Name: Keith Warnick
Website(s): www.keithwarnick.com & www.ferndalecbe.org
I’ve been involved in the Plastics industry my entire adult life. Worked my way up to Regional Sales Manager managing from 4 to 5 sales reps, two sales/distribution offices and nearly 2000 clients across (4) states. Now I am an Independent Contractor/Consultant to global Plastics/Die Cast Industry companies.
University of Akron (Go Zips!) – Mechanical Engineering
Previous and/or current elected positions:
Elected to FPS Board of Ed, 2004; Board V/P 2006 – 2011. Re-elected to FPS Board of Ed 2008; Board President 2011 – 2012. Elected Jackson PTA President, 1993 – 1995; Ferndale PTA Council President, 1998 – 2000 after serving as Council Secretary, 2nd V/P, 1st V/P. Elected MASB Region 8 (Oakland, Wayne, Macomb Counties), 2009 – 2012. Selected to serve on Michigan PTSA 2001; served as Field Service Rep for Region D, 2001 – 2005. Selected as Region D V/P 2005 – 2007.
Fore Kids Golf Classic (FEF & Band Boosters joint fundraiser) founding committee (Mary Schusterbauer, Gerry Kulick, Jim Moll, Keith Warnick) & door prize chair for first (7) years. June Fair volunteer nearly (10) years; visit district schools on a regular basis for Open House, Ice Cream Social, reading to students, etc.
Do you currently have students in the district, and if so, what school(s) do they attend?
(2) Daughters; graduates of FHS – Jaclyn, 2000; Christine, 2002. Grandson attending pre-school this fall.
Why do you want to be on the School Board?
My work is not done. Although we are narrowing the achievement gap, we still have work to do. We have to do a better job with our challenged students. How will that happen? Knowledgeable leadership is needed. Rapid changes in the education environment needs those leaders that have the historical knowledge of the district and of the recent legislative changes; those leaders that can offer alternatives to what may not be totally effective with something that may. I constantly stay up to date on what is happening across the state and across the nation and make suggestions that I think might be transferable to Ferndale. In order to do that, you have to have a district wide thought process that fits in with our long term goals and not a singular agenda.
Why should people vote for you?
My complete body of work. I don’t think anyone has brought so much state and national attention to Ferndale Public Schools as I have over the past (8) years. I have formed connections with our local, state and national legislatures making sure they know that Ferndale needs to be acknowledged. I have lobbied for equitable funding in Lansing and lobbied for flexible methods of tracking student achievement in Washington, DC. I’ve been a regular member of the Oakland County School Board Association Legislative committee (6) of (8) years. I have reached Master Platinum Level (6) for MASB accumulating more than (130) hours of classroom training and over 925 additional Education Units.
I started going to School Board meetings in the early ’90’s, lobbying for Foreign Language & Instrumental Music continuation in early elementary school. I chaired the Ferndale Anti-Voucher campaign in 2001 that lead to an overwhelming 80% against/20% for vote in our district. Coordinated Jackson 6th grade trips to SAE Exposition Family Night (at no cost to students); coordinated (2) visits by the National Plastics Museum, 1997 & 2005 to (6) district schools (at no cost to district); recommended district submit best-practices to NSBA American School Board Journal which resulted in University HS earning a nationally recognized Magna Award; recommend district submit best-practices to MASB for 2011 and 2012 Fall Conference which resulted in presentations at both events. As Board President, I streamlined e-mail communication with the Board and had our Goals and Vision visible at all School Board meetings. I have ALWAYS supported any school bond need, actively campaigned for the 2004 bond and walked many streets in February 2012, knocking on doors to promote the most recent need.
What do you think are the top responsibilities of the School Board?
Developing policies. Establishing budget priorities and overseeing facilities issues. Hiring the Superintendent and setting policy for hiring other personnel. Setting the direction and adoption of the curriculum. Keeping our goals and vision in mind when voting on individual issues.
Are there any school board decisions or policies that you disagree with, and why?
Absolutely, there have been times when I did not vote as others on the Board voted. I’ve always made my voice heard when I disagreed with a motion request that was submitted by a committee or an administrator. My constituents elected me to make decisions that would benefit all children in this district. That’s what I do! But once that vote was taken, I fully supported the decision. You need to look beyond that in order to have a cohesive Board.
Do you think parents sending their students out of district is an issue, and if so what would you do about it?
Schools of Choice was created to offer parents more options. Districts could opt in if they wanted. This gave parents the ability to cross district borders to go to other schools, whereas in the past, they would actually have to move. Naturally we would like to have all district eligible students attend Ferndale Schools. Parents make this choice for various reasons. Some reasons could be based on misconceptions. Others are based on not getting into a program they want, so they go to another district, without giving our core programs a chance to show what we have to offer.
What does Ferndale Schools do well as a district?
Our district is a Full Service district, offering many options for our students. Early Foreign Language, Music & Fine Arts Programs, full Athletic options, CASA with programs that could not be offered otherwise, Magnet School, numerous electives and more. You can get a first class education within Ferndale Public Schools that can get you into some of the best colleges and universities in the country. MIT, Purdue University, Michigan, Kalamazoo College, Michigan State, Wayne State, Florida State, West Point and more. Ferndale High School is a newly recognized ‘Rewards School’ for being in the top 5% statewide for student achievement increases. University High School is a nationally recognize Magna Award winner for their effectiveness for graduating urban students. Roosevelt Primary School has won numerous Character Education awards and an MASB Education Excellence award. We have multiple Green Schools. We offer opportunities for those that come back to school to get their degree with the (70) year old Alternative Education program reinvented as the Digital Learning Center. We have constantly improved our facilities due to the communities support of (3) school improvement millages in the past (15) years. Why would you want your children to go anywhere else?
What can be improved upon?
Student achievement. It is a constantly moving bar, which is why NCLB (No Child Left Behind) was an utter failure and designed to destroy public education. We know from decades of data that student achievement increases when parent involvement increases. It’s even high when fathers participate. We must work with those that are unable to make that committment to make sure we ‘leave no child behind’ (as stated by Senator Stabenow). We have to continue to use our School Improvement Plans to meet the challenges of our lowest achievers. I don’t believe we have ‘failing’ schools. I believe we have ‘challenged’ schools. We must understand all the reasons these schools and their students are challenged and give them the resources to change that course.
Anything else readers should know about you?
My grandkids love me (“Pa”). I may be escorting one to Ferndale pre-school soon!
My years of sales experience have given me the ability to quickly see the big picture and make common sense decisions about the steps needed to take to have a positive outcome for all those affected. Common sense, knowledge and understanding of the issues are my strongest abilities.
NOTE: Keith Warnick is running on the “Citizens for Better Education” PAC slate for this election along with Bradford Parks , Katrina Collins, 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 http://oaklandcounty115.com/category/voter_info/.