Looking towards the future of the school board

Kelly Gavagan '23, Staff Writer

The secretary of state elections isn’t the only election happening this fall. Come November, the Grosse Pointe local school board is having an election between ten candidates with a variety of views on how to better the schools.

Terrance Collins:

Terrance Collins, 22-year-old resident of Grosse Pointe is running to increase Grosse Pointe Public Schools populations.

Collins explained how throughout online school from 2020-2021 students weren’t meeting the hourly school requirements from the State School Act, which led to a loss of learning and put students in Grosse Pointe Public Schools at a disadvantage compared to other schools.

“Since COVID, about 340 kids and parents have walked away from

our district and our school board for what I believe is a lack of leadership,” Collins said. “Prior to COVID, we were well prepared. (But) come September 2020, many schools across the nation were returning full time face-to-face, (and) the Grosse Pointe School board administration struggled to present a workable plan.”


Virginia Jeup:

Mother of three and private business owner of vacation rentals, Virginia Jeup is running to restore the school system to its pre-COVID glory.

Jeup said she plans to take divisive politics out of schools and focus resources on improving academics to help students for their future careers. Furthermore, if elected she plans on being transparent and accountable for Grosse Pointe Schools budget while balancing the money between resources for students, parents, and teachers.

“I don’t feel like we’re moving forward,” Jeup said. “Instead, we’re taking a sharp turn (towards) the direction that we’ve had in the past.”




Timothy Klepp:

While many candidates argue that the school board is lacking responsibility, Timothy Klepp believes the administration is doing well and is running to continue improving our schools.

“I’m not running because I’m angry,” Klepp said. “I’m running to help our school board move forward. We’re in pretty good shape, but there’s a very high correlation between students who struggle economically, and don’t do very well.”

Klepp proposes a plan to help create more opportunities and resources for kids in our school system.

“And that means learning about who needs help and why, then pinpointing what they mean and making sure they have the opportunity to be the best versions of themselves,” Klepp said.





JeDonna Dinges:

JeDonna Dinges also proposes to create more resources for underprivileged kids in our community. When she discovered the district was planning to discontinue school breakfasts, she protested until the school board reinstated breakfast.

Dinges is very involved in the Grosse Pointe community, and created multiple support groups. She created support groups for parents with children in IEPs (individualized education programs) as well as parents with children who have disciplinary and attendance issues.

“No child should ever go hungry, especially at school,” Dinges said.


William Broman:

While some candidates focused on small changes, others focused on statewide or national issues. William Broman argues that the national college preparedness rankings are an unfair way to judge a school. North High School is ranked almost a hundred schools higher than South based on the students’ amount of AP classes, exams, and standardized testing scores.

“We need to focus on other career and technical education, because we have a bunch of kids pursuing other professions, so they are unfairly ranked lower because of this,” Broman said.



                 Dr. Christopher Lee:

Dr. Christopher Lee is running for re-election, to help improve the school system for the students.

“For the last four years I’ve overseen spending over $100 million with bond money, all squeaky clean,” Lee said.

His family has had 113 years with Grosse Pointe public schools, and currently has 3 children attending Grosse Pointe schools and a daughter teaching at Maire Elementary School.

“The main focus of this election is the kids,” Lee said, “So we can’t waste our money on little things, we have to tackle our big issues head on.”


Valarie St. Johnz:

Valarie St. Johnz is running for school board to support all students and teachers.

“It’s important to focus on meeting the needs of our teachers and staff, so they can create creative and supportive environments for our students,” Johnz said. “On that note, this election is about the students, even though they can’t vote for the most part, we should be voting with their best benefit in mind.



Joseph Herd: 

Current school board president Joseph Herd is up for re-election and wants the Grosse Pointe community to continue to succeed, regardless of his place on the board. His main interests are keeping the kids happy and safe.

“I know that we can’t make decisions that will please everyone, but I want to help make decisions that will benefit everyone in the school system,” Herd said.

Herd also believes the school board has become incredibly political, which is making it very difficult to improve itself.

“We need to have honest, civilized, conversations with people of different views to create decisions that will benefit the majority of the community,” Herd said.


Clint Derringer:

Little league baseball coach Clint Derringer is running due to his critical problem-solving skills he uses day to day as a manager of Chrysler, and his love for the community which grew over time by coaching.

“When I began coaching I started to really feel like I was part of the community and not like I just snuck in the side door because my kids go to these great schools,” Derringer said.

Through managing Chrysler he constantly dealt with difficult people and learned how to decode problems in yelling to find solutions.

“I like to get into situations where I connect with people to figure out how to solve problems together and that’s why I’m running for the school board,”

Derringer said.

Sean Cotton:     

Sean Cotton, Grosse Pointe South graduate ‘95, is running for school board due to his sense of duty for his community.

“As the father of two boys in the school system, and owner of a business that employs more than 100 people in the Pointes, I have deployed my interest here to ensure that our school system always provides a best-in-class education to the children of our community,” Cotton said.