2018-10-06 / News

Incumbent, Two Challengers Run for Mackinac Island School Board

Mackinac Island voters will decide who should serve on the Mackinac Island Public School Board of Education at the Tuesday, November 6, election. Polls will be open at the community hall from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The ballot will also include a renewal request for the school’s operating millage, as well as state-wide contests for governor, attorney general, and other measures.

School board representatives serve three-year terms. Three candidates are running for two open seats. They are incumbent Larry Rickley, Jeri-Lynn Bailey, and Ben Mosley.

To learn the candidate’s perspectives on certain school-related issues, the Mackinac Island Town Crier asked each candidate six questions. Their answers appear as they were submitted, with the exception of formatting and minor changes to follow the style of this newspaper.

Mr. Rickley did not respond to our questionnaire in time for publication.

Jeri-Lynn Bailey

1. Please provide a little biography about yourself. Do you have children who attend the school?

My family and I have been summer residents on Mackinac Island for the past 30 years and recently located here year-around! I met my husband Brian here and we chose to live our lives working on Mackinac Island because we loved the community and lifestyle. We are lucky enough to have three children, a 23- year-old son who just graduated from University of Michigan, a 19- year-old daughter in her sophomore year at Hope College, and a 13-yearold daughter in the eighth grade here on Mackinac Island.

2. Why are you running for the Mackinac Island school board? What would you like to see accomplished?

I have always felt the need to give back to our community and I feel I am well suited for a school board. Up until now, I have not had the time due to having three children at home, running our retail business, and splitting my time between the Island and Gaylord. However, now that I live on the Island full-time and only have one child in the house, now is the perfect opportunity to achieve this ambition. I admire the hard work of the current members and want to add what I can. I hope to bring a positive attitude, encouragement, and a belief of “children first” to the school board.

3. What skills or experiences would you bring to the board?

While living in Gaylord, I served on the parent advisory committee at the Catholic school. It is similar to a school board, only it serves a private school setting. At the time, we were faced with teacher and administrative turnover, as well as operational budget concerns. Additionally, we also faced the usual difficulties in running a school and supporting the families that attended the school. My experience with working through these challenges allowed me to acquire the skills and expectations necessary to serve the students and families on Mackinac Island in a fair and equitable manner.

4. Housing is scarce on the Island and the new teacher duplex is full. What else can the district do to find teacher housing?

As always, housing is a complicated and challenging subject. However, I feel with the addition of the new housing project near Stonecliffe, opportunities are opening up. I would encourage a strong relationship between the school board and the city council to allow for inclusion in the housing discussion and a solution agenda.

5. How can the school create a positive social environment for the students where they feel safe reporting cases of bullying and assault?

All children deserve a healthy and productive school environment and it is the duty of the school board to provide this atmosphere. I possess the drive and determination to allow students to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, bullying and assault can hinder these possibilities. When a program of kindness, encouragement, and support is implemented from elementary school and promoted all the way through high school, students grow to be compassionate, caring individuals who believe in the world and all it has to offer. I truly believe the new Lakers Rock program that was implemented this year on Mackinac Island promotes and supports such an environment. If the essence of this project is embraced by every staff member at the school and the student families, we will begin to see a student body that supports and encourages each other to be their best!

6. What other concerns or issues are facing the school, faculty, staff, and students of Mackinac Island? How do you propose to address them?

As a whole, I believe Mackinac Island has a tremendous school that provides students with an excellent school atmosphere. Having said that, I feel a full-time guidance counselor would be a fantastic addition to the staff. There are so many programs and opportunities in the world for students and it would be a tremendous addition to have a staff designated to knowing about such programs and getting kids acquainted and involved with these opportunities. Additionally, a guidance counselor can assist with the college application process, skilled trade opportunities, job searches, student assessments, parent/student relationships, parent/teacher relationships, parent and student programs, staff support, student support… the list is long. At this time, Mackinac Island Public School has a part-time guidance counselor available, however, the hours are limited and thus the students do not have access to the full realm of potential assistance. It is my wish to find a way to incorporate a full-time guidance counselor to assist our students and families throughout the school years.

Ben Mosley

1. Please provide a little biography about yourself. Do you have children who attend the school?

I have lived on Mackinac Island most of my adult life. I started working here in 1984 and living here year-around in 1987. I am married to a third generation Island resident. We have seven children, four of whom have graduated from MIPS, and currently three in the high school. Additionally, I have grandchildren attending the school.

2. Why are you running for the Mackinac Island school board? What would you like to see accomplished?

The phrase “you only have one chance to educate a child” is one of the truest and most important that can be acted upon. As a board member, all choices need to be based on what is best for children. As a school board, mediocrity should not and cannot be tolerated, and everyone involved should be held accountable for their responsibility in preparing our children for the future.

3. What skills or experiences would you bring to the board?

I have previously served for 16 years on the board, 11 of them as the president. I was building and grounds committee chairman when the addition was added to the school and served on many of the other committees during my tenure on the board. My supervisory position at work has taught me to successfully work with many different personalities, all while helping unify everyone as a team and reach common goals.

4. Housing is scarce on the Island and the new teacher duplex is full. What else can the district do to find teacher housing?

Housing has been an issue for the school for several years. The duplex has addressed part of the problem. It would be my intention to investigate the possibility of partnering with local resources to continue building and fostering the year-around community.

5. How can the school create a positive social environment for the students where they feel safe reporting cases of bullying and assault?

It is my opinion that a great job is being done to give our students a positive environment, and there is always room for improvement. While the programs that are in place are a great part of reaching our goals, it is my belief that the closeness between our students and staff is what enables them to feel safe and be able to confide in staff members. I will always support, promote, and encourage our staff to be involved with the students.

6. What other concerns or issues are facing the school, faculty, staff, and students of Mackinac Island? How do you propose to address them?

As always, finding the right staff members to fill open positions is a priority. The most important thing that we can do is to continue to expand and develop new opportunities for our students. With the classes that are offered to the students through ITV (interactive television), online classes, and our students being able to join CTE classes (career technical education), we already offer several venues for the students and need to develop and expand opportunities, and this would be a priority. Another priority would be to continue the great relationship between the school and the community. It takes a community to raise a child, and Mackinac has always supported its children.

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