Five people are vying for three seats on Northville's school board in the November election and Northville Patch is bringing you Q&A profiles with each of the candidates.
We asked the candidates about why they want to be on the board of education, their backgrounds, what they consider the biggest areas for improvement and more.
Below are the replies of Northville Township resident Michael Barrett, who is a retired educator and coach.
Michael (Mickey) Barrett
Q: Number of years a resident of Northville school district?
Q: Number of children, if any, in Northville Public Schools?
Q: What prompted you to run for a seat on Northville's school board?
I have worked with young people my entire life through education, coaching, mentoring. Being semi-retired I now have the time to help all the young people in our district. Our brand is very well respected and I want to help continue the excellence. Northville is a magnificent community and a strong school district ensures a strong community.
Q: What kinds of experiences – professional, educational or otherwise – make you an unique and qualified candidate?
I have been in many professions – construction (working with many different unions), education (taught middle school math and PE), owned and operated two separate companies, coached basketball on all levels for 37 years (JV, V and Division 1 college men and women), organized Olympic-style sports festival in Ohio, created and developed athletic department for WCCCD, member of Executive Board for Athletic Directors, developed academic study sessions for student-athletes, mentored and counseled parents and students as they transition into the business world or continued on into athletics.
Besides the above experience, which is vast, I will bring an objective view point to all the tough decisions that await the board this year.
Q: What new ideas do you hope to bring to the table?
How to develop new revenue streams, being creative to help supplement costs for extracurricular activities to free up the general budget.
Q: What do you foresee as the biggest issue for Northville Public Schools in the coming school year? How would you address those issues, if elected?
The new legislation that may reduce funding to school districts. We must have a plan in place to offset these cuts if they are implemented. As mentioned above we will need to become very creative and flexible. One other area would be student retention form level to level. We need to engage all the elementary and middle school students so that they want to matriculate through the Northville school system.
Q: What do you regard as the district's successes? How would you continue or improve upon these areas, if elected?
The science programs have won many State and National Awards especially at Amerman Elementary School. These programs need more notoriety and carry it on through the middle and high school. If we can streamline costs and create revenue in other extracurriculars, we can promote more interest in all our programs.
Q: Around the country, state and in Northville, school budgets continue to be an issue districts grapple with. What areas of the budget would be your biggest priority, if elected? Where do you see the most room for cuts, if needed?
Salaries for everyone in the district, administrators and teachers. We need to become more commensurate with other districts of similar size and quality. We cannot keep cutting teacher head count – we need to keep our ratios down. We should try and make cuts in other areas. Outsourcing of services, the board has already outsourced janitorial and busing services which is a good start. The Energy Manager is doing a good job of analyzing areas of waste and making cuts to save costs. Continued analysis in the cost of maintaining the buildings and educating all administrators and teachers on efficiency, turning off lights, keeping doors and windows closed or open where necessary are just a few ideas.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
This is an incredible community and we need to continue to enhance the school district. The Central Office Leadership Team has a very good grasp of what needs to be accomplished to maintain an exemplary school district. I will bring a common sense approach to the board. Using all my experiences in many different areas of life I will be able to use that knowledge to compliment those board members already in place. Since I am semi-retired I will have the time to assist the Superintendant and her staff as well as the board in daily matters.
The young people of our district must become college or career ready and it is the boards mandate to ensure this.