Orion Twp., village and school board candidate guide

Orion Township Trustee Candidates

Brian Birney

Age: 39

Political party: Republican

Political experience: Orion Township Trustee 2016 – Present, Elections Commission 2016 – Present

Occupation: Owner – The Birney Directive and Lake Orion’s American Summer.

Community involvement: Active member of the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce, serving as President for two consecutive terms. Youth sports coach for 8 years including OOSL and NFL Flag Football.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the township?

Safety and security is and will always be my number one priority. We must continue to build and enhance the Fire Department and our relationship with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department and Lake Orion Police Department.

The balance of urban and rural living. We all enjoy new restaurants, stores and attractions, but not at the expense of why Lake Orion is such an appealing place to live. We need to work with and embrace new businesses, but find the balance of where they develop and how it impacts our community.

Innovation. We have an extremely unique community that should be taking advantage of it’s resources, while benefiting the residents and businesses. We should encourage new events and gatherings like Lake Orion’s American Summer, which I’m the Founder of. We need to continue to embrace our culture and make Lake Orion better than it’s ever been in a responsible, manageable way.

How important is it to listen to residents and address their concerns?

Our residents elected us to be here and to be their voice. The elected officials must always remember this and take it into consideration in every decision we make. We must be strong and resolute, not caving or wavering because of criticism.

What is an important trait/characteristic that you bring to the board and Orion residents?

Proven Success.

I was President of the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce (two consecutive term) as well as President and Chief Marketing Officer of my own business, The Birney Directive.

During my term as President of the Chamber, we implemented a five-year plan, exceeding or accomplishing most of the goals in year two.

The Birney Directive continues to be successful, serving numerous local businesses in multiple industries, as well as contributing services to local non-profits and community organizations.

I was selected as a member of the 2016 Elite 40 Under 40 class, which recognizes 40 professionals and thought leaders who live or work in Oakland County. The honorees have achieved excellence and contributed to the quality of life in their communities.

I’m a proud United States Marine Corps Veteran. While serving overseas, I won Marine of the Quarter, which was the second time I received this designation.


Julia Dalrymple

Age: 39

Political party: Republican

Political experience: Current Orion Township Trustee 2018 – present

Occupation: Lake Orion High School Marketing Education Educator, DECA Advisor (co-curricular high school marketing organization) Dragon’s Den Store Advisor, Work Based Learning Coordinator and Mommy to 3 small children

Community involvement: Forgotten Harvest Volunteer, Miracle Field Volunteer, Kaboom! Playground builder, HOA Treasurer, Parks and Safety Path Enthusiast, spectator at every LOHS sports event

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the township?

To me the most important issue would be to continue to plan and prepare to provide the best services for our residents. One example is preparing to provide ALS (Advanced Life Support) with our Lake Orion Fire Department. I also want to continue to improve and provide amenities that keep our property values high- like park improvements and more safety path connections using our master plan and resident input.

How important is it to listen to residents and address their concerns?

Listening is the number one job of an elected official! At the grocery store, the playground , the school pick up line– I am always willing and ready to listen. Not every decision I make is a popular one on the Board, but I weigh the facts and make the best decisions I can for our residents. Just as I listen to all my students in my classroom, everyone needs to have their opinion heard and valued. I love the old saying, “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.”

What is an important trait/characteristic that you bring to the board and Orion residents?

I believe I am a great listener and independent thinker. I’m always willing to jump in and tackle problems independent of the board to help our residents. I’m not afraid to work hard and I’m willing to go the extra mile for our residents.


Cheyenne Dwyer

Democratic candidate Cheyenne Dwyer did not respond.


Michael Flood Jr.

Age: 71

Political party: Republican

Political experience: Orion Twp. Board of Trustees, 2011-Present

Occupation: Retired 40 yrs. GM Truck-Pontiac, Skilled Trades Journeyman

Community involvement: Life-long community involved resident. Starting as a youth, member Cub Scouts Pack 59 and Boy Scouts Troop 59. Served 10-yrs. volunteer firefighter Orion Township Fire Department-Station #3, nine-term elected president Gingellville Community Center and numerous township voluntary citizen’s advisory committees.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the township?

The top issues facing our diversified Lake Orion/Orion township community include public safety, preserving our public open spaces, natural resources and managing the budget. Especially during this horrific COVID-19 pandemic we find ourselves experiencing.

It is crucial that our township first responders, police and fire, have the necessary funding and resources to continue to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of all Orion residents as well, the general public.

