OPINION: Keep Joan Berndt on the BHS Board of Education
The retired educator brings balance, has a life-long passion for the arts, and is a member of the largest demographic in our district: seniors.
We are enthusiastically supporting retired music educator, Joan Berndt, in the upcoming School Board election. Joan has also been endorsed by every local publication that has made an endorsement so far in this race; by the Bloomfield Township Supervisor, Leo Savoie; and by the Bloomfield Hills Education Association.
For 40+ years Joan has worked tirelessly to improve our schools as a community member, parent (her son is a Lahser graduate), school volunteer, Community Partnership Committee member and finally as a Board trustee. She worked hard to resolve our high school situation by providing input and support for the final plan that resulted in the passage of the bond issue for a unified high school. Most recently, she has communicated clearly and effectively with constituents regarding the major changes to public education being proposed via the Oxford Commission appointed by Governor Snyder.
Ms. Berndt was chosen as a trustee partly because she is a retired teacher who gives balance to the Board, partly because of her life-long passion for the arts as essential components of a comprehensive education (which we share), and partly because she is a member of the largest demographic in our district- the senior community, giving them a voice and a seat at the table.
Joan’s primary goals as Board Trustee are to preserve, protect and enhance our comprehensive curriculum; and to be fiscally responsible by ensuring that student achievement maximizes taxpayers' investments. We feel it is important to return Joan to the Board because of these positions, and because she is the only public school educator on the Board, which we feel gives her a unique and valuable perspective.
Joan was unanimously appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board for a term that does not end until 2014. State law requires her to run this year to finish that term.
Unexpectedly, she is facing opposition from two other candidates, both of whom filed to run after Joan had done so. One is a “perennial” candidate, who has been defeated several times before. The other is a fellow appointee, Rob Herner, whose term is at an end. Regrettably, Mr. Herner chose not to run for a full 6-year term, but instead knowingly chose to run against Ms. Berndt, which has created a less-than-ideal situation. Had he run for a six-year term, we would have been supportive. Since he did not, our community must choose the candidate for the two-year term who brings the most to the Board as a whole. Although we respect those who feel otherwise, we feel that Mr. Herner’s skill set (business and finance) is already well-represented by another candidate, Howard Baron, and by current Trustees, Ed Ford and Ingrid Day. Our Board of Education is greatly aided by the presence of an actual public school educator, and by the perspective of a member of our senior community.
Joan Berndt is on Facebook (Please "Like" her at berndt4bloomfield!), and her webpage is www.berndt4bloomfield.com.
We hope you will join us in supporting Joan Berndt with your vote on Nov. 6!
Mary and Steve Belden
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