Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you stand on controversial issues?

I trust our teachers to educate our students, so I’m firmly against book banning or censorship. Like every school that prepares students for higher education and future careers, I know we need to support diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. I’m also committed to improving public health, in order to ensure our students don’t have to “pivot” to virtual learning again.

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What are you going to do about enrollment?

It’s no secret that GPPSS, like nearly every school district, has declined in enrollment in recent years. We can’t control how many children people decide to have, but we can make the Grosse Pointe school district a desirable place for young families to move. My wife and I chose this district out of many possibilities in the Metro Detroit area, so I know what new families are looking for. We need to show that GPPSS is moving forward, embracing new ideas and people, and surrounded by a welcoming community.

How will you support teachers?

Teachers have been asked to do more than ever in the past few years, and they obviously deserve higher salaries. I would encourage the administration to build in more raises and benefits in their contracts. As a board member, I wouldn’t have much say in contract negotiations, but I will always listen to teachers when they say they need something. Teachers and staff who feel supported by their administrators and community will naturally be better at their jobs, and of course we want to retain our excellent educators. I would strive for accountability and transparency from the Board, so our staff knows what to expect.

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What do you mean when you say you’ll support all students?

I want every single student to enjoy their experience at GPPSS, and feel supported to achieve their definition of success. That might be college, or athletics, or a specific career - or it might mean being able to do what you love and be with the people you love (for me, that’s the definition of success). Different kids need different supports for that journey, so I would advocate for diverse class offerings and IEP/504 accommodations. Extracurriculars also need to be equitable. While my experience is primarily with foster children and special education programs, I’d love to hear about your child’s goals and how GPPSS can make them happen.

Who has endorsed you?

I have been endorsed by numerous organizations that have a thorough vetting process, so you know my background is clean! The most important group (to me) is the Grosse Pointe Education Association, made up of representatives from teachers, paraprofessionals, support staff, and building management. Other state and national groups that have endorsed me are:

Michigan Parents’ Alliance for Safe Schools

Victory Fund

Run for Something

Campaign for Our Shared Future

I’m also a Gun Sense Candidate, a designation created by Moms Demand Action to show voters which candidates will make safe choices about gun violence.

Many members of the community have also endorsed me, such as current board trustee David Brumbaugh. If you’d like to see a full list of official supporters, click here.

Paid for by Valarie St. John for GPPSS Board of Education

1248 Maryland Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230

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