We sent a survey to the Dearborn Board of Ed. Candidates. Here are their responses:


By Simon Albaugh

DEARBORN, Mich. – Coming up for vote during this election is four new Board of Education positions for Dearborn Public Schools. Above any other year, the demands of the Board of Ed. Depend on difficult decisions about how to safely reopen during a pandemic, how to maintain a proper education outside of classrooms, and staying up to date on a rapidly changing public health emergency.

In the hopes of providing our readers with an opportunity to understand your candidates for Dearborn Public Schools, we sent a survey to all the candidates who are campaigning for the open positions. Here are their responses:

Running for the Six-Year Term

Nofila Haidar

Nofila Haidar

-How might people know you from around Dearborn?

I have served Dearborn students in many capacities; it is time that I continue my service in the highest capacity. I served as a member of the Dearborn Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee, as a Board member of the Dearborn Education Foundation, as a member of the School Improvement Plan Committee, the Early Learning Coalition, Dearborn Goodfellows Board of Directors, and as President of the Dearborn Public Schools PTA Council – 33 buildings. I served the special needs community as a Board Member of the ACCESS Hope House in Dearborn. I spearheaded a parent movement to advocate for neighborhood schools, I attended every school board and college meeting over the last six years, and I became the voice of parents, teachers and students who could not advocate for themselves. I served students in struggling communities as an AmeriCorps Member through the Michigan College Access Network. I am currently serving on the University of Michigan CASL Board of Affiliates.

-What Experience do you have that would inform your role in Dearborn’s Board of Education?

I have been involved in education in many capacities. Aside from my community service efforts and committee work, I served as an AmeriCorps College Adviser through the Michigan College Access Network. During my term of service, I helped to create a pipeline to college in high schools that lacked the resources to help students. I am a successful businesswoman in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights. I have a Bachelor’s in Communication and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Michigan.

-What are your goals for Dearborn’s Board of Education?

I believe that Dearborn schools will be facing many obstacles in the near future. Covid-19 has brought on some predictable and many unpredictable challenges.  I want to be at the table to help find solutions. Currently Dearborn schools suffer from a capacity issue, budget cuts and need a better plan for equity across the district including the special education department. An educated society is a strong society that will continue to grow and progress. I believe in equitable resources and quality education for all students. That means a partnership between educators, parents, policymakers, and involved community members to continuously improve curriculum, learning environment quality and funding for our schools.

Irene Watts

Irene Watts

-How might people know you from around Dearborn?

I am a Dearborn parent, involved in various activities at Lindbergh elementary, including homeroom mom and PTA volunteer. My children are involved in Dearborn baseball, DRD and Dearborn Guildlings. I was also on the Dearborn City Beautiful Commission for several years. While on the Commission, I was Chair of the School sub-committee, I re-instituted a grant partnering with Mayor O’Reilly, Superintendent Maleyko and Dearborn Foundation. All public schools were eligible for this grant, if approved, allocated $900 towards their project that exemplified beautifying their schools while also including state standards. I am also the Co-Founder of All Things Michigan, a charity event featuring Michigan made products and businesses.

-What Experience do you have that would inform your role in Dearborn’s Board of Education?

As a former teacher of 22 years, I have extensive classroom experience in a fast-paced and changing environment. My experience as a school administrator required me to develop and balance a budget, and to create a curriculum that I worked with teachers and parents to implement. I have served on an advisory board for the State of Michigan, revising rules and regulations for childcare centers. As a parent, I have learned to advocate for my children. As a volunteer, I have learned to advocate for all students.

-What are your goals for Dearborn’s Board of Education?

My first issue is ensuring our schools are safe for students and staff.  Our students must feel safe beyond the physical improvements of the buildings. All of our children have experienced trauma due to COVID.  We must address their social and emotional needs daily to mitigate any long-term effects caused by trauma. We need to ensure that all staff members have received social and emotional professional development and given support for proper implementation.

Second, we need to continue our high-quality education that begins with our strong leadership who value research and teamwork.  It consists of a team rooted in the belief in, and implementation of, best practices; continues to be data-driven and strive for high achieving outcomes; continues to be flexible and amenable to appropriate modifications.

Lastly, transparency is crucial to ensure trust within the community. We need to create opportunities for families to become involved in various activities throughout the district, resulting in increased parent engagement.

