(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 12, 2017)
Ferndale, MI – Dr. Dania Bazzi wants Ferndale Schools to be the heart of the community, and as she looks at the school year ahead her focus is on making strong connections.
In her previous district, Galesburg-Agusta, Dr. Bazzi said most of the students knew who she was and she knew almost everyone by name. “It’s important for students to connect with adults,” she said. “They always know that teachers and other adults are there to hold them accountable and elevate their status, so they know we’re helping them reach their goals. I am like the head cheerleader and we all cheer for the students’ success.”
In Galesburg-Agusta, in rural Kalamazoo County, enrollment was at around 1,000 students. Ferndale’s enrollment is more than triple that. When asked if she will learn all the students’ names in Ferndale, Dr. Bazzi smiled and said “I’m going to try. It might take longer though.”
Dr. Bazzi is carrying on with the strategic plan put in place three years ago, by focusing on diversity, increasing technology and addressing the needs of all students.
“A lot of good work has been done in the district in the last three years,” she said. “A strategic plan is a living document, so we can adjust if necessary, but my intent is not to come in and start over, but continue the work the community has already started.”
Along with the “heart of the community” mindset, Dr. Brazzi is bringing a brain full of knowledge about data-driven decision-making.
Before serving as Superintendent for Galesburg-Agusta Schools, Dr. Bazzi was the School Improvement and Data Consultant for Jackson Intermediate Schools, serving 13 school districts.
She’s also worked as Director of Teaching and Learning at Hamilton Schools, where she mainly oversaw curriculum. Before that she was a math teacher in Westland. And before that she spent three years working for Ford Motor Company after college before she realized that education was her true passion. After getting a bachelors and masters degree from University of Michigan Dearborn she earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Wayne State University.
“The biggest challenge in Ferndale is the same with any school district in Michigan, the financial aspect,” Dr. Bazzi said. “We look at how the per pupil [funding] is allocated and we work within our budget. We can use data to help us see what is working and what isn’t, and where we can make improvements.’
Ferndale Schools is hosting a meet and greet for Dr. Bazzi on July 26 from 6:30-7:30pm at Ferndale High School. Dr. Bazzi began on July 1, taking the office of Blake Prewitt who has moved on to Lakeview Schools.
For more on Ferndale Public Schools visit www.ferndaleschools.org.