Oct 21, 2022 - Politics

Guide to Detroit Public Schools Community District school board race

DPSCD students asked candidates questions Wendesday night inside St. Joseph & St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

DPSCD students asked candidates questions Wednesday night inside St. Joseph & St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

There are 18 candidates vying for four open seats in this year's Detroit Public Schools Community District school board race.

Why it matters: The seven-member board serves as the school district's governing body. It approves budgets and contracts, adopts policies and works with the superintendent of a district with nearly 49,000 students.

  • Superintendent Nikolai Vitti has not faced major opposition from board members since being hired in 2017 to boost the poorly performing district.

What's happening: School board candidates are making their final pitches ahead of Nov. 8.

  • Candidates participated in a student led forum hosted by Council Pro Tem James Tate's office Wednesday night. Members of the Umoja Debate team asked questions, including how candidates would address absenteeism, allocate funding and bring kids back to the district.

Context: Four incumbents at the end of their terms are running for re-election: board president Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, vice president Deborah Hunter-Harvill, and board members Corletta Vaughn and Georgia Lemmons.

Here are the candidates:

  • Monique Bryant: Co-founder and president of The Triangle Society, a nonprofit dedicated to raising money for Cass Technical High School.
  • Regina Campbell: Nonprofit economic development leader and DPSCD volunteer who wants to bolster wraparound services to address each students' needs.
  • Richard Clement: A former substitute teacher who ran for the board in 2020. He has previous experience as a precinct delegate, candidate for state office, and political volunteer.
  • Patrice Sheree Douglas: A lifelong Detroiter and organizer for the Michigan Democratic Party.
  • Bessie Harris: Retired educator who spent 32 years with Detroit schools. She says DPSC needs to approach families dealing with truancy issues and have attendance agents in every school to establish rapport with families.
  • Ridgeley Hudson Jr: A recent MSU graduate endorsed by UAW Region 1A and AFL-CIO. Hudson has worked as a school culture facilitator and student assistant, where he knocked on parents' doors on behalf of DPSCD during the pandemic.
  • Deborah Hunter-Harvill: Currently an at-large board member who says her more than 30 years of experience as an education leader positions her well for re-election.
  • Georgia Lemmons: Incumbent running for re-election for the first time is a retired teacher. Her husband is the former board president and is also running.
  • LaMar Lemmons: Former board president who served on the board during emergency management and when DPSCD was created. He served in the Michigan Legislature and is the chief of staff to State Sen. Betty Jean Alexander. His wife is also running.
  • LaTrice McClendon: Parent of three DPSCD students who wants to bring the parents' perspective to the school board.
  • Aliya Moore: An active district parent who says she wants the district to use pandemic relief funding to partner with DDOT, Lyft and Uber.
  • Jamaal Muhammad: 26-year-old DPCSD attendance agent and member of the Nation of Islam who says he wants to inspire change in Detroit youth.
  • Angelique Peterson-Mayberry: The incumbent and board president who was first elected in 2016 is endorsed by the Michigan AFL-CIO. She works for Ford Motor Co.
  • Reba Neely: Neely was unable to be reached for comment.
  • Ida Simmons Short: An English professor at Schoolcraft College and the WCCCD, Short served on the board previously during emergency management. She ran again in 2020.
  • Iris Taylor: Former board president who lost her re-election campaign in 2020. She is now endorsed by UAW Region 1A and Michigan AFL-CIO.
  • John Telford: The former interim superintendent before being fired by a state-appointed emergency manager, he wants to enhance the extra curricular opportunities.
  • Corletta Vaughn: She was elected to the board in 2018 and is a pastor at Holy Ghost Cathedral Church.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Detroit.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Detroit stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Detroit.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more