KALAMAZOO, MI — From former Kalamazoo mayor Bobby Hopewell to organizations like Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, community leaders and groups are endorsing candidates in the run for Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education.
Incumbents Patti Sholler-Barber, TiAnna Harrison and Jason Morris are campaigning for another six-year term on the seven-member board while Marshall Kilgore and Megan Maddock are trying to win two of those seats in the Nov. 3 general election.
Voters will also decide a two-year partial term on the school board. Incumbent Ken Greschak is running unopposed for that seat.
The three incumbents are campaigning together, with many yard signs and mailers encouraging residents to “vote for experience.”
Sholler-Barber, 71, was first elected to the school board in 2006 and currently serves as president. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and certifications from WMU.
Harrison, 43, first joined the school board as a 2014 appointment and is currently serving as vice president. She is a graduate of the district and Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She also attended Western Michigan University (WMU).
Morris, 43, was appointed in 2018 to fill the remaining term of Trustee Lauren Freedman, who resigned because she was leaving the state. He works at the Bureau of Finance and Accounting Overpayment Verification. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from WMU and a marketing/Spanish high school diploma from Loy Norrix High School.
Former Kalamazoo mayor Bobby Hopewell endorsed Sholler-Barber, Harrison and Morris together.
“These are three amazing people who care so much about our children, our educators and our schools,” Hopewell wrote in a Facebook post. “I can’t begin to tell you all of the hard work they’ve done together to help our children to achieve success in their lives as they take on the promise of Kalamazoo. I support these three individuals because of their experience, their integrity, their history with our district and results.”
Sholler-Barber lists other endorsements on her website, including longtime KPS Superintendent Michael Rice who is now Michigan’s state superintendent and current local school board members Jennie Hill and Jermaine Jackson. She is also endorsed by Von Washington, executive director of community relations for The Kalamazoo Promise, state Sen. Sean McCann, D-Kalamazoo, and Kalamazoo City Commissioner Chris Praedel.
Rice also endorsed Harrison and Morris, Harrison said.
The three incumbents were also jointly endorsed by UAW Local 2150, which is the union representing assistant principals at KPS.
The list of endorsements for Morris also includes current board members Jermaine Jackson and Jennie Hill, Angee McCormick, the president of the KPS Supply Closet and Diana Walker, vice president of the Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools Board of Education.
Two newcomers, who are both endorsed by the state teachers union and LGBTQ advocate organizations, are looking to bring a new perspective to the board.
Kilgore, 21, is the director of advocacy at OutFront Kalamazoo. He said he will earn a bachelor’s degree in 2021.
His endorsements include the Michigan Education Association and Kalamazoo Education Association, the LGBTQ Victory Fund, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan and state Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, who is himself a candidate in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District. Kilgore is also endorsed by Kalamazoo County Commissioner Jen Aniano, Kalamazoo Township Trustee Jen Strebs, the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party and Uplift Kalamazoo, an organization fighting systemic racism and uplifting the Black community in Kalamazoo.
Hoadley encouraged voters to support Kilgore’s campaign in a Facebook endorsement.
“Marshall’s commitment to equity, education and leveling the playing field is exactly the type of leader that students, parents and teachers deserve,” Hoadley said.
Maddock, 29, is a special education teacher at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home. She has a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in special education and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in special education administration.
She is endorsed by the Kalamazoo County Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, Western Michigan University college Democrats, the Michigan Education Association and Advocating for KPS LGBTQ+ Students, a group of parents, staff, and allies of LGBTQ+ students attending KPS. Her list of endorsements also includes current KPS board member Tandy Moore, Kalamazoo City Commissioner Chris Praedel and Kalamazoo County Commissioners Stephanie Moore, Tracy Hall, Jen Aniano and Zac Bauer.
See here to read more about the candidates and hear from them on important topics including coronavirus and community involvement.
Another candidate that was seeking to upset an incumbent, Brionne Fonville, announced she was ending her campaign Wednesday, Sept. 23.
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