Name: Bradford Parks
Computer Programmer, Ford Motor, 1993 – Present
BA – UM Ann Arbor – 1984; MBA – Wayne State University – 2003
Previous and/or current elected positions:
FE-PTA President, Ferndale PTA Council President, Ferndale Education Foundation President
FHS Robotics Supporters; Ferndale District Ambassadors
Do you currently have students in the district, and if so, what school(s) do they attend?
1 Daughter going into FHS, 1 son at Roosevelt Open Classroom
Why do you want to be on the School Board?
I believe strongly in the mission of Ferndale schools to educate all children in our school district, and placing equal emphasis on all of our school programs: K-12, pre-school, alternative, and adult education.
Why should people vote for you?
I understand the issues involved in the district from all sides. I believe strongly that the entire district must be represented, and that everyone has something to bring to the table.
I have been serving the Ferndale schools since my daughter started kindergarten nine years ago. I have been President of the FE-PTA, the PTA Council, the Ferndale Education Foundation, Chair of the Superintendent’s Advisory board, and have been working on the BOE Operations Committee for the past three years and the BOE Technology/Curriculum Committee for the past two years. I served on the BOE summer school bond committee, Ferndale Citizens for Quality schools, camapigned for the successful passage of the school bond, and am currently Co-chair of the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee.
A rising tide lifts all boats, and working together we can achieve great things.
What do you think are the top responsibilities of the School Board?
1) Serving on and directing the BOE committees that generate policy for the school board and the district; 2) Working with, and not against, the school administration, the teachers, support staff and parents of the district to develop our educational priorities, and following through to assess our achievement, and make course direction changes as required; 3) To serve as emissary to the public and help explain the goals, achievements, and challenges of our school district.
Are there any school board decisions or policies that you disagree with, and why?
While I agree with dissolution of the Multi-Age program at JFK in 2012, making this change without simultaneously working on similar structural changes to improve student achievement at Roosevelt/Coolidge gives the false impression that one school has special privileges above and beyond students in the rest of the district. If elected, I would work with the other members of the school Board and the Coordinator of Elementary Curriculum to ensure the necessary structural changes are made in 2012/13 school year to improve learning conditions for all students in all schools in our district.
Do you think parents sending their students out of district is an issue, and if so what would you do about it?
In the current school climate, all Michigan schools face stiff competition for district students — there are schools of choice, parochial schools, private schools, and charter schools. Parents and students have to make the choice they feel is right for them. There are some people in our school district who suggest that families who choose to send their children elsewhere reflects negatively on the quality of Ferndale schools. I would respectfully disagree. I believe the district’s time, money and energy is best spent serving the students who considered the options and chose to support their school district, not on chasing after people who have already made their choice. The best publicity for Ferndale schools is to support ALL Ferndale schools, students, teachers and district with positive word of mouth, and work together to make it the best it can be.
What does Ferndale Schools do well as a district?
The Ferndale school district is a full-service district that offers high standards for academics, a nationally renowned music program, award winning sports teams, and a Robotics team in the top 10% of the state. We have classes for advanced learners and tutoring and special help for students that need more support. Ferndale High school was just named a “Rewards” school and ranked among the top high schools in Oakland County. We have highly motivated parent support for all our schools and our extra curricular activities. What’s not to like?
What can be improved upon?
We have a diverse school district. While some students are well-prepared by well-educated family support group, some students are ill-prepared for an academic environment. The parents of the district have to work together for the achievement of the entire district, not just their small piece of it.
Anything else readers should know about you?
I like to cook, I love my kids, and I never get enough Date Nights with my wife.
NOTE: Bradford Parks is running on the “Citizens for Better Education” PAC slate for this election along with Katrina Collins, Keith Warnick, and Jim Pfleger. Read more about CBE at http://ferndalecbe.org/. While the four are campaigning together, voting is done on an individual basis. The election will be Nov. 6, 2012. More voting information can be found at https://oaklandcounty115.com/category/voter_info/.