By DANIEL HERATY
HEIGHTS – A new member has joined the Dearborn Heights School District No. 7 Board of Education.
Cary Thompson, a graduate of Annapolis High School and a Royal Oak firefighter since 1998, was appointed unanimously by the board members during their regular meeting July 18.
“I think it’s an excellent opportunity,” Thompson said. “If we make a strong school district, we can make our city stronger and make our community stronger.”
Thompson, who is a former chiropractor, will fill the remaining term vacated by Christine Kowalski, who resigned July 1. School Board President Philip Shannon said Thompson will serve on the board until the election Nov. 8.
Thompson said he already plans on running for the position.
Thompson said his own experiences convinced him education is the most important gift to give children. He also said working together is the key to success.
“If you have strong security, like the police departments and the fire departments, and then you have a strong school system that can provide safety for everybody, then it creates a strong district, a strong city,” he said, adding that the students’ performance in the classroom reflects on the district.
“As they succeed, we succeed,” he said.
Thompson said that his experience in writing grants while working at the Fire Department gave him a leg up on the other candidates, including a $2.5 million grant that saved jobs with the Royal Oak Fire Department.
“There’s so much money out there in grants, it’s something we need to apply for and help out,” he said. “As a school district, you’re being asked to do more with less, and that’s where the grants will be very beneficial to the school district.”
Shannon said while interviewing Thompson that he might have to attend classes on public education held by the Michigan Association of School Boards. Thompson said that he was not only willing, he was looking forward to the opportunity.
“There’s always trends, and as adaptability comes along, you always have to be able to adapt to incoming ideas and trends in education,” he said.
Thompson said he has no immediate goals for office, other than getting to know his new surroundings.
“I just want to learn what the meetings are about and how to make my way through and make friends with the board members,” he said. “I want to get a good, strong working relationship with everybody.”
The other candidates were former district employee Vickie Bracken and social worker Cathrine Bunker.
(Daniel Heraty can be reached at [email protected])