Brandon School board votes in new leadership

By Shelby Stewart-Soldan
Staff Writer
Brandon Twp. —During the Monday night meeting, the Brandon board of education voted unanimously to appoint board member Rebecca Haynes as board president, Hilary Stockoski as vice-president, Kim Smith-Kulaga as treasurer and Jeff Zielke as secretary.
“I am excited to take on the role as Brandon School Board president,” said Haynes. “My love for Brandon started in 2007 when we moved to Brandon and our oldest child started school here. I have made many meaningful connections with the staff and students and genuinely enjoy working with every member of our board.”
Haynes has been on the school board since January of 2021, and stepped into the role as president which was previously held by Diane Salter, whose term ended in December of 2022.
“I am looking forward to continuing to build connections with our staff and community,” she said. “I am confident that we will make great strides with our ongoing board projects. I am also looking forward to finding the right fit for Brandon in a Superintendent while continuing to improve our curriculum to reach district goals. I love being a Blackhawk and feel honored to help lead our district.”
The board also voted unanimously to appoint Jane Derry-Burkett to the board to fill a vacant spot. Her term will be through December 2024.
“I applied for the open position on the Brandon School Board because for the last 10 years I’ve aspired to be on the board and honestly have been waiting for the right time given my family and real estate business obligations,” said Derry-Burkett.
She has served previously on boards and committees in the community including Creekfest, Ortonville Chamber, DDA Organizational Committee and Brandon Groveland Youth Assistance.
“I really enjoyed BGYA as having been a single mother in the district for 10 years, I could relate with their mission statement: strengthening youth and families through community involvement” said Derry-Burkett. “Essentially I was both. Having been a single mother I was aware of the needed support, and I also served as a community member. I’ve been on the BGYA Board since 2009, and grew in my knowledge of serving the Brandon School District with our various programming, while keeping aware of the happenings in the district and how our programming was impacting our students.”
Derry-Burkett had four children graduate from the district and currently has a granddaughter in the preschool program at Brandon.
“ I have a heart for kids and believe by educating them in a way that they will absorb and learn, enhances their lives and propels them to be productive, emotionally healthy people, and citizens,” said Derry-Burkett. “I’m anticipating there is a lot for me to learn, and with that applying my past experience and beliefs, I’m hoping I can make a meaningful contribution as a board member. I’d like to thank everyone for their kind words and support of being selected.”

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