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And then there were four

School board candidate list whittled from 14 to four

June 16, 2010 - Choosing the top school board candidates was pleasantly difficult, said current boardmembers, when they narrowed the pool of 14 "very well qualified" candidates down to four at their June 9 meeting.

Todd Auspitz, William Beaumont, David Proksch and Kelly Weaver all made the cut and will be interviewed at the board's June 23 meeting. (The Review mistakenly published the interview date as June 9 in last week's edition.)

One of the four will be selected at that meeting to fill former President Bill Walters' vacant spot on the board. Walters, now retired, attended his last meeting, May 26.

What follows is a summary of each candidate's introduction to the board four weeks ago.

Auspitz (click for larger version)
Todd Auspitz

Todd Auspitz has two daughters in Lake Orion schools – one at the high school and one at Oakview – and is self-employed in the district.

"My business is in Lake Orion. It's a management company for condominiums and home-owners associations. I do have a background in maintenance issues – everything from concrete to roofing – and I've also dealt with budgets," he said.

Most of Auspitz's involvement in the schools has been through volunteering for field trips and parties, he said. Both his daughters are in several sports programs.

Serving on the district's strategic planning finance committee piqued his interest in serving on the school board.

"That set things in motion for me volunteering for the community. It caught my interest with everything happening with budget cuts. I thought that I would step up and volunteer," he said. "The main thing is that without an educational system in the community that's a good, solid foundation, what are we? It's everything from local businesses moving to our community to people looking to move somewhere else. This community here – there's a lot of commitment in schools, people show a lot of pride in the schools."

He added, "It's important that students have the necessary tools, the best committed teachers, and I want that for the community."

Auspitz noted he would run for reelection, but would he serve forever? "Absolutely not."

"The reason being, I truly believe there should be a period of time where you serve your community and move on to let other people step up," he said.

Beaumont (click for larger version)
William Beaumont

William Beaumont moved to the school district in 1986 where he lived until 1997. He moved back 2005. His two children attend Lake Orion schools, with one at Oakview and one at the high school.

Beaumont said he's an early engineer retiree from auto industry. He worked 36 years with General Motors and lived in four different countries, where he helped found and run engineering operations.

He's been involved locally as treasurer for a Boy Scout troop and manager of a LOBOS team. He says he's involved in district's strategic planning committee and other limited volunteer positions until now.

"I was intending on going back to work, but I've decided just not to do that," he said.

Beaumont added, "My own beliefs and values are very much aligned with the school board's, in terms of the vision, mission and beliefs."

In his career, he said he was responsible for departments and programs "with headcounts in the thousands and budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, both in good times and tough times."

"I have a lot of experience aligning budgets and resources and business plans while still ensuring objectives are met," he said.

Beaumont is originally from the United Kingdom and said he did some post-secondary work in the US.

He's been involved in education and business globally, and said he realizes the district is not a corporation, but believes his background and experiences will be valuable to the board.

Beaumont also noted he would run for reelection.

Proksch (click for larger version)
David Proksch

David Proksch has worked in Orion for 20 years and has three children in the district – one at Oakview and two at Carpenter. He said he's spent his career in the IT field in customer-facing roles.

"One constant in my career has been change. I'm in a constant state of education. I believe that's what our children should be in. We are training them for jobs that don't exist yet," he said.

Proksch told the board he started working toward his bachelor's degree in 1986, and didn't complete it until 1998.

"I'm well aware of what it takes to be a life-long learner," he said, noting he looks forward to new educational technologies and resources, like podcasts, to individualize the educational experience.

Proksch also coaches in various sports leagues each summer and is a member of the townships parks and recreation committee.

He said he's been heavily involved with the schools' transportation department.

Weaver (click for larger version)
Kelly Weaver

Kelly Weaver's lived in Lake Orion for 12 years. She has a daughter at Stadium and son at Scripps.

"I believe that actions speak louder than words, so I've always tried to be very involved in their schools," she said, noting her school commitments include heavy PTA involvement, the school improvement committee and the strategic planning finance committee.

Weaver's volunteered with the Lake Orion Education Foundation (LOEF) in several different capacities, including serving as the current president.

She said she's been an educator in the district, subbing in almost every building, both long and short term. The experience allowed her to see how curriculum is developed, while developing relationships with teachers, students and parents, she said.

"I heard their frustrations and their concerns, but more than that, I hear about their love of this district – working, living and going to these schools," said Weaver. "I come to this table with many different perspectives and I think they will all benefit this board. I think that I've proven myself to be open-minded, hard-working, reliable, very respectful of diverse views and knowledgeable of education itself."

She added, "I understand that there are individuals and groups out there who all have ideas on how to move the district forward and solve the financial issues. Well, I too have high expectations, and I believe in public education system and Lake Orion Community Schools."

Her goal is to help build a consensus, beginning with students and building to parents, teachers, staff and board, "that we can move forward and leave all the negativity behind."

Reporter, Lake Orion Review
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