Board reorganizes, recognized for Board Appreciation Month

Members of the Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education pose on Jan. 10, 2024 after their annual reorganization meeting. Pictured from the left are Trustee Adel Mozip, Trustee Roxanne McDonald, Board Vice President Mary Petlichkoff, Board President Hussein Berry, Board Treasurer Pat D’Ambrosio, Board Secretary Irene Watts and Trustee Jim Thorpe.

As part of School Board Appreciation Month, Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko took time at the January 9, 2024 school board meeting to thank trustees for their service to the community and to recognize each trustee.

Over the past few years, school board members across the state and throughout the country have encountered an increased amount of attention as some school board meetings have been used as a stage for heated debate on state and national issues. This sometimes hostile attention has made the job of  school board trustees more difficult. During these turbulent times, school board members have had to remain focused on their primary role and responsibilities to develop policies and make tough decisions that shape the district now and in the future.  In Dearborn, board trustees are responsible for the third largest school district in Michigan with an enrollment of almost 20,000 students and more than 2,700 employees working in 37 district buildings.  The district has an annual regular budget of $407 million, which has swelled to $490 million with federal ESSER funding.

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 preschool to 12th grade students and the college.

The Board of Education began calendar year 2024 with an organizational meeting to select new officers. Those appointments include Hussein Berry as president, Mary Petlichkoff as vice president, Irene Watts as secretary, and Pat D’Ambrosio as treasurer.

Dr. Maleyko also thanked Trustee Jim Thorpe for his service as board president during 2023. Trustee Thorpe was presented with a ceremonial gavel in recognition of his time leading the school board. All trustees were presented with a special custom designed calendar featuring photos of students and staff participating in various events throughout the school year.  

Below is information about the Dearborn Public School trustees for 2024.

Trustees Hussein Berry and Pat D’Ambrosio both won reelection in November 2022 and are scheduled to serve through 2028.  Trustee Berry has served on the board for 12 years. He initially served from 2010 to 2014 and was elected again in November 2016 and has served since then. Trustee D’Ambrosio has served since December 2020 after initially being elected to a partial-term on the board.

Trustee Adel Mozip was initially appointed to the board in April 2019.  He was one of three trustees who won election to full six-year seats 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 13 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 Irene Watts was the third trustee elected to a full term in 2020.  Her term expires in 2026. She has served three years on the Board of Education.

Trustee Roxanne McDonald has served ten 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 seven 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.

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.