Adel Mozip

Adel Mozip (who has completed work for the Yemeni American News in the past)

-How might people know you from around Dearborn?

I have been active in my Dearborn community for the past decade promoting higher education and serving it as its newest school board member.  People know me as a fierce advocate for our schools as I have served in various committees and capacities to improve the quality of education in Dearborn. I am a Dearborn father, a senior software developer for Beaumont Health, and an active citizen who loves Dearborn Schools and Henry Ford College. I am a proud product of Dearborn Schools, a first-generation college graduate who was raised to value the importance of higher education. I am an active member of AAYSP, PTA, League of Women Voters, Eastborn Neighborhood Association, and Dearborn Rotary. I have also served on two state-wide commissions.

-What Experience do you have that would inform your role in Dearborn’s Board of Education?

I believe that my life experiences as well as professional experiences would be valuable to the Board. I was appointed to the Board in April 2019 making a noticeable impact during my short tenure. and I currently work for Beaumont Health as a senior software developer and COO of SpanHead, a startup tech company in Dearborn. I have an MBA from Wayne State University, a teaching experience where I taught students technology, leadership, financial, and media literacy.  I have been involved in community work for over a decade mentoring youth and leading the way of advocating for quality education in our community.

-What are your goals for Dearborn’s Board of Education?

My current top priorities for the K-12 are: a safe return to in-person quality instruction, the safety of our students, staff, and community as well as social-emotional learning. Return to in-person instruction must be guided by science and health experts. I continue to be vocal about the importance of social and emotional learning; leading the passing of the anti-bullying resolution by our board and recognizing October as National Bullying Prevention Month. In addition, fiscal responsibility is a major concern as we navigate post-COVID World. My top priority for Henry Ford College is to continue on the improvement of the student experience on campus and ways to increase enrollment through strategic programs & innovative marketing.

Sharifah Galab

Sharifah Galab

-How might people know you from around Dearborn?

Many people know me from various outlets in Dearborn. I have lived in Dearborn for over 22 years. I am a product and graduate of Dearborn Public schools. I worked for the City Of Dearborn for 4 years at the Ford Community and Performing Arts center. There, I interacted, assisted, and communicated with thousands of residents. I also volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters at Salina Elementary in South Dearborn. I volunteered throughout the community at different political events and polls whenever asked.

-What Experience do you have that would inform your role in Dearborn’s Board of Education?

I currently work as a dispatcher for the Dearborn’s Police Department. I previously worked as a youth counselor, substitute teacher, and parent educator. I have a passion to serve the public in general and our kids in particular.  With a no-nonsense approach to problem solving, I believe our school board will benefit from my experience and ability to address all challenges with logic and an open mind. I believe communication is the most effective tool used in conflict resolution. Being a good listener myself will allow me to work well with other members of the board and be a productive partner to parents, teachers, administrators and other stakeholders.

-What are your goals for Dearborn’s Board of Education?

There are many items I would like to tackle if elected to the Board of Education. Overcrowding, the need to upgrade many facilities, and, above all, ensuring safe schools are the most pressing issues at the K12 level. We also need to invest in our infrastructure and make sure it is adaptable to non-traditional learning methods, such as the current situation with COVID. This is also true of HFC as college classes may be predominantly nontraditional in the future. Budget issues will always be the utmost concern especially when state funding is at risk and college enrollment decreasing. We need to reexamine all programs in light of recent changes to continuously ensure quality education and parental involvement regardless of the method of delivery, in person or online.

Paul Goddard

Paul Goddard

-How might people know you from around Dearborn?

I’ve been actively engaged in my children’s public school experience and the community since moving to Dearborn in 2001 (from Warren).

  • Four my five children have graduated from Dearborn Public Schools; two from DHS, one from Magnet, and most recently from the Henry Ford Collegiate Program; and I’ve got a daughter in middle school now.
  • I’ve been active in the PTA — served as Treasurer for a term
  • Scouting — Den Leader, Cubmaster, and Treasurer in troops/packs 1155 and 1147; and trained Parent Volunteer in GS Troop (will have to dig up the number!)
  • Volunteered more times than I can count for numerous activities throughout the years — Fun Fair, Egg Hunts, car washes, fundraisers, Haunted School, Holiday Boutiques, etc.
  • I’m a trained Mentor in the 19th District Court’s Veterans’ Treatment Court Program under the Hon. Judge Gene Hunt

-What Experience do you have that would inform your role in Dearborn’s Board of Education?

