Patricia Ashford Manley is one of eight candidates and four incumbents running for the Ann Arbor Board of Education. There are four seats to fill for four-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2019. The general election is Nov. 6. Manley recently answered WLAA’s candidate profile:
Name: Patricia Ashford Manley
Background: Born and raised in Ann Arbor. Attended Jones Elementary (Community HS), Tappan Junior High (Tappan MS) and Ann Arbor High School (Pioneer HS). Received a Bachelors Degree and Teaching Certification from Western Michigan University and a Masters Degree with Certification in Guidance & Counseling from Eastern Michigan University. Started my career as a Teacher at Huron High School.
How long have you lived in AA: Since birth
Family: Husband of 39 years no children
Occupation: Retired educator
How long have you been a member of the board of education? Four years
Other government/political experience: None
As an incumbent, what are you most proud of during your term on the BOE? I am proud that we addressed the issue of guns in schools all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court and won. We set policy and regulations to protect our LGBTQ community. We worked to pass Bonds and a Sinking Fund Millage that will allow us to stay current with technology, repair/update infrastructure, purchase new classroom furniture, new musical instruments, new playground equipment and safer buses. Thus making it easier to maintain the required fund equity allowance in the general fund.
Why are you running again for the Board of Education? My first two years on the Board was a time of listening, learning and understanding what my role is as a Board member and how best to get things done. The last two years have allowed me to make more of impact on opportunities and issues that face our students, parents and staff. I feel we are on target to making major inroads on the disparity in student achievement, diversity of teaching staff, teacher morale and addressing our aged infrastructure. I want to be at the table to ensure this work continues and we get to where we should be in each of these areas.
What are some of the issues you feel are important at this time? The items I referenced in the last questions plus student safety, diversity/inclusion and the social/emotional needs of the students.
What do you bring to the Board of Education? My experience and passion as an educator has given me first hand understanding of how students develop and learn, plus my experience as a Principal has given me a realistic understanding of student assessments and the teacher evaluation process. This, and my four years of experience as a Trustee, makes me more than qualified for this position
The No. 1 issue in most people’s mind is student safety. Are the schools doing enough in this area and is there anything more that can be done? There is always more that can be done but as a district I feel we are doing a great job of working through all safety issues we are aware of. We also continually offer building principals guidance and tools to address safety issues in their buildings.
What should voters remember on Nov. 6? I am totally committed to use my experienced leadership to make a positive difference and continue the work of keeping Ann Arbor Public Schools an Exceptional School District.