By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education will have two new faces on the board following the upcoming Nov. 8 election.
Hussein Berry, Khodr Farhat, Fadwa Hammoud and Adel Mozip are the four candidates in the running for two six-year terms available on the board. The terms runs through December 2022.
The openings come after the terms of Joseph Guido, Roxanne McDonald and Hammoud are set to expire Dec. 31.
Hammoud currently serves on the board of education after being selected to fill the spot of former board President Aimee Schoelles in July 2015.
Hammoud lives in Dearborn where she raises her two children. Hammoud earned her law degree from Wayne State University and works as a Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney.
The biggest issues she sees within the district include bringing more programs to schools and expanding the district’s partnerships.
“During my time on the board, we worked very hard to bring exciting opportunities to students at all levels of education,” she said. “One of the most recent accomplishments I was able to be a part of is the four-year culinary arts degree program at Henry Ford College. This is the start of giving students affordable options for higher education.”
Hammoud believes that she should have the vote from residents because during her time on the board she has proven to be compassionate while maintaining the obligation of fiscal responsibility to taxpayers.
“My heart is here and I feel a responsibility to every child and citizen of this city,” she said. “I will continue to research every issue, remain accessible, transparent and focused on making Dearborn the best place for education.”
Mozip is a longtime Dearborn resident and product of DPS who is married with two children.
He serves as a Sheba4Tech software developer after earning a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Michigan-Dearborn and Master of Business from WSU.
His top three priorities for the district are increasing student achievement while closing the achievement gap, enhancing teachers and staff compensation benefits and improving college readiness for high school students.
“The district should expand its focus on the teachers and staff because they make a huge impact on student success by incentivising those who teach and work in Dearborn Schools and the Henry Ford College,” he said. “College readiness can be achieved by making sure students are introduced to higher education opportunities in their early education while periodically meeting with them and their families to make sure they’re en route to succeeding in college or vocational schools.”
Mozip is asking Dearborn residents for their vote because he believes he is the most qualified candidate to serve the community.
“I have a decade of activism in the education realm in the Dearborn community, business experience, and two higher education degrees to serve on the School Board,” he said. “It’s very important that we have qualified school board trustees who can make the right choices for our children.”
The third candidate for a spot on the board is Farhat, born blind in Beirut before migrating to America seven years ago.
He learned the English language from scratch, graduated high school and Henry Ford College. Farhat is working toward earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UM-D.
He cited improving the low rate of parent involvement and English as a Second Language programs as the district’s biggest areas of need.
“If I get elected, I will work on increasing the parents’ involvement because teachers cannot achieve everything on their own,” he said. “Some parents are not aware of the various means out there of how to become active, it is my job to guide them toward the right path. I will empower and work on creating stronger ESL programs to ensure that all of our students have the same exact performance and access.”
Farhat said his fighter mentality and the challenges he’s faced as a blind man and immigrant are two of the reasons why he thinks voters should select him in November.
“I have been heavily involved for the past six years in the community,” he said. “Dearborn needs someone who feels with people. People deserve someone like me who touches on unique concerns and sensitive issues.”
Berry works in real estate sales in the Dearborn and Dearborn Heights area and earned his education from HFC and WSU.
He previously served as a DPS trustee for five years, which included a stint as president.
Berry did not respond to the questionnaire by press time.
Dearborn residents Faize El-Khalil and Jim Thorpe also will be vying for a seat on the board for a partial two-year term that ends in December 2018.
El-Khalil earned his education from UM-D and has 15 years of experience in accounting and strategic planning.
Thorpe attended Michigan State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree and is currently a certified financial planner.
Both El-Khalil and Thrope did not respond to the questionnaire by press time.
The general election takes place Nov. 8. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)