FLUSHING — Voters will decide between five candidates in the Nov. 3 election to fill three seats on the Flushing Board of Education.
Incumbents Peter Weinrauch, Sal Ausiello and Eddie Dolgan will face-off against challengers Wendie Dillehay and Kim Strnad for their seats on the board.
Here’s what the candidates had to say in their own words:
Sal Ausiello, Age: 59
Education: Flushing High School (79), University of Michigan BA (85), Central Michigan University Masters Administration, MBA(94)
Accomplishments: As a board member during my tenure as a board member we have accomplished Additions to High School Science wing, High school classrooms, W.H. Tunnicliff Auditorium, Flushing Middle School, Elementary Classrooms, 2017 Bond improvement, HVAC in all buildings, Robotics, CAD, Art rooms and Raider Field House, Solar panels at all school buildings. New windows. Top test scores in the Top Quadrant.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? I would continue to expand programs such as; CTE (Career and Technical Education), Skill Trades, AP college courses, Early college enrollment, STEM programs in all buildings.
Meet the social emotional needs of our students.
Increase the support for our at-risk programs.
Continue to be a destination district for this area.
To focus on Continuing to improve the quality of Education I received/my family received at Flushing schools. My personal success and continuing education is a result of my educational a student here.
Finally, to continue to improve our Fine Arts and Athletic programs and facilities.
Eddie Dolgan, Age: 63
Education: B.B.A., University of Michigan ‘79
Accomplishments: Flushing School Liaison Officer 25 years., Flushing Police Officer 30 years, Flushing Fire Department 25 years, D.A.R.E. Instructor 22 years, Flushing School Board 8 years, Co-Founder “Flushing Movies in the Park”, and Volunteered for Flushing Schools and St. Robert School with 2,000-plus hours.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? To keep Flushing Schools safe and secure. With the current pandemic, I will ensure that face-to-face instruction will be implemented as soon as safely possible. My career has been to keep our children safe and will continue to do so if elected.
Peter Weinrauch, Age: 31
Education: B.A. in Secondary Ed.
Accomplishments: 2014-20 Flushing Board of Ed., high honors college graduate, 4th year secondary teacher at West Bloomfield High School
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? I pledge to help keep our school board and our educational services as far detached from political agendas as possible, to maintain our focus on expanding and improving our continuum of services (trades based, digital mastery and certification etc.), and to uphold our mission of helping develop our future leaders.
Flushing students need the skills necessary to critically think, to collaborate, and to contribute to the world as informed, minimally-biased citizens. Every learning opportunity should allow for growth in these areas as often as possible, which means we must always facilitate a skills-based approach to our educational offerings. The board and the central office must continue to expand “non-traditional” learning paths for our students as well, which should include the ability for a student to graduate high school with a certain level of mastery in a traditional or digital trade.
Lastly, as political division relates to our student body, our students need to learn the skills that will allow them to effectively communicate with one another when political differences are recognized. Our future leaders exist within our schools, and these young people should be receiving an education that helps them recognize how and why political differences exist in the first place, and how progress can be made despite those differences.
Flushing’s schools are guided by and filled with some of the most talented people that the field of education has to offer, and that’s because our district is attractive to the people that want what’s best for the families that reside in the area, and especially for the young people that attend our schools; this is a positive, reinforcing cycle. I am happy to play a role in the continuation of what makes our schools, and therefore our community, a fantastic place to be.
Wendie Dillehay, Age: 42
Education: Associates Degree; American Sign Language Interpreting; Current: University of Michigan-Flint; Political Science
Accomplishments: Nothing listed
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? Working in the school systems across Genesee County, including Flushing, has shed light on much-needed changes. I have seen teachers struggle with time, resources, and tools. Most of this struggle is a disconnect from administration and real-world classroom situations. Seeing a child struggle in the system because of who they are or who they love is one of the most painful sights to see. A lack of curriculum of proper American history is one of the many disservices to our students. These issues, and my specific desire to fix them, has led me to be the most progressive candidate in this race.
Supporting our teacher’s needs to give them the tools necessary to foster successful students will be a priority. I will work with union leaders to meet their goals. Without a person advocating for educators on the board, they have little representation.
By ensuring all LGBTQ+ students are afforded the same positive learning environment as their peers, they will be set up for success. Children spend much of their time in school, shaping who they grow to be. If they are held back on discovering and navigating their identities, as well as developing confidence by an institution formulated to give them these attributes, we are underserving them.
Flushing Schools need to be on the right side of history, by teaching our students the accurate history of the purposeful oppression to minority groups. The age-appropriate education for our children with regards to American history is imperative—Flushing Schools cannot continue to fail our children by holding back. Only when we can understand the plight of another, can we truly recognize privilege and make change.
If you are looking for someone to uphold your progressive values, I am the ideal person for the job!
Kim Strnad, Age: 40
Education: I attended Flushing Schools beginning in first grade and graduated with honors in 1998. I went onto attend Mott Community College on a full ride studying music and general studies. In 1999 I was hired by a local business, which became a career. I continue field related studies and certifications annually to advance my career and education.
Accomplishments: I have volunteered in the past with Central Elementary PTO, Vacation BIble School elementary age coordinator at Mayfair Bible Church, and Co-Leader of Women’s Ministry at Mayfair Bible Church. I presently volunteer and serve with ReviveFlint, Flushing Community Fund, Flushing Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, and as a chairperson with Versiti to host several blood drives in the Flushing Community.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? I would seek to improve situations involving bullying, make the buildings and buses safer for all involved, enrich and deepen relationships between the school system and the community, and take strides to improving the proficiency ratings in all schools. I would also like to expand the middle school and high school course offerings to allow students to explore employment opportunities and trades available within our community, as well as daily life skills. I can offer a different perspective than the incumbents, as I have a child who is enrolled as a Flushing student, and another child who will begin their Flushing student career in 2021.
The Genesee County View will run more candidate profiles over the coming weeks for the various races through the county.