Continue being proactive preserving and maintaining our township parks, trails and safety pathways. Good stewards protecting our natural resources, air, lakes, streams and land through education and proper collection and disposal of household solid waste and recyclable products as well, household hazardous waste materials.

How important is it to listen to residents and address their concerns?

Communication is the most important skill for a public servant. Constituents want to be heard and share their thoughts/concerns, whether it be pro or con, with their respective local grassroots elected/appointed officials.

We may not always totally agree on a subject matter, however, it is incumbent that their respective viewpoint be taken seriously and be considered during the public Board deliberation and consensus decision making process.

Throughout my own personal life and career experience, I have tried my absolute best to adhere to my late mother’s family value teachings, “please listen before you speak”.

What is an important trait/characteristic that you bring to the Board and Orion residents?

The valuable experience of serving as a member of the Boy Scouts of America has influenced my whole life experience. As well, community upbringing and service; The Boy Scout Oath – Honor, Duty, God and Country. Motto, “Be Prepared”. Scouting Law, Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, etc.

These are the same values and virtues I bring to the Board serving as a trustee and the additional responsible leadership role to serve our great Lake Orion/Orion township community.

I am asking for your continued support for the future of Orion township.


Eileen Nolton

Age: 55

Political party: Democratic Party

Political experience: long-time activist and first-time candidate.

Occupation: Educator

Community involvement: I have actively been involved in many initiatives and outreach activities throughout the community:

• Elks Club, helping serve breakfast to homeless veterans.

• I have organized food collection drives for the Orion Center.

• Served as the current secretary of the North Oakland Democratic Club.

• I organized a donation drive to help provide economic relief for UAW striking members in October 2019.

• Helped organize a “Community Conversation on Race” which featured a frank discussion about how our community can do better in the areas of policing, education, and in ensuring we champion diversity.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the township?

Now more than ever, we need leadership that welcomes diversity of thought and ideology on the Orion Board of Trustees. The board needs a trustee that understands our community’s evolving social, racial, and economic diversity. All of our residents should feel welcomed, valued, and fully represented. That starts with bold leadership. One that encourages a team of trustees from more than a single political party with the same political point of view.

Also, it’s essential that we take a more thoughtful, measured approach to development. Our area boasts some of the most beautiful green spaces in the county, and strategic plans must balance development with the preservation of natural spaces, parks, and the protection of our environment. As a trustee, I’ll prioritize stewardship with sensibly increasing revenue and fiscal responsibility.

How important is it to listen to residents and address their concerns?

The importance of listening to residents and addressing their concerns is one of the main reasons I decided to run for Orion Township Trustee. I care deeply about our community and the people who live here. As a trustee, I promise to be accessible and accountable to our residents. I will give a voice to all people in Orion Township. Our board should not consist only of individuals who believe that political affiliation or “connections” entitle them to local government positions and control. We must be transparent and work in partnership with all of our citizens – not contribute to the growing alienation many residents express. Orion Township will continue to attract an increasingly diverse population, and as a trustee, I will champion inclusivity, transparency, and innovative ideas.

What is an important trait/characteristic that you bring to the board and Orion residents?

As an educator, I am an experienced leader, a good listener, and an excellent problem solver. Teaching is a reflection of my strong belief in community service. My professional experience embodies the attributes of an effective trustee.


Kimberly Urbanowski

Age: 49

Political party: Republican

Political experience: none

Occupation: self-employed; Urban Gourmet Lake Orion

Community involvement: I am currently a member of the Orion Township Planning Commission and Treasurer of Student Accounts for the Lake Orion Band Boosters.

Projects I’ve worked on in Orion Township include fundraising for the Miracle League Field through volunteering at LO Palooza, and volunteering for the KABOOM playground build at Camp Agawam from grant acquisition through feeding the crowd on “build day.”

I was also part of the team that created the vision and content for Orion Living magazine.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the township?

As Executive Director of the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce, I was told hundreds of times by our local businesses that one of the main reasons they joined the Chamber was to become more involved in the community.

Our children’s sports teams, non-profit organizations that work toward improving the quality of life of our residents and various other programs rely on the generosity of these businesses, both financially and through volunteerism.

We have already seen a decline in funding through sponsorships because of the uncertain economic times stemming from the COVID pandemic.

I owned specialty food market in Orion from 2007 through 2009 and had to shut my doors due to the recession. I have a unique perspective on the damaging effects of businesses not surviving an economic crisis, and how that affects the community as a whole.

