Royal Oak school board to see 3 new faces

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published November 4, 2020

 Hanes

Hanes

 Alexander

Alexander

 Ciechorski

Ciechorski

 VanHaitsma

VanHaitsma

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ROYAL OAK — The Royal Oak Schools Board of Education will add three new members to its ranks come the new year, replacing three incumbent members who opted not to run for election. Six candidates vied for four four-year terms Nov. 3.

According to unofficial election results, voters elected newcomers Lisa-Aline Hanes, Erika Alexander and Timothy J. Ciechorski and incumbent MaryAnne VanHaitsma. Hanes received 19.86%, or 14,800 votes; Alexander received 19.72%, or 14,692 votes; Ciechorski received 16.18%, or 12,056 votes; and VanHaitsma received 18.54%, or 13,814 votes.

The four defeated Lakeesha Morrison — who received 15.87%, or 11,825 votes — and Dustin G. Kaupp — who received 9.54%, or 7,111 votes.

VanHaitsma, who serves as board secretary, was the sole incumbent who filed for reelection. President Jeff Brinker, Vice President Gary Briggs and Trustee Carrie Beerer will serve through the end of the year.

The terms of Treasurer Deborah Anderson and Trustees Marty Cardamone and Allison Sykes expire Dec. 31, 2022.

Hanes, a registered nurse and clinical service program manager, has lived in Royal Oak for 20 years. Her top goals include diversity, a healthy and safe environment, and the modernization of classrooms and curriculum, according to a preelection questionnaire she returned to C & G Newspapers.

Alexander, the director of quality assurance for Oakland Family Services, has lived in Royal Oak for 17 years. Her top goals include continuing “the work of ensuring fair and equitable experiences for students of all race/ethnicity and learning styles,” “attracting and retaining staff of various racial and ethnic backgrounds,” and encouraging the development of “formalized avenues of communication between the Board and all stockholders … with built in measures for feedback,” according to her questionnaire.

Ciechorski, a deputy district court clerk, has lived in Royal Oak for 12 years. His top goals include encouraging “a stronger emphasis on mental health awareness for both students and staff,” calling for “greater diversity in curriculum and hiring,” promoting a “stronger focus on vocational education,” advocating for “the best virtual and online instruction,” and making the district “a leader in technology,” according to his questionnaire.

VanHaitsma, an adjudicator, has lived in Royal Oak for 23 years. Her top goals include delivering an “excellent education for all grade levels for each and every student,” ensuring “students and staff remain safe,” “fiscal responsibility with taxpayer dollars,” and advocating for “equitable and appropriate funding of public education,” according to her questionnaire.

Royal Oak Schools Superintendent Mary Beth Fitzpatrick applauded the three incumbent board members whose terms expire at the end of the year for serving the district and community.

“As an educator and parent, I’m most appreciative of these board members whose guidance and history are representative of this community,” Fitzpatrick said. “The service these board members have been able to give us throughout their tenure is irreplaceable.”

In a prepared statement, Fitzpatrick congratulated the newly elected school board members and thanked them for their willingness to serve on behalf of the district’s students, staff and community.

“I look forward to working together and serving the needs of all Royal Oak students, families and staff,” she said in the statement. “I appreciate all of our school board members and candidates for their passion and dedication to our incredible community.”

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