My education includes an MBA from University of Michigan-Dearborn, but more importantly, my experience in the schools and life: besides the thousands of hours mentioned already:

  • Over two decades’ business experience including 21 years at Ford Motor Company in the Finance skill team overseeing budgets, forecasts and business plans for functions with control totals >$250 million.
  • I’ve managed global teams, and presently I’m the Learning & Development Manager over ~4,500 employees globally.
  • I had the opportunity to live in Sweden for five years to work with Volvo Car Corp. where my children attended the public schools — so I know what it’s like to have children in public schools when none of us knew the language. (I learned Swedish while there.)
  • I’m a trained Mindfulness coach, which provides a calm, measured approach to problem-solving and interrelations with others

-What are your goals for Dearborn’s Board of Education?

Several; but here are a few:

  • Return to school safely
  • Improve outreach efforts to parents of ESL students
  • Improve the relationship between administration and teachers/staff
  • Insist that every decision is made based on sound data analysis, not emotion or hearsay, and maintaining professional skepticism about the sources of data — and communicating with complete transparency about the “why” behind decisions
  • Aggressively pursue more state funding for basic educational needs as well as the aging infrastructure problem we have in our P-12 schools.
Khodr Farhat

Khodr Farhat

-How might people know you from around Dearborn?

I am known around Dearborn as an advocate, public speaker and activist for quality education, individuals with disabilities and equity for all. I am also heavily involved through attending many community functions, as well as actively engaged with many charitable organizations and with our youths and students. I immigrated to America 11 years ago without speaking one word of English. In addition, I was born blind, yet this did not stop me from pursuing my education and goals. I pursued my associate degree from Henry Ford College in special education, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I am committed to serve Dearborn, all Dearborn, with the same love, passion and eagerness to ensure everyone an equal shot and equitable opportunities. I am running to add more diversity, empower our schools with my experience and preserve our uniqueness and excellent standards.

-What Experience do you have that would inform your role in Dearborn’s Board of Education?

As an advocate, I am able to get everybody around the table for the sake of executing great results. I work everyday with our students, parents and I am always supportive of our staff and teachers. I brought about a great change to Henry Ford College and the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I am a strong fighter for inclusion, diversity and what is the best for the public interest, as my long journey in public service proves that. I bring a unique perspective to the board through representing the special education students and their families since I know what it takes to overcome all challenges. I am committed to motivate all students through stand before them as a testament of success and overcoming obstacles. As a healthcare professional, I bring care and compassion. I promise to assemble all of my resources for the betterment of our schools and students.

-What are your goals for Dearborn’s Board of Education?

I am running on an inclusive and empowering platform that is devoted to enrich our future generation and their dreams. Having said that, my goals are as the following: support our special education students through ensuring them equitable opportunities, support our English language learners, fight for our staff and teachers, support the STEAM program, tackle the stigma and challenges pertaining to mental health/substance abuse, lead a comprehensive dialogue to work on fixing our struggling infrastructure, ensure all Dearborn students are provided with equal shot, support our parents and pave them the way to be more engaged, fight for transparency, accountability and equity, maintain our great graduation rate, work to keep our college diverse, affordable and open up more opportunities for more partnerships with neighboring colleges/universities… This is a taste of who I am, and why I am honored to be your voice on the school board.

Mary Petlichkoff

Mary Petlichkoff

-How might people know you from around Dearborn?

I have been an active community member for years, beginning with Oakman Elementary PTA presidency and PTA Council V.P roles spanning more than a decade. During that time, I volunteered on many district task force and committee assignments including guiding bond developments and boundary changes along with school safety issues.

I was a City Beautiful Commissioner for 14 years and am currently an Emeritus. You would see me at every school cleanup parade over the years. I was elected a City Charter Commissioner 2005-2007. I have served as Dearborn Federation of Neighborhood Associations President for 9 years after starting up Oakman Grove Neighborhood Association. I have served two terms, total ten years, as a School Board trustee.

-What Experience do you have that would inform your role in Dearborn’s Board of Education?

