By Megan Kelley
Late Nov. 3, results for several local elections were completed, including a slightly contentious race for Lake Orion Community School’s Board of Education, which ended in the election of Danielle Bresett and Susan Flaherty, as well as the re-election of incumbents Scott Taylor and Birgit McQuiston.
Overall, the election for the LOCS school board garnered 54,446 votes.
With four seats up for grabs and nine candidates, more than half were destined for disappointment.
Bresett received the fourth-highest amount of votes with 6,315.
As a former teacher, current private tutor and owner of The Academic Coaches, Bresett feels she has the proper experience in the education field.
“I bring knowledge and experience in the field of education. As a former classroom teacher and current private tutor, I will bring an educator’s perspective to the board,” Bresett said. “Using this knowledge, I will push for policies that are educationally sound for the students of Lake Orion.”
Bresett was one of the three candidates running for a seat on the board that were interviewed by the current LOCS Board of Education to fill a vacant seat that was ultimately given to LOCS board veteran Mary Jo Burchart.
“It is an immense honor to be selected by the voters to serve on the Board of Education. There were many strong candidates that were also running and to have earned the confidence and trust of the voters is a privilege,” Bresett said.
Another newcomer to the board is former business executive turned stay-at-home mom, Susan Flaherty, who received 6,328 votes.
“I am extremely humbled, honored, and excited to be elected by the community to serve as a member of the Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education. I understand and accept the significant responsibility the voters have entrusted in me, and can assure a high level of enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to represent their interests,” Flaherty said. “I’m looking forward to giving back to the community and contributing in a positive manner as soon as possible.”
Like Bresett, Flaherty was also interviewed by the board to fill a vacant seat in August, her business experience being what made her stand out the most.
“I have a successful, proven track record of managing and allocating multi-million-dollar annual budgets, streamlining processes to reduce costs, structuring and leading business negotiations, defining and standardizing policies, and creating and implementing strategies. My skills and experience align well with the school board’s responsibilities for managing the district’s funds and setting governing policies,” Flaherty said.
Coupled with the knowledge of being a parent to an elementary student in the district, Flaherty believes she can bring the perspective of an elementary school parent to the board.
“Throughout my term, I will be committed to representing the voice of the community, promoting an open communication environment with all stakeholders and fostering a collaborative partnership with full transparency, accountability and accessibility,” Flaherty said.
Earning re-election was Scott Taylor, who has been on the LOCS school board since 2014. During that time he’s held the office of president, vice president and trustee.
“A race with nine candidates is a ton of work and lots of time away from family and friends. There was a strong pool of competitors and I am very humbled and thankful to be re-elected and for the voters of the Lake Orion school district to put their trust in me for four more years,” Taylor said. “I would like to thank my wife, Jen, and my daughters, Natalee and Evelyn; I could not have dedicated the time and effort to the campaign process as well as board duties without their support and understanding. Thank you, ladies.”
Taylor received the most amount of votes with 8,720.
“Top vote-getter is flattering but not as important to me as welcoming the new board members and getting them acclimated to the processes and procedures that we follow as a board. These are difficult times and we need to hit the ground running,” said Taylor. “The accomplishments that this board has seen in the past four years is incredible and I feel honored to have been part of that board and ramping up with the new board members.”
Also winning re-election this cycle was Birgit McQuiston with 6,810 votes.
McQuiston has been a member of the LOCS Board of Education since 2011 and in recent years has held the offices of President and Vice President. She has also earned her level three certification from the Michigan Association of School Boards.
The term for all four elected candidates will begin in January of 2021.