We have a unique business climate in Orion in that many of our local businesses are owned and operated by people who live here, and they hire employees from within the community.

Supporting our existing small businesses and continuing to foster a positive environment for new ones to open is essential to the survival of our local economy and the community programs that make Orion the best place to live in Oakland County.

How important is it to listen to residents and address their concerns?

Listening to residents is essential. Addressing their needs, goals and challenges is equally important.

Serving the community with integrity begins with meaningful conversations and works towards collaborative problem solving.

What is an important trait/characteristic that you bring to the board and Orion residents?

I am highly accessible and enjoy making genuine connections with my fellow Orion residents.

Whether volunteering for concessions at a football game or attending events like LO Palooza or Dragon on the Lake, I have always made it a point to talk with my neighbors about what’s going on with their families, their businesses and in their own volunteer work.

 

 

Lake Orion Village Council Candidates

Michael J. Lamb, P.E.

Age: 61

Political experience: Seven years engineer for Oakland County Drain Commissioner, 30-plus years in residential land development and engineering.

Occupation: Civil Engineer, Residential Builder, Real Estate Broker

Community involvement: Resident of Village, Constructed new homes in Village, voiced opinions on issues to Village Administration.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the village?

The most important issue I see confronting the village is the financial ability to maintain the existing infrastructure. Where the money is going to come from to maintain the local roads is the primary example. My understanding is the money will come from special assessments against the local properties on the roads. I do not see how waiting for the roads to disintegrate and then hoping the residents will request a Special Assessment District to replace them will work. With my 30-plus years in land development and construction I am well versed to address these issues.

How important is it to listen to residents’ and represent their concerns when making decisions?

The residents are the most important voice in the village. This country has risen to the point where all adults in a community have the right to vote and voice their opinion. The voters in the majority get their way under the framework of our constitution and laws. Taxpayers are the next in line to have their opinions heard, as many of the commercial properties in the village are not resident owned so they do not have a voice in the voting part of our decision making. Their voices have to be heard as they contribute to supporting the community.

Lake Orion has a downtown with many small, family and individually owned businesses. As a councilmember, what measures would you take to support all of the downtown businesses?

I believe that all property owners should be supported and represented in the community fairly regardless of size. I would support and encourage all business that benefits the community. Business that does not benefit the community I would support as dictated by law. With the current hard times I will continue to support our local restaurants and business to keep them operating.


Sarah H. Luchsinger

Age: 33

Political experience: BA in Political Science, Pre-Law

Occupation: Small Business Owner

Community involvement: I am the owner of Sarah’s Bath Boutique in downtown Lake Orion, and as a business owner, I have had the opportunity to be very involved in our community. My involvement includes, but is not limited to: participating in events in downtown, including both as a small business owner and as a resident (I had the privilege of being “Captain Marvel” in the Lighted Parade last winter), providing charitable donations to local organizations and helping promote downtown businesses through videos and social media.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the village?

Communication and promoting our village. Prior to opening my shop, I practiced law and worked as a project manager for a national healthcare corporation. Through my experiences, I have learned that communication is the cornerstone for any relationship, regardless whether it is between client and professional, colleagues, or any group of people working towards a common goal. Simply put, there absolutely needs to be communication in order to understand different perspectives of a situation so that those involved will be, and feel, represented.

The Village of Lake Orion has a lot to offer. Our downtown is quaint, has a variety of shops, restaurants, and professional services. Our parks and trails are great places to play, exercise, and meet friends. That said, we lack parking and public restrooms, which inhibits promoting and economic growth. This is something that I will address if elected.

How important is it to listen to residents’ and represent their concerns when making decisions?

Pursuant to MCL § 65.1, “[t]he legislative authority of villages shall be vested in the council.” In a nutshell, the village council makes many decisions that directly affect residents and businesses. Therefore, it is essential that a council member seeks the perspectives, opinions and concerns of a variety of members from each of those groups. In addition, they should stay up to date on current events in order to anticipate the potential impact on the community.

Lake Orion has a downtown with many small, family and individually owned businesses. As a councilmember, what measures would you take to support all of the downtown businesses?

Local businesses help fundraise for and support local charities, schools, events, etc. Encouraging businesses to work together to promote our village and each other helps encourage people to come downtown and increases morale.

I witnessed this in July when I filmed a short promotional video for social media. I, along with the other participating businesses, had a great time filming and enjoyed the opportunity to promote downtown and our businesses. We also got to know each other.


