Riverview trustees to interview 4 candidates for board vacancy tonight

Elizabeth Ashley

Elizabeth Ashley

New trustee may be chosen at meeting

By ANGELA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW — Riverview Community Schools trustees will interview four candidates interested in the vacancy on the school board at 7 p.m. Jan. 23, and select a new trustee.

The board also will discuss the evaluation of Supt. Russell Pickell in a closed session during the meeting, which will be at Riverview Schools central office, 13425 Colvin.

The four candidates are Elizabeth Ashley, Andrew Enderich, Michele Lopez and Sheila Walker. The vacancy was created when Shawn Filkins resigned for personal reasons at the end of 2016.

Ashley, 35, is married and has two children in Riverview elementary schools. She is working on her master’s degree in Nursing Science, and works as an assistant clinical manager at a local emergency department.

“One thing I loved about Filkins was if you emailed him, he responded,” Ashley said. “If I had someone call or email me at work and I ignored it, I wouldn’t have a job. The board should be accessible to, and responsive to the public. I may not always have the answer, but I can certainly find out what it is.

“I want to take a hard look at schools like Livonia’s, that is No. 1 in the state, and find out what it is they’re doing right. That’s where I want us to be.”

Andrew Enderich

Andrew Enderich

Enderich, 25, is married with three young children, and has lived in Riverview since he was 3. He is an alumnus of Riverview Community High School and Henry Ford College in Dearborn with degrees in Industrial Drafting and Computer Computer-Aided Design. He designs headlamps for Ford Motor Co.

He credits Riverview schools for providing the foundation for the launch of his career.

“Riverview is hot on science and engineering,” Edenrich said. “I’m a positive example of someone who went through these courses and is doing very well as a result. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity. I believe I offer a unique perspective. I’m a lifelong resident of Riverview and I have the community at heart — what’s best for all of us.

“I was surprised to see so much competition for the chair. There usually hasn’t been any competition in the school board elections here, but now there’s four contending for one spot. It’s interesting,”

Lopez and Walker could not be reached for comment by publication time.

Riverview School Board meetings have been nearly standing room only as of late, as a proposal to investigate the pros and cons of elementary school realignment inches closer to its reveal stage.

“The realignment issue is the biggest concern right now for parents,” Ashley said.

Enderich and Ashley said they have researched the realignment matter. For Ashley, the research fueled her desire to take part in the board.

“I always ask questions — which often gets me in trouble — but you need to look at every angle before making a critical decision. I didn’t like our data when I looked it up.

“Our best elementary school is in the 600s out of 1,500 elementaries. That was very sobering to see. We need to improve. But I don’t see realignment supporting that. Perhaps the presentation will bring something to light I haven’t seen. If that happens, great, but if not, I’m not going to be quiet about it. I want to help bring those numbers up.”

“I have a lot of questions,” Enderich said, “but I’m waiting for the presentation of what the committee has found. If the positives outweigh the negatives that I currently see, then I’ll take that. My mind is open, but there are a lot of questions.”

Once the interviews are concluded, the board is expected to select one of the candidates to fill the vacancy. The session will be closed while Pickell’s evaluation is conducted, then reconvened upon completion.

(Contact Angela Nims at angelanims007@gmail.com.)