Trustees appoints new officers, are recognized for Board Appreciation Month

Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education members pose for a photo on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. From the left is Superintendent Glenn Maleyko, Board Secretary Irene Watts, Trustee Hussein Berry, Trustee Jim Thorpe, Board President Roxanne McDonald, Trustee Mary Petlichkoff, Board Vice President Adel Mozip, and Henry Ford College President Russ Kavalhuna. Not shown is Trustee Pat D’Ambrosio.

As part of School Board Recognition Month, Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko took time at the January 10, 2022 school board meeting to thank trustees for their service to the community.

Dr. Maleyko noted that this is the seventh time he has offered comments as Superintendent for Board Appreciation Month.

“I want to take a moment to recognize our outstanding board team that we have here in Dearborn,” Dr. Maleyko said. “Thank you for your outstanding service to the school community and for your dedication to our vision of students first. “

He also thanked the board for its continued leadership during the first full year of the pandemic.

“This has really been the toughest challenge I can say in my career and I think a lot of us can probably say for us in our lifetimes,” Dr. Maleyko said.

Board of Education members develop policies and make tough decisions that help shape the district now and in the future. They are responsible for the third largest school district in Michigan with an annual budget of $336 million, an enrollment of 20,000 students, and 2,700 employees working in 37 district buildings.

In addition, Dearborn School Board trustees also serve as trustees for Henry Ford College.  They are the only school board trustees in the state that also serve as trustees for a local college. This dual responsibility means trustees spend twice the amount of time dedicated to serving the community.  They evaluate both the superintendent and the college president and must keep abreast of issues, laws and legislation impacting both grades preschool to 12th and the college.

The board began calendar year 2022 with a brief organizational meeting to select new officers.  Those appointments include Roxanne McDonald as president, Adel Mozip as vice president, Irene Watts as secretary and Mary Petlichkoff as treasurer.

Dr. Maleyko also thanked Trustee Jim Thorpe for his service as board president during 2021. The superintendent shared a Wayne Gretzky quote that Trustee Thorpe often shared with him.  

“I skate to where the puck is going, not to where it has been,’ meaning we are always looking ahead and preparing for the unexpected and what is ahead,” Dr. Maleyko said.

Henry Ford College President Russ Kavalhuna also addressed the Board during Monday’s  meeting.  He noted that besides working with trustees at the college, he is also a resident and parent in the district. Trustees were elected to public office, and the public often questions and scrutinizes the board’s actions “as they should,” he said

“But what has also happened over the last two years is you have been criticized in a way that I think is unfair in many regards,” President Kavalhuna said. 

“It’s not okay that they question your motives. It’s not okay that they have questioned your truthfulness. It’s not okay that they have questioned your morality. And they have done that,” he said, adding, “I know each of you, and you are good, honest, moral people.  I’ve watched you put up with difficulties. And I’ve watched you do your best, and this district is better for your involvement.”

Below is information about the Dearborn Public School trustees for 2022.

Trustee Irene Watts was one of three trustees who won election to full 6-year terms in 2020.  Her term expires in 2026.  This is her second year on the Board of Education.

Trustee Adel Mozip was initially appointed to the board in April 2019.  He also won election to a full six-year seat in 2020, and his term will expire at the end of 2026.

Trustee Mary Petlichkoff also won reelection in 2020 and is scheduled to serve until the end of 2026. She has served on the board for 11 years. She was first elected in 2006 and served from 2007 to 2010.  She returned to the board after being elected again in November 2014.

Trustee Roxanne McDonald has served eight years on the board after being elected in November 2011. She did not serve in 2017 and 2018, but was reelected in November 2018.  Her current term expires at the end of 2024.

Trustee James Thorpe has served five years on the board after first being elected in November 2016 to a partial term.  He was reelected in November 2018 to a full term, which expires at the end of 2024.

Trustee Pat D’Ambrosio was the fourth candidate elected in 2020, winning a partial term on the board.  He took his seat with the board in December 2021, and his term ends in 2022.

Trustee Hussein Berry has served on the board for 10 years.  He initially served from 2010 to 2014 and was elected again in November 2016 to a term which lasts through 2022. 

The Dearborn Board of Education, and the hundreds like it across the state, preserve public education, a core of the United States democracy.  They ensure that decisions on school programming are made by people elected to represent the community’s values, culture and circumstances.  They are citizens whose decisions affect students and build the local community.