Voters in the Saline Area Schools district will elect two members to school board in November.
Brian Woodruff, a pediatric neurologist who lives in Saline with his wife and three children, is the first to announce his candidacy.
Woodruff and his wife Amy are raising two daughters and a son who attend Saline Area Schools. Their daughters, Grace and Ella,attend Saline High School and Saline Middle School, and their son, Nate, attends Heritage Elementary School.
“My kids are the most important thing to me. One of the most important things, outside of family, is school. Beyond family, having strong schools for them is the second most important thing we can have,” Woodruff said. “They need strong, safe schools that give an education that provide for the best chance of a future for them.”
Woodruff said he has no specific issues or agenda. He’s impressed with Saline Area Schools and he wants to keep the ball rolling.
“We’ve had various opportunities to move for professional reasons and we’ve stayed because the schools are so strong. Second to that, the people who live in this community are friends, who we know mostly through the schools,” Woodruff said. “I want to help us continue to be an excellent school district.”
Woodruff said attracting teachers is an important part of the equation.
“Saline is recognized in rankings and that helps us attract the best teachers. But teacher pay is important, too,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff complimented the work of district leaders who’ve found a way to make Saline teachers among the highest paid in the state, even though the state funds the district at a figure that is close to state’s lowest funded districts.
“It’s about putting the money in the right spots and trying to be as efficient as possible. Given where we are, on the very low end of per-pupil funding from the state, I find it absolutely amazing what Scot Graden and Steve Laatsch and the administrative team have done,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff said his profession would provide the Board of Education with a unique perspective. He cares for children with various neurological and learning difficulties.
“I think I have a unique perspective on development and learning. I’m clearly not a teacher, but I work every day with kids with special needs,” Woodruff said.
His wife, Amy, is a former elementary school teacher, having taught at Woodland Meadows Elementary School.
Woodruff has a keen appreciation for public schools and teachers. He was raised by a single mother and lived in a trailer park. He went to a rural school district in the thumb.
“I had teachers who saw something, took me aside and encouraged me. I went from growing up in a trailer park in rural Michigan to being able to go the University of Michigan and go to medical school,” Woodruff said. “My parents didn’t go to college. It was teachers who saw something in me that I didn’t see. I look back and see teachers who cared and helped put me on a better path.”
This is Woodruff’s first run for public office, but he has a history of public service. He served on the Pittsfield Parks and Recreation Commission. He also served on the board of trustees for the Foundation for Saline Area Schools. He’s a member of St. Andrew Catholic Church and has been a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Saline voters will elect two trustees to six-year terms on the Board of Education in November. The terms of Karen Delhey and Scott Hummel are expiring.