By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education selected Fadwa Alawieh as its new board member during a special meeting July 20, filling the vacancy created when Aimee Schoelles resigned June 30.
Alawieh earned the seat over 18 other candidates who interviewed for the position July 15 and 16 in front of the board.
Each of the current board members presented their top choice from the applicants with Mariam Bazzi, Mary Lane and Michael Meade having Alawieh as their top selection.
Former Trustee Hussein Berry was suggested by Trustee Roxanne McDonald as her top choice with Trustees Joe Guido and Mary Petlichkoff selecting former Trustee Pamela Adams.
The board ultimately voted 5-1 in favor of Alawieh with Petlichkoff opposing.
Alawieh works as the Wayne County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and serves on the board at the Islamic Center of America. She is also a board member for the Government BAR Association and volunteer attorney for the Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan.
Alawieh is a Dearborn resident and 2003 Fordson High School graduate. She earned her bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan-Dearborn and her law degree from Wayne State University.
“I am excited and honored that the board believed in me enough to select me for the position,” she said. “Helping the community has always been one of my passions for as long as I can remember.”
Alawieh also helped campaign for the district’s SMART Bond referendum and Henry Ford College’s millage proposal.
Bazzi said she believed Alawieh was a good fit because she was well-rounded and had all the right qualifications for the position.
“She knows the community, works with organizations and serves on multiple boards,” Bazzi said. “Those qualifications are part of the basic needs required to serve on the board.”
Schoelles’ letter of recommendation praised Alawieh’s ability to serve on the board.
“She maintains her composure and actively listens to all sides before rendering her opinion,” Schoelles wrote. “She is thoughtful in her deliberations and very aware of how her actions affect other people.
“Over the years, I have had many conversations with Fadwa about education. I know when you speak to her you will see the same thing I do. Her passion for education is genuine. Her goal is not politics but kids.”
Alawieh’s appointment takes effect immediately upon completion of all necessary documents and submitting that information to the state.
Her term will expire in November 2016. An election will be held that month to elect a trustee to finish the remainder of Schoelles’ term, which ends Dec. 31, 2018.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity and promise to serve the students and parents of the district to the best of my ability,” Alawieh said. “Growing up in Dearborn makes serving on the board that much more special.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)