Mary Petlichkoff is finishing up her first term on the Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education, and is hoping when the votes are tallied on Nov. 8, voters give her a chance to continue the board's work.
“We’ve faced a lot of difficult issues during this past term,” she said. “But as a board, we’ve also had some great achievements.”
Petlichkoff, if elected for another four years, said her top three priorities would be raising student achievement, steering the district through continual state cuts to funding, and exploring more opportunities for students to further their education.
The most important of these is student achievement, Petlichkoff said.
“We have a lot of work to do in regard to student achievement, but we’ve taken steps to implement programs that are beneficial to students,” she said. “When we implemented the Daily 5/CAFÉ reading program, we had several programs at different buildings, and this time, we worked to make programs consistent across buildings.
“This helps students who, for whatever reason, will attend a different building from the previous year,” Petlichkoff added. “It was important that these programs be consistent.”
Another goal for the next four years, said Petlichkoff, would be to see if there’s any way the schools can get the ball rolling on a college plan for students similar to the Kalamazoo Promise, which covers all or a portion of college tuition for students who attend the public schools.
“I think we have some opportunities, especially because of the , which we also oversee,” she said. “I think this would do a lot to help families, and I also believe it would do a lot for our real estate market and business community."
Petlichkoff said she believes the board procedures during meetings have worked well, and that she would not push for big changes going forward.
Petlichkoff is a 24-year resident of Dearborn who, after studying psychology, worked in the banking industry. She took time off to raise her children and commit herself to community causes. She currently serves on the City Beautiful Commission and the president of the Dearborn Federation of Neighborhood Associations. She has been a long-term member of the Parent Teacher Association and was a charter commissioner for the city.
She counts helping to building a better working relationship with city of Dearborn officials as a member of a sub-committee that addresses such matters as one her achievements. Petlichkoff said she was told in her early days on the board that this was somewhat lacking and was unlikely to change.
“I said, ‘I can do that,’” Petlichkoff said. “A better relationship makes more joint activities, like , possible.”
Petlichkoff said the board is likely to face many more difficult decisions during the next four years because the state's economy, and that she would like a chance to continue to keep positive momentum going on the board.
“I would like a chance to finish what we’ve started,” she said. “There are still many things we need to do.”