of Royal Oak can go on and make their own way,” Sykes said.

She also hopes to keep the communication lines open with district parents.

“Allyson Sykes will be a strong addition to our Royal Oak Schools Board of Education,” Royal Oak Schools Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin said. “She is student-focused and committed to our community.”

Elected to six-year terms on the Royal Oak Schools Board of Education were incumbents Carrie Beerer and Jeff Brinker. Beerer received 10,314 votes and Brinker received 9,773 votes. Current board trustee Michael Hartman did not run for re-election.

The Clawson Public Schools Board of Education had a late contested race as two residents ran as write-in candidates at the filing deadline.

Elected for a four-year term on Clawson’s board were current President Kevin Turner, who received 30 percent of the vote; trustee Linda Grossmann, who received 34 percent of the vote; trustee Ethan McClure, who received 31 percent of the vote; and either write-in candidate Thomas J. Reed Jr. or Andrea Hodges.

“We can’t really say who the winner is yet,” said Clawson City Clerk Machele Kukuk.

Kukuk said the write-in votes would be tabulated and verified by the Oakland County Board of Canvassers before the winner is announced. As of press time, the winner was not announced. Officials thought the results might be available Nov. 11 or Nov. 12.

“We’re excited to have some new board members,” Turner said. “It will be great to have some new thoughts and ideas on how we can improve the board and the district’s leadership. We’re looking forward to helping the new members learn about public education and becoming effective board members as quickly as possible.”

Current Clawson board trustees Scott Rieck and Tony Urbanik did not seek re-election.

“Losing Scott and Tony will be painful since they have a lot of experience and knowledge,” Turner said.  “In Tony’s case, he was the board’s representative in labor relations and served the board extremely well for many years.”

Kimberley Carlesimo was elected for the sole partial-term seat on the Clawson Public Schools Board of Education. She ran unopposed.

Carlesimo, 42, said the partial-term enticed her because she could make sure she has the time required for the position before jumping into a four-year role.

“If I’m going to do something, I want to be able to give it my all,” she said.

Carlesimo currently serves as the Clawson Middle School PTA president, she sat on the hiring committees for the current superintendent and principal of Kenwood Elementary School, she handles spirit wear sales, and she said she is a regular at school board meetings.

“I have watched our district for 10 years just flourish and become a much better district, and I would like to keep promoting that by being hands-on involved in the district,” Carlesimo said. “I think I have good ideas, and I would like to have my voice heard on the other side of the table for a change.”

Voter turnout in Clawson was 50 percent. The city has 9,358 registered voters.