Brad Mathisen

Age: 52

Political experience: Village councilmember since 2013

Occupation: Building Trades, Estimator, Maintenance

Community involvement: Former volunteer Orion/Oxford Boys and Girls Club, Master Plan Steering Committee, Parking Ad Hoc Committee

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the village?

I consider infrastructure (water mains, sewers/lift stations, streets, parks/bridges) and budget (keeping tax rates as low as possible while providing needed services) to be the most important issues confronting the village, especially now during the Covid-19 crisis.

How important is it to listen to residents’ and represent their concerns when making decisions?

I think it is very important to listen to residents and represent their concerns as the decisions of council have an impact on not just individual residents but the village as a whole.

Lake Orion has a downtown with many small, family and individually owned businesses. As a councilmember, what measures would you take to support all of the downtown businesses?

I would support all of the downtown businesses by stopping by each business a couple of times a month to get their input as to what council is doing right and what we could improve on. Encourage business owners to feel free to contact me via email anytime with concerns.


Jerry L. Narsh

Age: 61

Political Experience: Presently an appointed Village Council member as a result of a vacancy

Occupation: Retired Lake Orion Police Chief, after 38 years at LOPD. Current Chief of Police for Holly Police Department.

Community Involvement: I have lived in the Lake Orion area since 1978 and moved into the village in 1990. As an officer with LOPD and chief from 2001 to 2019 I have spent my entire adult life in the community. During my time with LOPD my dream and vision was to create a police department that was involved with every segment of our community, residents, business owners and visitors, but specifically our veterans, our children and youth and senior citizens.

Listening and learning what the needs are and then creating programs to not just meet needs, but define how a department should exceed them. My passion has been to involve myself everywhere where I and the officers can help create and keep the peace and prosperity our community deserves. Kids & Kops, Shop with a Hero, Cops who Care and other outreach programs are just a part of that vision.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the village?

We are blessed to have a historic and quiet residential district, vibrant and perfectly situated Downtown District and an all sports lake. Our issues are to keep and maintain exceptional personal service with police, DPW and administration that is listening and responding in a fiscally responsible way. With COVID-19, we are as affected as all communities and therefore must strive to compete for federal, state and local dollars to support operations and plan for long term improvements to village streets, update our sewer lift stations and improve public spaces and parks. Helping seniors to stay in place and become a more walkable, bike friendly and all-inclusive community.

How important is it to listen to residents’ and represent their concerns when making decisions?

My life has been listening and helping resolve conflict and needs. I have always tried to be completely honest with everyone, even when the answer is not what they want to hear. I value new voices, ideas and direction if they benefit our goals and objectives. Truthfulness and trust can only be obtained and maintained with each resident need and response. We must be truth and solution oriented even when the problem requires difficult decisions, but with openness and honesty, they can be resolved, defended and accepted.

Lake Orion has a downtown with many small, family and individually owned businesses. As a councilmember, what measures would you take to support all of the downtown businesses?

Local business is the backbone of the American economy. The majority of jobs and investment are from small, local business. Corporate America does not greet you at the door, support local charity and causes or provide the unique charm we possess in our business district.

I will support them by listening, shopping and providing real solutions to cut red tape. Creating Social Districts to fight COVID and spur business, help with marketing our LO Advantages and assisting business in securing grants, loans and tax relief when necessary to improve the entire community. A safe community is where people want to live and shop. We have that, we MUST keep that.


Kenneth W. Van Portfliet

Age: 65

Political experience: Village governance for 20 years including: Village Council, Planning Commission, Downtown Development Authority board, Board of Zoning Appeals, Southeast Council Michigan of Governments (SEMCOG).

Occupation: Construction Project Manager/Marketing

Community involvement: Liaison to state and county authorities. Have provided support and communication for residents and charitable organizations.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the village?

Fiscal responsibility and finding funding to reduce taxpayer burden. We have some high cost infrastructure projects such as replacing pump stations, roads and pedestrian bridges.

Commercial and residential growth has begun to reshape us. And we need your opinion to help us know how to navigate growth while maintaining the familiar people-based charm that has drawn so many here to our community

How important is it to listen to residents’ and represent their concerns when making decisions?

Highly important.

We try to be creative to improve response to opinion surveys, and to engage citizen involvement.There are many opportunities to hear your concerns. Contact me directly, reach out to village administrative offices or contact the DDA. We work together as a team.

