After several Farmington Public Schools (FPS) race-related incidents, Farmington Hills resident Donald Walker heard many of his friends and neighbors say someone needed to step up.
Walker decided to be that someone. He is among three candidates vying November 3 for a single, two-year school board term.
Claudia Heinrich and Kevin J. Hammer are also on the ballot, and seven candidates – Cheryl Blau, David Ehrlich, Mable Fox, Steven Goldberg, Janet L. Ravitz Meir, Richard Mukamal, and Frank Raines III – are seeking a 6-year term.
“What moved me to get into community work was a lot of issues coming out of our school district,” Walker said. “The last one that just broke me was when I learned about the young man called the ‘n’ word. It bothered me more when I found out that was our alternative high school, and most of the students are African-American.”
Walker believes facing those issues head-on can move FPS in the right direction.
“I am definitely about social justice and equity, resolving these issues that exist within our district, and becoming a transformative district and a transformative culture because of what we’ve had to go through,” he said.
A resident since 2000, Walker arrived a single man and married in 2005. He and his wife bought a home in 2006, and their children attend Farmington Public Schools. He holds a degree in communications from University of Detroit-Mercy, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and is a two-time graduate of Specs Howard School of Media Arts, where he taught and served as Director of Education.
Now employed as Director of Multimedia at Detroit School of Arts, Walker said he is revitalizing facilities, and bringing more resources to students, with the goal of creating a media hub for the district. He has a keen interest in career and technical education and building career pathways within middle and high schools.
“Besides college, there are additional ways for students to be successful,” he said.
Walker promises to be an “accessible and accountable” school board member, open to the community, staff and students. He said he has seen a “night and day” transformation as an employee of Detroit Public Schools, now Detroit Public Schools Community District, and wants to see change in Farmington as well.
“I want to be part of that change,” he said. “In fact, I’d like to lead some of it. I believe in serving. That is the ideology that has shaped my professional and personal life as an adult.”
“I want to see everybody have what they need to have so our students can be what they need to become,” he added. “I want to be part of us getting better.”
To learn more about Walker, visit donwalker4fpskids.org.