OPINION: Keep Joan Berndt on the BHS Board of Education

The retired educator brings balance, has a life-long passion for the arts, and is a member of the largest demographic in our district: seniors.

We are enthusiastically supporting retired music educator, Joan Berndt, in the upcoming School Board election. Joan has also been endorsed by every local publication that has made an endorsement so far in this race; by the Bloomfield Township Supervisor, Leo Savoie; and by the Bloomfield Hills Education Association.

For 40+ years Joan has worked tirelessly to improve our schools as a community member, parent (her son is a Lahser graduate), school volunteer, Community Partnership Committee member and finally as a Board trustee. She worked hard to resolve our high school situation by providing input and support for the final plan that resulted in the passage of the bond issue for a unified high school. Most recently, she has communicated clearly and effectively with constituents regarding the major changes to public education being proposed via the Oxford Commission appointed by Governor Snyder.

Ms. Berndt was chosen as a trustee partly because she is a retired teacher who gives balance to the Board, partly because of her life-long passion for the arts as essential components of a comprehensive education (which we share), and partly because she is a member of the largest demographic in our district- the senior community, giving them a voice and a seat at the table.

Joan’s primary goals as Board Trustee are to preserve, protect and enhance our comprehensive curriculum; and to be fiscally responsible by ensuring that student achievement maximizes taxpayers' investments. We feel it is important to return Joan to the Board because of these positions, and because she is the only public school educator on the Board, which we feel gives her a unique and valuable perspective.

Joan was unanimously appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board for a term that does not end until 2014. State law requires her to run this year to finish that term.

Unexpectedly, she is facing opposition from two other candidates, both of whom filed to run after Joan had done so. One is a “perennial” candidate, who has been defeated several times before. The other is a fellow appointee, Rob Herner, whose term is at an end. Regrettably, Mr. Herner chose not to run for a full 6-year term, but instead knowingly chose to run against Ms. Berndt, which has created a less-than-ideal situation. Had he run for a six-year term, we would have been supportive. Since he did not, our community must choose the candidate for the two-year term who brings the most to the Board as a whole. Although we respect those who feel otherwise, we feel that Mr. Herner’s skill set (business and finance) is already well-represented by another candidate, Howard Baron, and by current Trustees, Ed Ford and Ingrid Day. Our Board of Education is greatly aided by the presence of an actual public school educator, and by the perspective of a member of our senior community.

Joan Berndt is on Facebook (Please "Like" her at berndt4bloomfield!), and her webpage is www.berndt4bloomfield.com.

We hope you will join us in supporting Joan Berndt with your vote on Nov. 6!

Mary and Steve Belden


The viewpoints in this letter are those of the writer, and Patch is not responsible for any ideas portrayed as facts. For questions and clarifications, please leave a comment below or contact editor Art Aisner at Art.Aisner@patch.com.

MsMaidstone November 04, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Mrs. Berndt may be a senior citizen but she clearly doesn't represent the BHSD seniors. This is a clever marketing ploy. Please name one BHSD initiative that Berndt has championed that would be of positive interest to the senior community to justify your claim? She has voted in "lockstep with all of the other "non senior candidates" so to make this claim is disingenuous. Vote for Jenny Greenwell we need new voices and not the tired rhetoric of an appointee. Mrs. Berndt was NOT voted into office by the community she was picked by the board who likely wanted a mirror image of themselves
-Elizabeth- November 04, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Ms. Maidstone, You seem to come from the position that all seniors believe as you do. That simply isn't correct. It also isn't correct that Jenny Greenwell is a new voice. You are correct that Joan Berndt was appointed to the School Board. What you forget is Jenny Greenwell was comfortable enough with the process of appointments that she spearheaded the recall of all 7 BHS board members. If the recall had been successful, which I am glad calmer heads prevailed and it did not, there would have been 7 (count them 1-2-3-4-5-6-7) appointed members on our board, so let's not talk about being disingenuous.
Jon November 04, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Jenny knows more about seniors than a senior does. She knows what high schoolers think by looking at their car windows. Parents can't be trusted to worry about their kids' transition. Only she can. And she will deploy her advertising degree to ensure fiscal responsibility. Huh. Joan Berndt has been active in the school district for years. She was passionately involved in the high school planning process and in the CPC meetings. Joan is a senior with experience educating children. She was appointed because she was qualified and passionate. She should be elected for the same reasons.
Charles Gaba November 04, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Jenny Greenwell a "new voice"??? OK, that's hilarious. Jenny was ON the board a decade ago, and made such a spectacle of herself that the voters gave her the boot less than a year later. Since then, she's been annoying the residents of the BHSD non-stop, who have rejected her 3 times in a row (and in two days, hopefully for a fourth time). Calling her a "new voice" is jaw-droppingly absurd.
MsMaidstone November 05, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Your words were to vote for Joan and give seniors, "the largest demographic in our community a voice and a seat at the table". Let's talk about your claim and not distractions, so Joan is the only one who cares about the seniors, no one else on the board cares about the largest constituency in our community? So what cause has Joan championed in her appointed years on the board that gives you a right to make this claim that she is the champion of senior interests? you didn't answer the question because you can't . The answer is NOTHING. It's just a convenient campaign slogan....I'll give you this though for other reasons Berndt is a better choice than Herner...but that really doesn't matter since Greenwell trumps them both. Vote for GREENWELL and. MOIGIS.


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