Board veteran named to vacant education seat

By CHRIS JACKETT
Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW – After Trustee Gary Face resigned May 5 for health reasons, the Riverview Community School District Board of Education needed someone to finish the last seven months of his term.

They found that someone to be former board member Paula Miller.

Miller, 50, served from 2002 to 2006 and brings a bevy of firsthand knowledge to the table.

“I thought it was a great experience. It was a great opportunity for me both personally and professionally,” she said of her first term. “It was nice to bring a health care perspective to an educational setting.”

Starting May 25, just one day after her interview for the position, Miller already is familiar with much that has happened in the district since her last term. She said she still keeps in touch with the board members she served alongside and also watches the meetings.

“The real reason I was interested in running and now running again was my love for education and my real passion about children. These are our future leaders,” Miller said. “It fit into my schedule. I figured, if I can give 150 percent, I would go ahead and apply and I did.”

Miller has lived in Riverview with her 21-year-old daughter for the past 14 years. Her daughter was in middle school when Miller started her first term. Now she’s a student at University of Detroit-Mercy.

Miller’s day job as marketing coordinator for occupational therapy at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit should be good experience for the board. She has worked in health care for the past 30 years, and her various experiences have helped her “think outside the box” to develop focus groups within the district that led to signage, communication (the district’s automated phone menu) and drug-tracking dogs in schools during her first term.

“What you see is what you get,” Miller said. “I feel I’m very fair and objective. I put what’s in the best interest of the kids first.

She was chairwoman of the policy committee for most of her first term, but also led the buildings and grounds committee and activities committee at some point and inherits leadership of the curriculum committee from Face. Though it’s one of the few she did not belong to during her previous term, she already has a few ideas as to what it can do.

“Because I’m in charge of curriculum right now, I want to review where we’ve come from and where we’re headed as a district,” Miller said, adding that balancing the budget is another immediate priority. “We need to be able to be fiscally responsible and protect our assets. It’s like a checkbook: You keep withdrawing and withdrawing and withdrawing and, pretty soon, you don’t have any money.”

Miller should have no problem working with her peers, since four of the other six board members worked with her during her first term. Treasurer Catherine Wells took over the position Miller vacated, and Trustee Amy Reeder is the next newest member.

Whether to return for another term after the current partial term ends Dec. 31 is a decision Miller still hasn’t made.

“I’m never going to say never,” she said. “I still have my campaign signs. I don’t know.”

The next board meeting is 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall’s Council Chambers, 14100 Civic Park Drive.

(Contact Chris Jackett at cjackett@bewickpublications.com)

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