Lake Orion has a downtown with many small, family and individually owned businesses. As a councilmember, what measures would you take to support all of the downtown businesses?

I would encourage businesses to contact our administration office or me for consultation. I can draw on historical experience and a well-developed network of resources to find solutions that are acceptable and readily agreeable to the community at large.

Our council worked hard to provide creative tools to support business health during these times. Go downtown. Look around. It’s vibrant.


Leigh Stephen Wilson

Age: 49

Political experience: None

Occupation: Para Educator in Lake Orion Community Schools

Community involvement: I’ve spent the past eight-an-a-half years working for LOCS, and have lived in Lake Orion for the past 40 years. I’m a second-generation Dragon, my daughter graduated from Lake Orion in 2017, and my son will graduate in 2021. While my daughter was in high school, I was very involved with the Lake Orion Marching Band, usually volunteering 12-18 hours each week during marching season. My father and grandmother were both involved in local politics, and I’d like to continue my community involvement by working with the other council members.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the village?

I think right now, Lake Orion is in a period of tremendous growth. It’s a wonderful thing to see, but in order for continued successful growth, there needs to be sufficient infrastructure to support it. I feel that adequate parking in the downtown area needs to be addressed, both for cars and boats, as people enjoying the lake are beginning to consider enjoying the village as part of their time in Lake Orion. Other things that I hear frequent complaints about are the amount of police presence on Lake Orion, (mostly that there should be more presence at night and during busier times), and the lack of sufficient regulation for short term rental, Airbnb-type homes in the village and on the lake. I believe that making changes in all of these areas will increase enjoyment of the village and its amenities for all.

How important is it to listen to residents’ and represent their concerns when making decisions?

It’s very important. Residents should always be able to have input into decisions about village issues, and their input should always be considered as part of any decision. Decisions made should represent the best interests of the village, which hopefully will align with residents’ concerns.

Lake Orion has a downtown with many small, family and individually owned businesses. As a council member, what measures would you take to support all of the downtown businesses?

I believe that infrastructure is fundamentally important to the support of all local businesses. Ensuring that sufficient parking is available will help all businesses thrive, regardless of what time of day the majority of their business takes place. I will continue to frequent all the businesses in the village. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors, and find new sources for items and services we all need and enjoy. Additionally, I think that the events put on by the DDA and the village are a great way to encourage all Orion residents to come out and see what’s available in the village.

 

 

LOCS School Board Candidates

 


Danielle Bresett

Age: 45

Occupation: Private Tutor & Owner of The Academic Coaches

Community/school involvement (i.e. PTO, Boosters, etc.): Board Member for The Daisy Project of Michigan, Numerous Hours of Volunteering and Fundraising for Blanche Sims Elementary and Oakview Middle School

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the school district?

the most important issue that LOCS currently faces is how to deliver a safe, effective education for all students while in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis. Many parents are deeply concerned how the district will provide the level of education that is expected. Addressing parental concerns and providing a world class education for all students will be the district’s main challenge for the foreseeable future.

How important is community input when making a decision that will impact students for years to come?

Community input is paramount when making decisions. I not only want input from community members who are current parents, students, and staff and teachers of our schools, but just as importantly, I want to hear from others in the community who may not currently have kids in the schools. The schools are a community resource and having a strong and successful district benefits everyone in the community. Having input from the community as a whole, will not only better our district, but also help drive the decisions that make our community exceptional which in turn makes our students exceptional.

Why did you choose to run for the board?

I have been actively involved in education for the past 21 years as a former classroom teacher, current private tutor, and as a parent deeply involved in the schools. I graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelors degree in Psychology and earned my teaching certificate in both Psychology and history. Now more than ever, public schools need board members who can not only provide leadership but can bring a unique perspective to the board. I work with students every day and see how the decisions that various boards of education make affect them. In addition, my participation on the board of The Daisy Project helps me better understand the unique challenges of our special needs community. My husband and I are both Lake Orion graduates and our son is a 4th generation dragon.


Joel Cole

Age: 40

Occupation: Electrical Engineer

Community/school involvement (i.e. PTO, Boosters, etc.): FCA Motor Citizens, Lake Orion United Methodist Project Shalom, Oakland Hills Community Garden

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the school district?

The most important issue facing the Lake Orion Community Schools is the delay of an in- person option for the students. Students need and deserve the option of an education that develops social engagement coupled with appropriate safety measures. I know I’m not alone when I say that I’m disappointed in the board’s decision to delay in-person schooling. Many students are not acclimated to virtual learning and many parents do not want their children dependent on electronics.

