After four hours of interviews and deliberation, Farmington Public Schools trustees chose November candidate Donald Walker to fill an unexpired board term.
Walker will serve through 2022, then have the option to run for a full term. He was the top pick for five of six trustees.
Six Farmington Hills residents applied for the vacancy created with the resignation of Pam Green. Walker, Steven Goldberg, and Kevin Hammer all ran for office in November. Other applicants were Janail Silver, Doron Eisenscher, and Kathryn Marvin.
During Tuesday’s remote meeting, trustees asked each candidate about diversity, the role of a school board member, their reason for seeking the appointment, and the district’s strengths and challenges, among other topics. Several saw stabilizing leadership as priority.
Eisenscher pointed out that his 8th grade daughter has seen four superintendents since kindergarten. Hammer also mentioned turnover in the superintendent’s position and on the board. Goldberg cited rebuilding trust in the board as an area of need, along with hiring the right “CEO” or superintendent.
Residents who participated in public comment supported Walker and Goldberg. Some noted Goldberg received more votes in November than the other two applicants who ran. Trustee Terri Weems said board members had to look at more than numbers.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ve got a lot of healing to do,” she said. “It’s going to be very important for us to think about fit.”
New trustee Claudia Heinrich felt that Goldberg’s business background would bring a perspective the board lacked.
“If we truly represent the community we serve,” she added, “then we have to listen to the voice of the voters.”
In the first round of voting, trustees emailed their top two choices to board secretary Kim Buckley. Weems, Mable Fox, Cheryl Blau, and Angie Smith listed Walker as their first choice and Eisenscher as their second. Board president Zach Rich had Walker as his first choice and Silver as his second. Heinrich favored Goldberg first and Walker second.
Rich thanked all six applicants and said applying took “courage and a real desire to serve your community”.
Watch the meeting: