Challenging School Year in Hamtramck Will Have Almost Entirely New Board of Education

By Simon Albaugh

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – Coming into 2021, some of Hamtramck Public Schools’ most pressing challenges will be tackled by an almost completely new Board of Education. Three new Board Members are expected to take on the role after the resignation of Maggie Srodek, along with Evan Major and Dennis Lukas not seeking reelections.

The potential Board Members – one of whom has been appointed to Srodek’s seat on the Board – will need to steer the district through the remainder of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the threat of state-level education spending cuts, among other challenges.

In just this past year, the HPS Board of Education has brought solutions to the sudden shutdown of school buildings, continuing education requirements in a city with high rates of poverty and providing a safe and equitable path to learning again – with the schoolyear starting today.

So far, three people are looking to fill the vacant spots in the Board of Education. DazShavon Hall, Ramsey Hussain and Regan Watson are all looking to fill the three empty seats for six-year terms. Hall is currently serving as an interim Board Member until the elections.

Although Hall is currently serving part Srodek’s term until someone is elected to complete the term, Saleh Hadwan, the current vice president of the Board of Education is seeking to complete that partial term. He is running for that seat unopposed.

DazShavon Hall (left) and Sal Hadwan are the only Board of Education members up for reelection pursuing a new term

Unless someone else jumps into the race for Board of Education, everyone running or remaining on the Board will be representing the School District. Since three seats are available, with three new people running and one current member running for re-election, all candidates should be running unopposed.

The HPS School District has served as the final authority for running the Hamtramck Public Schools. They’re the elected officials who hired Superintendent Jaleelah Ahmed last year. They’re also the people who have carried out a bulk of the decision making throughout the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Board of Education is mostly involved with hiring, accepting resignations or approving the retirement of staff. Many of the larger purchases, like major IT Infrastructure for the School District, also needs the approval of the Board of Education. But broader implications like school policy changes and curriculum updates also are decided by the Board of Education.

This will be a challenge for many of the people who have decided to run. However, the people hoping to compose the new Board of Education all have intimate experience with Hamtramck Public Schools, since three of those running have either held a position with the district or have had students go through Hamtramck Public Schools.

There are four Board Members who will remain in their seats. Moortadha Obaid, who currently serving as a Trustee with the Board, Jihan Aiyash, who is Secretary for the Board, Showkat Choudhury, who is another Trustee, and Saleh Hadwan, who currently serves as Vice President to Evan Major within the Board of Education.