Kandace Jones Selected To Fill Saline School Board Vacancy
Kandace Jones got a standing ovation once the Saline Area Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to accept her candidacy to fill the seat left behind by outgoing member Aramide Boatswain. Jones will complete the remaining year and a half of Boatswain’s term before the 2022 elections.
“It feels great. I’m really grateful for being able to serve in this way. I have worked in K12 education for the last 18 years, all across the country and I’m excited to bring that knowledge and best practice here for Saline,” Jones told the Sun Times News.
School Board members said over and over that they were spoiled for choice with the applicants, but Jones stood out for her professional experience.
“You have the perspective of having children of color going through our schools,” School Board Jennifer Steben President said.
Jones’ experience runs the gambit of education policy making. She has worked for the Department of Education under the Obama Administration, including advising districts on how to turn around under-performing schools, and how to attract talent to schools. Now that she will be joining the Board, she is going to be focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion.
“My children have faced racism in the district,” Jones said. “It is a clear commitment and goal of mine to ensure that this is a welcoming space for all students, regardless of background, belief, gender, race, ethnicity; for this to be a safe space for all.”
Jones said she is also committed to helping students who have fallen behind academically because of the Covid-19 pandemic and in solving a peculiar problem that school districts are facing nationwide. On the one hand, federal relief dollars recently passed by Congress mean that the district has a huge lump of money to tide them over through the recession brought on by the pandemic; but on the other, an untold number of parents have pulled their children out of school districts in favor of home schooling. Finding a way to bring those students back and bridging the aforementioned attainment gap that some students are grappling with, will be a challenge for school districts nationwide.
Jones said that she and her husband sought out the most diverse school system they could find when they moved to Washtenaw County. After trying out another school system, they decided to move to Saline because Jones said her children simply weren’t being challenged where they were. They were almost going to go to a private school before Jones took a tour of Saline and was so impressed that she moved her children to Saline.
“We toured schools around and were almost set on sending them to private school, then we decided to tour Saline Schools, and it was just eye opening and exactly what we wanted for our children. It almost brought me to tears because we could get all of this in a public school,” Jones said. “We picked Saline and our children are thriving, aside from the challenges we face of racism here in the district.”
Saline Area Schools received national attention over issues of racism in the student body involving a Snapchat account. Saline has responded by establishing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee to tackle the issue.
Top Image: Kandace Jones standing in between Superintendent Laatsch and School Board President Jennifer Steben.