Five people are vying for three seats on Northville's school board in the November election and Northville Patch is bringing you Q&A profiles with each of the candidates.
We asked the candidates about why they want to be on the board of education, their backgrounds, what they consider the biggest areas for improvement and more.
Below are the replies of Northville Township resident Roland Hwang, who is an assistant attorney general working in the Department of Attorney General, Labor Division. He is also a former Ford engineer and Ford staff attorney.
Q: Number of years a resident of Northville school district?
Resident of Northville school district for 24 years, since 1988.
Q: Number of children, if any, in Northville Public Schools?
Two children, Kevin and Aimee, both at Northville High School.
Q: What prompted you to run for a seat on Northville's school board?
I am running for school board with a focus on the classroom. We need to address ever-increasing class sizes which impact the teacher’s ability to teach and interact with students. Students excel in a smaller setting. We also need to focus on curriculum to meet our students' needs in a changing economy. We need to maintain the core curriculum while addressing science/technology/engineering/math (STEM) course needs, and additional world languages.
Q: What kinds of experiences – professional, educational or otherwise – make you an unique and qualified candidate?
I am an attorney with a labor background, am a college lecturer who teaches in American Culture at U of M, and am a parent of two students who have progressed from Wondergarten and Kids Club through Winchester, Meads Mill and Northville High. I have been actively involved in my childrens’ experience in the Northville Schools, whether Winchester field day, battle of the books, Motor Moms and Dads, or as a band and choir supporter. I bring unique qualifications to the board. I have served on several boards, from the State Bar Commission overseeing lawyers, to the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, and New Detroit, Inc., both of which are metro area coalition organizations which address student relations and bullying. I have experience working through issues at the board level.
Q: What new ideas do you hope to bring to the table?
I want the board to think more about what the curriculum should look like five and 10 years ahead, while it undertakes responsibility for the fiscal health of the school district.
Q: What do you foresee as the biggest issue facing Northville Public Schools in the coming school year? How would you address those issues, if elected?
We need to address and confront large class sizes in the district. How we spend precious funding from the state, and try to maintain or lower classroom sizes will be a daunting task. I urge a robust effort for exploring funding alternatives, whether through foundations, grants, and cooperating educational institutes and institutions, and working with the Legislative Action Network (LAN) on legislative changes.
Q: What do you regard as the district's successes? How would you continue or improve upon these areas, if elected?
The continued high achievement levels on standardized tests, and the high percentage of graduates going on to college, are hallmarks of the district's success. As globalization proceeds, fostering and growing the International Baccalaureate program is one way to enhance our students' prospects for the future. Expanding language offerings to encompass Mandarin Chinese or Japanese, as now offered by other nearby districts will also expand the horizons for our students.
Q: Around the country, state and in Northville, school budgets continue to be an issue districts grapple with. What areas of the budget would be your biggest priority, if elected? Where do you see the most room for cuts, if needed?
The budget area needing the most attention is personnel and salaries. Controlling costs while striving to maintain or lower class sizes will be a difficult task. As for areas for cuts, I would concentrate on those areas outside of direct instruction and the classroom.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
I relish the opportunity to serve the Northville community, and serve on the school board. I believe the school district has and should continue to provide a great learning environment so all students can reach their highest potential.
Which school board candidate do you plan to vote for in November? Take our poll here.