Farmington Hills residents cast their votes on Election Day at Kenbrook Elementary School in Farmington Hills Nov. 8.

Farmington Hills residents cast their votes on Election Day at Kenbrook Elementary School in Farmington Hills Nov. 8.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Residents elect school board members, approve school district proposal

School board member discusses complaint about credentials

By: Mark Vest | Farmington Press | Published November 17, 2022

 Thousands of local residents cast their votes at the general election Nov. 8.

Thousands of local residents cast their votes at the general election Nov. 8.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Local candidates attempted to appeal to voters via signs placed outside of Kenbrook Elementary School in Farmington Hills Nov. 8.

Local candidates attempted to appeal to voters via signs placed outside of Kenbrook Elementary School in Farmington Hills Nov. 8.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — Residents in the Farmington Press’ coverage area recently voted for candidates running for elected offices and a Farmington Public School District proposal in the Nov. 8 general election.


Farmington Public Schools Board of Education
There were six candidates trying to earn three available spots on the Farmington Public Schools Board of Education.

The top vote-getters were Angie Smith with 15,555 votes; Terri Ann Weems with 15,330; and Donald Walker with 14,693, each winning the opportunity to serve a six-year term.

Other candidates were T.R. Carr, who finished with 10,737 votes; Donna Swoboda, who finished with 10,114 votes; and Björn Olson, who had 9,590 votes.

Prior to the election, FPS released a statement, in regard to an investigation into the academic credentials Smith provided.

“On the late evening of Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, a concern about the credentials of a particular board member was brought to the attention of the Board President and Superintendent (via email) that resulted in an investigation that expanded beyond the initial inquiry,” the statement reads.

The statement went on to provide a summary of the investigation.

“The initial concern focused on the academic credentials of one board member only, Ms. Angie Smith,” the statement reads. “No request for verification of the credentials of any of the other six members of the BOE was requested. No explanation was provided as to why other board members were excluded from this inquiry, including those who have the high academic achievements of a Ph.D. and a CPA endorsement. Additionally, the complainant outlined significant steps the complainant herself took to contact university registrars (two separate times) to seek verification of enrollment and degree completion for this single board member.”

According to the statement, the complainant who raised the initial concern is a former board member who served with Smith for multiple years and was president of the BOEduring a portion of that time.

In the email, according to the statement from FPS, the complainant claimed that during her time on the board she had heard rumors about Smith’s credentials but “had her hands full and did not pursue the accuracy of these rumors,” as it had taken place prior to her election to the board.

“As President of the BOE, the complainant had more than ample time and more importantly, the power to formally investigate and address this matter if she considered it to be of such immediate and ethical importance,” the statement reads. “Therefore, the timing of this recent complaint (3 weeks before the election) seems curious. Nonetheless, we have conducted a thorough investigation into the matter.”

The statement went on to share what was learned as a result of the investigation.

“Ms. Angie Smith confirmed that she has not graduated from Wayne State University or Wayne County Community College,” the statement reads. “Ms. Smith misrepresented receiving a degree in an interview and did wear regalia at commencement exercises that she was not entitled to wear. Past practice in FPS (and most school districts) is to have board members write their own bios and submit them to the district for the website and other print communications. Under the Michigan Association of School Boards manual, there is no requirement for a board member to provide credentials to the district, nor any verification requirement or established protocol for a school district.”

The statement shared potential action that may be taken as a result of the investigation’s findings.

“The Board of Education does not condone Ms. Smith’s misrepresentation of her academic background/credentials and finds her actions regarding this matter reprehensible,” the statement reads. “We have responded to the complainant and issued this statement in a timely manner, so that voters may consider all information. Additionally, the Board of Education intends to evaluate discipline including whether the current responsibilities and assignments delegated to Ms. Smith as Vice President of the Board of Education and representative/liaison of various associations and committees are appropriate. Based upon this incident, going forward, the District and BOE intend to request verification of credentials prior to the posting of bios and ordering of commencement regalia.”

The statement went on to read that, ultimately, it was up to the voters to decide who is elected to the BOE, as a BOE does not have the authority to remove an elected official “even if so desired.”

The statement was credited to Board President Cheryl Blau and FPS Superintendent Christopher J. Delgado.

In regard to her affiliation with Wayne State University and Wayne County Community College, during a phone interview with the Press, Smith said, “I have attended those universities and institutions.”

“The election is over, and 15,555 people spoke on Nov. 8, which no one has ever had that amount, from what I’m hearing, in history. I’m even shocked, myself,” said Smith, who won an opportunity to serve a second term. “I’m ready to get back into doing the work that we’re supposed to be doing and focus on our students. … I am moving forward; this came from a former board member that resigned.”

As for matters that pertain specifically to the FPS district, some of the areas of focus Smith cited include students’ social and emotional learning, as well as a shortage of teachers, bus drivers and lunch aides.

She did not elaborate on any discussions she may have had with Blau and Delgado, in regard to her role with the BOE.

“I’m only focusing on what our goals are, as for working solely in our community, working solely with our parents and our students, and our teachers, especially. Basically, that’s the only thing I really wanna talk about,” Smith said.

In a separate FPS board race, with only one spot available, two candidates were competing for a chance to serve a partial term, which is set to end Dec. 31, 2024.

In that race, Claudia Heinrich finished with 14,528 votes, compared to 13,146 for Michelle Bushey.


Farmington Public School District operating millage restoration proposal
Residents approved the proposal, as there were 25,715 yes votes, compared to 14,559 voting no.

The approval restored the authority of the Farmington Public School District to levy 18 mills, which had been reduced by 0.6152 mill due to the Headlee Amendment.

Under the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution, a community’s millage rates are reduced to offset any increase in overall taxable value exceeding the rate of inflation in a given year.


Board of Commissioners races
In the Oakland County Board of Commissioners District 15 race, Democrat Gwen Markham beat Republican opponent Michelle DiNardo.

Markham had 18,725 votes, with DiNardo finishing with 12,570.

Markham is set to serve a two-year term.

“Tuesday’s election results show that Oakland County residents support the Democratic leadership that is focused on protecting and growing our parks system, expanding mental health services countywide, support of Veterans, and economic development that brings jobs back to our region,” Markham stated via email. “I’m very excited about the passage of Oakland Transit that will support employees and employers, students, non-drivers, and provide overall better access to the regional assets for everyone.”

Democrat William Miller also earned the chance to serve a two-year term, as he beat Republican Michael F. Mrozovich in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners District 16 race.

Miller finished with 19,583 votes, compared to 9,572 for Mrozovich.