GRAND BLANC — Incumbent Board of Education members James Avery Jr. and Jay Hoffman are seeking another term but will be challenged for those seats by residents Joe Johnson and Amy Facchinello.
The four will square off in the Nov. 3 general election with the two top vote-getters winning the open seats on the board.
Here is what the candidates had to say in their own words:
James Avery Jr., Age: 53
Education: Graduate of Grand Blanc High School 1984; Attended Baker College and University of Michigan- Flint studying Bachelor of Education, MPA-Education
• I have served nine years as a member and five of those years as president of the Grand Blanc Community Schools Board of Education
• Member and Vice President of the GISD Board of Education
• During my term as a member of the Grand Blanc Community Schools Board of Education, every mileage, bond and sinking fund proposals were passed
• Worked in the field of education as a teacher, administrator and board member
• I am the Director of Education and Training at the Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce
• I have served as a Deacon at New Jerusalem Full Gospel Baptist Church for 22 years
• Served as Advisory Chair of the Sexual Education Advisory Board of Grand Blanc Schools
• Assisted with starting the MAC program at Grand Blanc High School
• Helped form the Minority Parent Network for Grand Blanc Schools
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected?
1. Continue to stay invested and committed at being a servant leader for my community
2. Continue to challenge myself and my co-board members to create policies that enhance opportunities for student success for all students
3. Help strengthen the student voice in discussions and decisions the board has in areas such as curriculum, sports and social justice
4. Help sustain the collaborative and supportive relationship of the board of education with all of our students, staff, and administrators
5. Continue to seek community involvement with our Opinion Leaders meetings
6. Staying diligent of the board’s actions aligning with our mission statement, vision and beliefs, and every student of Grand Blanc Schools having a sense of value, identity and autonomy.
Jay Hoffman, Age: 52
Education: Business Administration Bachelor’s degree from Truman State University
Accomplishments: Married to Laura for 24 years, raising three children, operating a successful local business for 24 years, appointed to Grand Blanc Township Planning commission for 15 years, honored to have served the school district for the past 10 years.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? The first thing one learns being on a board is “you are only one vote”. It has been my pleasure to work together with the other board members to accomplish great things over the past 10 years. The goals going forward would be to continue to strengthen the foundation Grand Blanc Community schools has built with the help from the community and continue to strive for excellence.
We have already made moves for learning opportunities for all with the additions and enhancements to Career Technical classes and we can do more. Some traditional core classes have added practical use applications to make them more interesting and useful to real life situations and we can do more. Advanced classes not only prepare students for college but give the student the chance to be rewarded for college credit, those options must continue to grow so a student can choose their best path. Successful mileage votes have made advances to the educational process, secured building maintenance and security, allowed for finishing upgrades to buildings for air quality and environmental controls, and improvements to athletic facilities. I would continue to support the efficient implementation of these dollars to acknowledge and respect the trust the community has put in the district.
Over the years communication and transparency has increased, continuing to bring people together to discuss views which will make us stronger. Character strength education is something that Grand Blanc schools have always been known for and the options how to display and teach them have continued to grow. I’m so proud of the growth of the Positivity Project to empower students to move our community forward and would continue to support widening its impact.
Amy Facchinello, Age: 52
Education: BA Elementary Education, U of M Flint, MBA, U of M Flint, MPA, U of M-Flint
Accomplishments: My husband and I have been residents of Grand Blanc for twenty years. I have two children who attend Grand Blanc High School. I have 25 years of teaching experience in a variety of settings including public, parochial and charter schools. I was team leader and involved in the school improvement process and participated in the Michigan Math Science Teacher Leader Consortium.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? As a parent I am concerned about what I see happening in education. Our students deserve an education where they are taught how to think and not what to think. We have many third-party actors trying to push their agenda on our students. One of my concerns is the 1619 Project, which uses its platform to teach an alternate version of U.S. history.
I am fully aware of the impact coronavirus has had on the educational system. I want to ensure that all students, regardless of their chosen method of learning, are reaching their highest potential and that Grand Blanc Schools is meeting the needs of each and every student.
As a board member, my goal is to be a conservative voice and to protect the rights of teachers, parents and students from government overreach. In an age where what was once right is now wrong and what was wrong is now right, I want to make sure that the staff are being supported and commended for doing what is right for our students. One thing that we overlook is that our parents/taxpayers are our boss. Educators work for you. I want to be your voice on the Grand Blanc Board of Education.
Joe Johnson, Age:18
Education: Grand Blanc High School
Accomplishments: Volunteering my time to support public servants who share values of the future that I support, including: County Commissioner Ellen Ellenburg, Judge Elizabeth Kelly, Judge Brian Pickell, Mayor Sheldon Neely and State Representative Cynthia Neely
Hired and served as an Election Inspector in the Township of Grand Blanc
Elected as Class Treasurer, giving me the opportunity to keep track of all purchases by the student-led group and submitted to the Board for evaluation.
Elected as Class President by my peers to represent them in Student Government. In doing so, I was given the opportunity to organize the Class Food Pantry that raised nonperishable foods for families across the Grand Blanc District.
Served on the Grand Blanc Community Schools Handbook committee, in efforts to update old policy, bring a student’s perspective, and educate the board of new and growing ways of cheating in the classroom.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? If elected, my goal is to focus on working with the local businesses in Grand Blanc to form a Trade Partnership aligned with the schools. Allowing students to work in local businesses while acquiring skills under experts. This will benefit students to gain knowledge and will help retain graduates in the community.
Another goal of mine is to focus on Life Concept courses; updating the curriculum that is currently offered to focus on personal finance for all students to understand to prepare them for their adult lives. The Life Concept courses would range from Financial skills, such as balancing a check book, establishing and maintaining good credit, investing, etc.
Likewise, with Job Skills, I would like to have linked into the Life Concept Course, which would entail interviewing skills, resume writing and how to negotiate a contract. As to the Student Empowerment, I want to find new ways to support our students. Many of our great young minds have ideas to be heard and that starts with having those conversations with our students.
The Genesee County View will run more candidate profiles over the coming weeks for the various races through the county.