How important is community input when making a decision that will impact students for years to come?

A successful school district requires public participation and healthy discourse. The ideas and concerns of the community are valuable assets when taken into consideration during the school board’s decision making process.

Why did you choose to run for the board?

I decided to run for the Lake Orion school board because there needs to be another voice upholding the interests of the students, their parents, and the residents of Lake Orion. Children are our future. We all benefit when tomorrow’s leaders are given a solid educational foundation. However, I have a vested interest in the school district’s success because it contributes to the success of my children. I’m proud to call my daughter, Adeleigh, and son, Logan, dragons.


Susan Elaine Flaherty

Age: 50

Occupation: Stay-at-home Mom (former business executive in Automotive and Telecommunications industries)

Community/school involvement (i.e. PTO, Boosters, etc.): Paint Creek Bond Committee member, Paint Creek school volunteer, community volunteer (e.g. Meals on Wheels, etc.)

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the school district?

Currently, the most important issue is the safety, health, and well-being of our students, teachers, and administrators due to COVID-19. This issue extends beyond the physical health risks from in-person education, to the mental and emotional stability from prolonged, remote learning and social detachment, to the additional strain placed on families navigating this new world. The Board and Administration need to be proactive by monitoring conditions due to the fluidity of the situation and executing changes as needed, as well as providing clear direction and communication to the community. The district also needs to be cognizant of the financial impacts to the budget, so funds can be allocated and managed accordingly.

How important is community input when making a decision that will impact students for years to come?

We need to foster a collaborative partnership with the community and promote two-way, open communication. We are their voice and I am prepared to be their elected representative on the Board. We must maintain high quality educational standards to assure our community is a desired destination for families. This ensures high enrollment and positively impacts property values.

Why did you choose to run for the board?

My husband and I have lived in the district over 15 years. Our daughter attends Paint Creek Elementary. I am a product of Michigan public schools and received my undergraduate and Executive MBA degrees from Michigan State University. I want to ensure all children have opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive by preserving and improving the quality of education in a safe, challenging, learning environment. Lake Orion should be the first choice for families when prioritizing the education of their children. In addition, I have a 25-year career history where I held management positions in Purchasing, Facilities, Human Resources, and Strategy in the Automotive and Telecommunications industries. With my track record of implementing strategies, streamlining processes, and reducing costs, I have the requisite experience to be a strong asset to the Board.


Birgit McQuiston

Age: 56

Occupation: RN, Certified Nutritionist, Volunteer

Community/School Involvement: LO Board of Education member for over 9 years; Member of the Oakland County School Board Association Board of Directors; Member of the Michigan Association of School Boards Resolution and Bylaws Committee; Founding and current member of Blessings in a Backpack – Lake Orion Steering Committee; Volunteer for Blessings in a Brown Bag summer of 2020;

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the school district?

Meeting the diverse educational needs of ALL our students, especially given the current climate in which schools find themselves, is our number one concern! This includes our honors students as well our at risk population and our special education students. A multitude of unique needs are encompassed therein. The Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and health of our students and staff is of concern and must also be met. Overseeing the education of ALL students is the high calling of any Board of Education. This is closely followed by the economic concerns that Michigan is facing, which impact education negatively. The advocacy for our students has never been more important.

How important is community input when making a decision that will impact students for years to come?

Community input is crucial for all decisions that impact students, and that begins with who they elect as their trustees to the Board of Education. The work ethic and level of involvement of elected officials is essential for our students and stakeholders. While community input is crucial, it is also important for the community and board members to understand that it is only one of many aspects in the decision making process.

Why did you choose to run for the board?

I am running for reelection to continue the work that I am already doing on behalf of our students and school district. I am able to give my full attention to my work on the Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education and other associations because it is my full time job. I am a Dragon by choice, and it has been my privilege to serve the community and schools that I LOve. It would be an honor to be reelected.


Misty Morris

Age: 40

Occupation: Realtor

Community/school involvement: Webber PTO, Webber Chair (Trunk or Treat), Yearbook committee, Mom to Mom event planner, participate in local Lake Orion community organizations (including: Lake Orion Lions baskets, VFW)

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the school district?

The responsibility of not only keeping our kids safe but maintaining the educational standards that have made Lake Orion School District a desired (top) school.

How important is community input when making a decision that will impact students for years to come?