As a current school board member I have the experience and understanding of the role and responsibilities that come with the “job”. I also have the tested leadership in working within a team atmosphere as the school board can only exercise authority by a public majority vote. No one member has any authority to act alone by State law. I know the history of past decisions made within the district that can be built upon for future direction of success for both HFC and Dearborn Public Schools. Both my children are graduates of Dearborn Schools and alumni of HFC. I am also up to date with all the State and Federal regulations and laws surrounding public education. I am known by all our City, State and Federal representatives from years of public involvement and continue to communicate with them when necessary.

-What are your goals for Dearborn’s Board of Education?

We have several additional challenges beyond the usual work of the Board facing us currently. This begins with finding our way back from the COVID-19 pandemic and helping our students, parents and staff either return safely back to school in person or supporting them while we wait to reopen.

We also have to provide buildings that are prepared to support the best educational environment for our students and staff. We will be looking once again to find a path to improve our school infrastructure.

The conversation will be one of financing challenges balanced against needs and priorities for building renovations and technology advancements.

(Batoul Baiz, who is also running, could not be reached after multiple attempts to contact them.)

Running for the Two-Year Term

Maali Luqman

Maali Luqman

-How might people know you from around Dearborn?

I grew up in Dearborn and went through Dearborn Public Schools system since kindergarten. I completed my bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan’s Dearborn campus and have been active in the community on many levels. I became a teacher and worked throughout the city and then pursued my master’s degree at Harvard the first Yemeni American woman from the Southend of Dearborn to pursue that path. Following my graduation, I held a leadership role at a neighboring college and then took on a highly selective fellowship with the Kellogg Foundation centered around community leadership, children, diversity and inclusion.

-What Experience do you have that would inform your role in Dearborn’s Board of Education?

I have 17 years of education related experience, starting as a tutor and paraprofessional, substitute Teacher, full time Teacher, and then an Associate Dean at a college. I was able to work with students of all levels and needs throughout these roles and also develop an understanding of the administrative side of Education. I also mentor/advise young college students about career paths and academic pursuits.

-What are your goals for Dearborn’s Board of Education?

My main goal is to ensure that every student in our district has access to equitable education opportunities and that every group in Dearborn has a voice at the table and is well represented. Proper representation better informs major decisions regarding spending, budgets, student and educator needs and paves the path for equitable quality education for all. My goals are to improve Dearborn’s board of education by participating in decisions involving budget, allocation of resources, and the improvement of infrastructure for our students and also to cultivate a deeper appreciation for the rich diversity that exists in our city by ensuring there are more efforts towards inclusion for students that are often underrepresented.

Patrick D'Ambrosio

Patrick D’Ambrosio

-How might people know you from around Dearborn?

Long-time Dearborn Resident

Children – Dearborn Schools Graduates

Founder & former CEO, Metric-Precision Tool’

Endorsed by: Mayor O’Reilly, Dearborn Fire Fighters’ Association, Police Officers’ Association of Dearborn

Henry Ford College President’s Citizens’ Advisory Council

Past President – Dearborn Exchange Club

Exchange Club Man of the Year – 2005, 2013, 2017

Fundraiser: Dearborn Public Schools (Smoke on the Grill, Dearborn One), Dearborn Animal Shelter, Dearborn Firefighters’ Burn Center, HFC Adray Golf Tournament,

Kidney Foundation, Goodfellows

Parishioner – Divine Child Catholic Church

Former Coach, Little League Football, Basketball

-What Experience do you have that would inform your role in Dearborn’s Board of Education?

My experience as a former business owner, HFC President’s Advisory Council, and fundraiser for many Dearborn charities leads me to run for School Board. As a business owner and HFC Advisor, I can bring to the Board real-world business experience and fiscal expertise. I want to give our children and grandchildren every opportunity that Dearborn has given me and my family.

-What are your goals for Dearborn’s Board of Education?

Safe Reopening of Schools

Increase State funding for the Schools and HFC. I would lobby State legislators personally. There needs to be a systematic structure for the K-12 and HFC to have students and their parents lobby as well. Additional money should be sought from private sources — businesses and foundations.

Pursue the District’s fourth national Blue-Ribbon School District Award. Expand K12/HFC Collegiate Academy and HFC Early College – a real savings for parents.

(Albert Abbas, and Sabrina Evans-Cummings, who are also running, could not be reached after multiple attempts to contact them.)