Meet the West Bloomfield School Board Candidates: Carol Finkelstein
During the countdown to the Nov. 8 election, Patch will bring you profiles of candidates for the West Bloomfield school board.
The Nov. 8 election is drawing closer every day, but what do you know about those names on the ballot?
Patch will interview candidates for the West Bloomfield School District's Board of Education during the ramp-up to the election, bringing you the stories behind the names and the issues they think are important for West Bloomfield schools.
Six candidates are running for two open spots: incumbent Nelson Hersh and challengers Julie Beaty, Karen M. Faett, Carol Finkelstein, CharRhonda Moye and John Reed. The Board of Education oversees and sets school policy, hires and works in partnership with the district superintendent and oversees the district's budget. Board members are elected to six-year terms.
The Oakland County League of Women Voters held a voters forum and meet-the-candidates night last week at West Bloomfield High School for those running for the West Bloomfield Board of Education. Five of the six candidates for the school board participated in the forum; Finkelstein was absent due to a previous engagement.
To watch the voters forum on demand, visit civiccentertv.com.
Click these links for profiles already published on Patch:
Children in district: Two currently in the district; her son, a fifth-grader in the magnet program at Roosevelt Elementary School, and her daughter, a seventh-grader at Orchard Lake Middle School.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State University in neurophysiology; works as a manager of a medical surgical practice in West Bloomfield.
Favorite class in the district: Foreign languages beginning in sixth grade, especially Japanese.
Finkelstein is well-aware of what the West Bloomfield School District has to offer families with children. Finkelstein enrolled her daughter in kindergarten eight years ago, but by January of that school year, her daughter was reading at a second-grade level, and her teacher had exhausted available opportunities to grow, given the approved curriculum.
Finkelstein then moved her children to Roeper Schools for three years before bringing them back to West Bloomfield three years ago. "Private schools aren't perfect," she said with a chuckle. Finklelstein hopes that if elected to the Board of Education on Nov. 8, she would be able to use that experience, as well as her professional and personal background, to benefit the district.
"I come from a science and numbers background," Finkelstein said. "We know that giftedness is not something that begins at a certain time period — why not work to increase our advanced-placement options to the elementary level? There aren't very many programs like that. ... I know people in West Bloomfield who drive their kids to Livonia for that option. Wouldn't they like to stay in West Bloomfield?"
Finkelstein has gained a thorough understanding of the community's desires and the district's capabilities through an active involvement in her children's education, as well as through her work as manager of a local medical surgical practice and on the board of directors of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's Michigan chapter.
She said what she brings to the board is what is currently lacking. Finkelstein worked toward the passage of two laws in 2005 that allow children with asthma inhalers to carry their own medication, which makes her feel comfortable debating state- and county-wide schools issues such as Schools of Choice.
"I don’t just meet with legislators," Finkelstein said. "I know how to get the job done, and I think that that last step seems to be missing."
She also advocates a more open dialogue with "stakeholders," including staff, teachers, parents, media, administration and the board.
"I want to be the voice of the community, and I think some of our current board members have forgotten that they were elected to be the voice of the community," Finkelstein said. "They seem to be on their own agenda right now."
She added that an endorsement by the Michigan Education Association does not sway her vote on agenda items. "I’m not beholden to any individual group — not the admin, not the unions, not special interests. Your endorsement doesn’t mean that I’m going to do what you want. It’s the best decision for the district, for the kids and the community."