It is always important to listen to people that would like to talk about the situation, or issue at hand, that may impact the education of their children. However, because some individuals may not have a clear understanding of the state requirements and mandated policies, I, as a candidate will take their opinions into consideration as well as work directly with the other board members to arrive at what is the best solution for the children and staff in Lake Orion. The community is the reason the members are elected, you as a School Board member, become their voice.

Why did you choose to run for the board?

A need to support the community which follows with a need not only to support my family and friends. I hope that what I can contribute from my background involvement within the school district and the community can set forth an impact for the future educational decisions and allow us as community to uphold our distinctive reputation of being one of the best school districts in Oakland County.


Edwina Patterson

Age: 52

Occupation: Personal Excellence Life Coach and Doctoral of Education Candidate with a cognate in Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice.

Community/school involvement (i.e. PTO, Boosters, etc.): I have a passion for working with youth to pursue their goals beyond their sometimes-self- imposed limitations. It is with this passion and belief that I have committed my time by serving as a school volunteer for in school programs such as reading during Reading Month, mentorship and etiquette teaching, developing material and presenting during Black History Month, Volunteering as an athletic mom and countless other activities that would help promote the well-being of our Dragon Youth Community during the time my son has been a student in this district. I led the establishment of our Lake Orion Parents of African American Children Network. This network joins a host of other African American Parent networks throughout Oakland Schools established since 2007. We are an inclusive group of parents that have come together to promote a sense of community within the larger community and fill in the gap where our children need additional support.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the school district?

• Security and Safety:

Pandemic Management – Immediately assisting students, parents, and teachers in successful achievement in these unprecedented circumstances.

Ensure no child left behind nutritionally, academically, and socially.

Behavior Issues- Establishing and managing district wide processes and policies for bullying and school violence problems facing students and teachers.

• Culture and Diversity

Executing a Diversity and Inclusivity Plan for K-12 Schools – Establish and execute programs that provide learning and support for administrators, teachers, and students.

Curriculum Savviness- Policies in place to ensure the success of ALL students. (college bound and non-college bound including all ethnicities and genders)

Advocacy Consistency- Creating and Maintaining an environment where the students and teachers feel valued and heard.

Staffing- Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Teachers/Administrators – Greater emphasis on having faculty that reflects the student body demographics.

How important is community input when making a decision that will impact students for years to come?

The pride of every community starts with the care and education of their children. Our foundational structure of character and morals originates from home and is emphasized by the village of support we call community. There must be genuine engagement from the onset, which involves more than listening to a few that may be on your contact list, or just reading perspectives and concerns. It is more about making yourself available to LISTEN to what is troubling and concerning with empathy while communicating an honest path forward whether favorable or not.

Why did you choose to run for the board?

I am passionate about education and the achievement of academic excellence for my child and those within our community. I desire to add a Diverse Voice to continue the achievement of academic excellence in our schools. I am anxious to do the work alongside the other Board Members to ensure our district rises to the rankings of top 5 school districts in Michigan!

Do not count me OUT because I look different, count me IN because I am different!


Amy Denise Silvester

Age: 46 years old

Occupation: Owner of Love n’ Light Productions, LLC and the Author / Illustrator for The Tender Turtle Series of books. Amy Denise Silvester is a proud Veteran’s wife; happily married to Don Silvester. She is a mother of 5: Alex, 25, Ben, 23, Miranda, 22, Lauren,18, and Liam, 7. Amy Denise Silvester is an Oakland University Alumni.

Community/school involvement (i.e. PTO, Boosters, etc.): Amy Denise Silvester is an active volunteer in Lake Orion schools and the Lake Orion community. Amy Denise has been a Lake Orion resident for 23 years. Amy Denise Silvester has taught swimming at Lake Orion High School, Great Lakes Athletic Club and at Oxford Parks & Rec. Amy Denise is the founder of The Tender Turtle 5K, which is an inclusive charity run/walk/roll held in Downtown Lake Orion. Amy Denise is a volunteer at the DDA in Lake Orion. Amy Denise co-hosted/planned Babes on Broadway 2019, which benefited Love INC. Amy Denise is also recognized for “Happy Trail”, the 2020 Senior Signs for the LO graduates. Amy Denise Silvester is also a new member on the NOCC board.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the school district?

All learners must come first. A safe learning environment is paramount to our learners. Education is the most important tool we can give our children.

