By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education spent two days interviewing 19 candidates for the newly open board position at the Administration Building.
The board is searching for a new member after the June 30 resignation of Board President Aimee Schoelles. Schoelles resigned her position after working in the district for 15 years for a job opportunity with Dana Holding Corp. in Ohio.
The board indicated it hoped to have a decision on a new trustee by July 20 (results unavailable by press time).
Each of the 19 candidates were interviewed by Board President Roxanne McDonald for 15 minutes where they were asked five questions and could also make a closing statement.
On July 15, Hussein Berry, Buena Barr, L. Maria Saab, Mariam Baydoun, Chad Bronson, Ghinwah Karkaba, Adel Mozip, Anisa Sahoubah, Mary Olea and Irene Watts were first to be interviewed by the board.
Berry, a former trustee, was the first to be interviewed. Berry served one six-year on the board before runing for state representative in Michigan’s 9th House District.
“I am interested in the position again because I always love to be involved in the community,” he said. “Serving on the board was one of the best experiences in my life so far.”
Karkaba ran for a set on the board during last year’s election. She has served seven years on the Dearborn PTA Council Board and as a substitute teacher for the last two years in the district.
“My degree in communication will help me collaborate with other board members and the community,” she said. “I know the district very well and can contribute in multiple ways.”
Former Dearborn Heights District 7 Board of Education member Buena Barr said her experience on a school board was important.
“I have already served six years on a board of education so I know the ups and downs the position comes with,” she said. “Dearborn is unique because of its relationship with Henry Ford College.”
ACCESS director of youth and education since 2008, Sahoubah explained that her time with children makes her a strong candidate for the position.
“I help students focus on their education on a daily basis,” she said. “The program includes recognizing the needs of students and helping them accomplish their goals to become successful.”
The following day, Fadwa Alawieh, Thomas Wall, Kassem Allie, Pamela Adams, Michelle Audia, Jim Thorpe, Jack Rankin, Rodger Bartles and Mike Katona were on the hot seat in front of the board.
Candidate Robert Vogler sent the board a letter to withdraw his application, McDonald announced before the meeting on July 16.
Wall said his 20 years experience in central administration at the Woodhaven-Brownstown School District will help him serve on the board of education.
“I have worked in central officer and served on multiple boards,” he said. “I know how to collaborate and communicate with administrators and board members to better serve a community.”
As a retired DPS trustee, Adams said she is ready to step back in and help the district continue its success.
“I have 18 years of experience with the board and the community,” she said. “I know how functions of the district and am very familiar with the programs we offer.”
Board member was asked to make a list of their top picks to take to the July 20 special meeting at 6 p.m. at the Henry Ford College Administration Building, 5101 Evergreen Road.
The newly appointed board member will serve the remainder of Scholles’ term which expires at the end of 2016.
Board members also serve as the board for Henry Ford College.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)