Jeff Gaynor writes:
1. My background:
My two daughters attended the Ann Arbor Public Schools, K-12, and we hosted over a dozen international exchange students who went to Pioneer H.S.
I was a classroom teacher for 38 years, primarily in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. I taught for 18 years at Clague Middle School following 10 years at Bach Open, and shorter assignments at Carpenter and Northside Elementary Schools.
I graduated from the Science and Arts program at Detroit Cass Tech. I earned my B.A. at U-M (Social Studies major), and M.A. at EMU (Language Arts).
My teaching career included:
- Classroom teaching, Grades 1–8; Math, Social Studies, and English Language Arts, grades 6-7, and American History, Grade 8. Substitute Teaching K-12;
- Presenting multiple times at statewide Math (U-M and MCTM), Social Studies (MCSS), and Technology (MACUL) and nationwide teacher conferences;
- Co-authoring books on math instruction and assessment, and contributing to a book on conducting Literature based reading groups,
- Being selected for three month-long international study trips; to Belize (2005), to Turkey (2009) and to South Africa (2013),
- Collaborating with community resources, including the School of Education, the International Institute, and LSA at U-M; arts programs at the AADL, and serving on the UMS Teacher Insight Committee.
2. When I serve on the Board of Education:
I will bring the same principles to the Board as I did to my classroom:
Open and Honest Communication: I will inform the community on a regular basis, just as I did my students and their families as a classroom teacher. We know that Ann Arbor is an excellent school district, with motivated students, engaged parents, and committed teachers. We don't need incessant Public Relations chatter at Board meetings. Instead we'll openly and honestly explore the challenges that we do face. I will reach out to, seek input from and collaborate with our staff and the public, not see them as obstacles to a high achieving district.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: The board is the community’s representative and voice, and it is imperative that we give direction to the administration and examine the information they use for decision making. This extends from financial stewardship to achievement data to equity concerns. We must not stop with rhetoric, but make sure our practice matches our ideals.
Integrity over expediency: Whether it’s the way we treat employees or the way our actions affect neighboring districts, we must consider the welfare of all, rather than make decisions with an “us vs. them” mentality. We must fight and act against the anti-public education policies in Lansing. As we expect excellence from our staff and students, we must exhibit the highest intellectual and ethical standards ourselves.
3. Educate Ann Arbor Platform Items that resonate:
Every one of them, without reservation. These are principles I have been promoting as a teacher, as a parent, and as a proponent of effective and high quality public education.