Maintaining our Lake Orion Schools high standards for an exceptional education for all learners is imperative. My two daughters, both are in college, they received a fantastic education in Lake Orion. I have my youngest son, a second grader, who deserves the same great education. I will make sure that all our children do. All learners, AP, IEP, OTEC, band members and athletes. All our Lake Orion students deserve an education that will benefit them and prepare them for their future endeavours.

Fiscal responsibility is extremely important to me. We need to live within our means. I will make sure we do this.

How important is community input when making a decision that will impact students for years to come?

Community, parental, student, faculty and administrative input must all be taken into consideration when making decisions that will impact our students. All functions of the Lake Orion School district and board need to be transparent and readily accessible to all Lake Orion district residents.

Why did you choose to run for the board?

I am running for Lake Orion School Board because I can help. I am open minded and believe in being creative when addressing the needs of our learners. I have a love for my community and it’s children. We have a lot of learning to do with all the changes that are happening currently. I will always put our learners first and be an active part of this process. I lead by example and if I see a need, I fill it. I keep my word. Go Dragons!


Scott Taylor

Age: 45

Occupation: Director of Business Development

Community/school involvement (i.e. PTO, Boosters, etc.): 45-year resident of Lake Orion, Blanch Sims, Lake Orion Middle School and Lake Orion High School Grad. Involved in Stadium, Blanche Sims and Oakview PTO programs. Father of 1 Oakview Middle Schooler and 1 Lake Orion High student, I was appointed to the Lake Orion Community Schools board of education in 2014 and have served for 6 years as Trustee, vice president and president. I sit on the Board Policy Committee, Lamp of Learning Committee as well as the Facility Liaison for the Board. Currently I am involved in the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce, local club soccer as well as local nonprofit endeavors to help make the world a better place for all of us.

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the school district?

Number one issue for all public schools is the Budget. LOCS does an excellent job every year adapting to the funding provided by the state and always presenting a balanced budget. 2020/2021 may be the most trying time in our history with the pandemic and a huge economic shortfall at the state and federal level. I have experienced the budget process six times and have a strong understanding of the processes that need to be followed. How do we fix this issue? Contacting our legislatures and expressing that we want our schools properly funded. Every voice does truly count.

How important is community input when making a decision that will impact students for years to come?

I am constantly receiving community feedback and welcome this communication. The most important aspect of community communication is what is done with that feedback data. First, I determine if the feedback needs immediate attention and if it does I will share this information with the board and/or administration. Second, I use people’s opinion and feedback identifying a concern or issue when making decisions that affect students. I am an elected representative of the people and I take that responsibility very seriously. I have been very approachable, honest and collaborative with both the community and my peers over my 6-year tenure.

Why did you choose to run for the board?

I decided to run again this year because this is an unprecedented time for schools and life in general. The experiences that I have gained in the 30 years of my professional life, as an involved community member, son, brother, uncle, father, husband, friend and board member have given me the proper skills to continue serving the students and parents of Lake Orion. I will hit the ground running and continue the work that I have been involved with for over 6 years. Anybody that knows me knows that my first question to any plan is, what is best for kids? Please allow me to continue down the path of doing what is best for kids. Experience matters.


Janice Zale

Age: 37

Occupation: Licensed Assistant for Zale Group Wealth Management

Community/school involvement (i.e. PTO, Boosters, etc.): Blessings in a Backpack Lake Orion Steering Committee Member (since 2014), Blanche Sims PTO Vice President (2020-2021), Former Treasurer and Trustee for the Blanche Sims PTO (2018-2020), Former Library Board Member for Oakland Township (2012-2016), Dutton Farm Volunteer and Supporter (since 2010).

What do you consider to be the most important issue(s) confronting the school district?

The most important issue confronting our school district is getting our students back in the buildings in a safe and responsible manner. While COVID-19 continues, I will work with our administrators and teachers to find creative ways to bring our students back safely. These are not easy decisions, but my goal will be to help students and parents navigate these uncertain times and give them hope that we are #DragonStrong!

How important is community input when making a decision that will impact students for years to come?

I feel that community input is very important when making decisions. Transparency with our community is what builds trust. I will work for parents’ voices to be heard as they are the no. 1 advocate for their children.

Why did you choose to run for the board?

I chose to run because I want to be a part of helping our students, parents and staff during this time. I will be an advocate for our students, making sure they continue to get the best education so they are ready for their future. I will be an advocate for parents, letting them know their voice is heard. Finally, I want to safely get our staff and students back together and keep our school district great for years to come. Go Dragons!

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