Eight people are vying for four seats on Ferndale's school board in the November election and Ferndale Patch is bringing you Q&A profiles with each of the candidates.
We asked the candidates about why they want to be on the board of education, their backgrounds, what they consider the biggest areas for improvement and more.
Below are the replies of resident and current school board member Katrina Collins.
Q: Number of years a resident of the Ferndale School district?
Q: Do you or did you have children in Ferndale schools?
Yes, my son Sean graduated in 2008 he is currently finishing his degree in Criminal Justice. Connor graduated this year 2012 and is a student at Ferris State University and Daniel is a sophomore at Ferndale High School. Between the three boys they attended Roosevelt, Wilson, Best (Now JFK), Coolidge, Ferndale Middle School and Ferndale High School.
Q: What prompted you to run for a seat on Ferndale’s school board?
I was elected to the School Board in 2007 and I feel my work on the Board is not done.
Q: What kinds of experiences – professional, educational or otherwise – make you unique and qualified candidate?
I started volunteering in the schools some 17 years ago when my oldest son started Kindergarten. I started out simple as a room mom coordinating classroom celebrations and helping the teacher with centers. I joined the PTA and started volunteering more over the years I have held several PTA positions. The Ferndale Education Foundation asked me to become a Trustee where I helped raise funds for the enrichment of Ferndale students. My most rewarding volunteer position was being a Remarkable Reader Coach. I still have students thank me for helping them learn how to read. I was Elected to the School Board in 2007 and have been on or chaired each of the Board Committees. I have also been on the Superintendents Advisory Committee and the Board representative to the Head Start Policy committee. I am currently the Board Secretary and I am on the Finance Committee.
I am a Registered Dental Hygienist and have used my professional training to promote Dental health in many classrooms over the years.
Q: What new ideas do you hope to bring to the table?
I am committed to attending more district events and PTA meetings. I always learn more about what is going on in each school when I attend their PTA meetings and then I can bring their concerns back to the appropriate committee or administrator.
Q: What do you think are the biggest issues facing the school district? How would you handle them?
Student achievement is an ongoing issue. We have been making steady progress over past several years with Ferndale High School being designated as a state Rewards School because they have improved so much across the board that they were rated as being in the top 5% of schools with similar improvements.
This year with Early Release Mondays and the creation of Data Teams I believe it will help Teachers focus on individual student needs and more professional development.
School funding is also an ongoing issue. We never know from year to year what the per pupil funding will be. Last year the state took $503 per pupil away from us and this year there was no increase. That’s millions of dollars that we have had to cut out of the budget. But even with these cuts we have been able to keep Ferndale a full service district.
Q. What do you regard as the district’s successes? How would you continue or improve upon these areas, if re-elected.
There are so many successes!! From Roosevelt Primary School –MASB Education Excellence award winner, award winning marching band, no pay-to-play sports, green schools, CASA, Robotics team and graduates attending some of the finest universities. There is no reason to go anywhere else for your children’s education.
Q. Around the country, state and in Ferndale, school budgets continue to be an issue districts grapple with. What areas of the budget would be your biggest priority, if re-elected? Where do you see the most room for cuts, if needed?
I believe we have done a great job over the past 10 years grappling our budget. Growing the fund balance from $176,000 to over $4 million was not an easy task but it was all done while keeping Ferndale a full service district.
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
I have been a resident of Ferndale for 26 years. My husband and I never questioned where our sons would attend school. We knew that they would receive an excellent education right in their own backyard and they have. I have purposely worked part-time in order to actively participate in my son’s education, from the time they entered kindergarten to the present. From being a room mother to volunteering in the classroom, I feel I have directly impacted the lives of many Ferndale students. Since my children started school I have spent an enormous amount of time volunteering. I feel my participation has helped my children advance and I have helped many of their classmates advance as well. My candidacy for the Ferndale School Board is an extension of my volunteerism, and my desire to advance the needs and goals of our school district.