“Expectations” Trump “Hope” as Pontiac School Board Members Swear In (video)ferncareAD
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 6, 2015)
“We don’t say ‘we hope’ anymore. We say ‘we expect.’”
The concept is one surrounding every decision made at Pontiac Schools, and when Superintendent Kelley Williams brought it up at the Jan. 5, 2015 School Board meeting it resonated with the couple dozen people who had come to see the swearing in of four Board Members.
The District is digging its way out of deficit spending, reclaiming some of the enrollment numbers lost in the wave of charter school competition, reducing the number of security issues and sidebar01sponsorsuspensions, and moving forward with programs that help organizations and companies connect with students to enrich their experiences. Working with the State of Michigan through a consent agenda, Pontiac Schools is rising like the Phoenix whose image is worn with pride through the District.
But, as Williams said, it’s not just about hopes, but about setting clear expectations for everyone involved. Key to that involvement are the School Board Members, four of whom were sworn in at the beginning of the meeting. Newcomer William A. Carrington joined Vice President Brenda Carter, and Members April Hernandez and Carol Turpin in taking the Oath of Office.
Sitting in the blue plastic seats of the audience, former School Board Member Mattie Hatchet nicholas-schrock-allstatesaid she felt good. “They’re the ones in the hot seat now,” she said.
Hatchet, who served for four years on the School Board and 12 years on the County Commission, declined running for either seat. She’s taking a break from politics, but plans on staying involved with the schools as a volunteer.
“I’m glad to have the pressure off. I want to help the kids, not worry about politics,” she said. One of her favorite organizations is the Optimist Club, and her heart is with the Joy Club, geared towards junior high aged youth. “That’s when we can really have an impact in these kids’ lives,” she said.
When asked what challenges the Board faced, Hatchett said “The first is that the consent lisa schmidt lawagreement is still in effect and they are obligated to work together to implement it. I have confidence the new members. I am hopefully they’ll form a team. They need to get the confidence of the people in the District.” Hatchett also predicted that the Board would have to go to the public with a millage vote.
Hatchett said that Carrington was a “great addition to the board,” and that she “appreciates that he is very thorough in his research.” She also stood up before the Board to administer the Oath of Office to April Hernandez, stating “I want the world to know that I have supported April Hernandez over the years and I will continue to support her. Why? In some ways she is like me. She tells it like it is. You don’t have to guess where she’s coming from.”

Each official was sworn in by a person of their choosing. Carrington stood before Pastor John Smith of Shepherd’s gardenfreshADFold Community Church. Pastor Smith gave a list of words he said describe the newest Board Member: “strength, endurance, integrity, clarity, willingness, professionalism, excellence and community.”
Carrington said “The election is over but the work has just begun.” He thanked the people involved in his campaign – including his supportive parents – and said that the Board needs to honor the consent agreement, and that “We need to keep our students here in Pontiac. They are our future leaders.”
Second to be sworn in was Vice President Brenda Carter. She was sworn in by her husband Pontiac Councilperson Randy Carter. “We have to remember why we’re standing up here,” Vice President Carter said. “My colleagues who are sitting at the dais today, the administration who is essentialsitting here today, the ones who won and the ones who are still in here, I’m so glad to see Mr. [James] Endres, Brother El [Prince Ravanna]. This is what I’m talking about – the village. Because the number one reason anybody should be in this room is not political. It should be about the children…. We are in the process of getting politics out of this… There is no room in our school system for people with an agenda – just no room.”
Sworn in by Mattie Hatchett, April Hernandez was next. Hernandez had served on the Board previously and resigned due to health issues. “I was called before a pit-bull on this board because I didn’t take what somebody told me. If you didn’t have the documentation, I threw it back,” she said. She thought she was done with politics, but an epiphany sent her back into the race. “God sent me here,” Hernandez said. “I had no intention; all of a sudden it just came to me one day. And God sent me here for a reason. I may not know what that full reason is yet. But I know it is ctechadto ensure that the students in this District, and the communities that surround this District, including Pontiac community, get what they deserve.”
Carol Turpin was sworn in by her husband, who summed up a frustration felt by many. “I think that it is in her heart how she serves, you really just don’t know,” he said. “The work we do in this District is not just for the District but for the community as a whole. As you know, our seed8989_Mary SchusterbaurerConstitutional rights have been questioned. Rallying around the schools is a good place to start.”
Turpin said “The reason I do what I do is because I love children… When I look at these kids I want the same thing that I want for my kids… We have a tremendous opportunity to pull together as citizens, and as a community.”
For more on Pontiac Schools go to http://www.pontiac.k12.mi.us.
For other stories of interest see: