The Pinckney Community Schools Board of Education has appointed a new member.

The Board interviewed three candidates at their meeting Thursday, seeking someone to fill a vacant seat. Board members asked questions regarding the applicant’s motivation for applying, qualifications and their thoughts on challenges and highlights in Pinckney schools and the state’s public education as a whole. After the interviews, board members, excluding Superintendent Rick Todd for protocol reasons, voted to appoint James Velasco Sr. to the seat. Velasco is retired with a background in mortgage consultation, skilled trades and the automotive industry. There are six children that live with him, four of whom are his own, and all attending Pinckney Community Schools.

Speaking of students and the need to involve them further in their own education, Velasco says they will always amaze you if given the tools to find motivation within. He finds that important, touching on the need to encourage “self-evaluations” instead of viewing standardized assessments as tests, adding that the outcome of those assessments have an effect on multiple levels.

Velasco says, "...when you sit down to take that self-evaluation, which we're calling M-STEP...I think that the measurable that we have in place, in that particular regard, do not necessarily show the knowledge that our students do have of the subject matter. It means a lot when you're comparing school to school and district to district, and grading teachers on something they didn't even have a hand in a lot in teaching these kids in the first place...we need to realign our curriculum and keep the curriculum changing as needed."

When it comes to making an impact, Velasco says he’d like to see more evening and afternoon school programs, more community involvement at board meetings and teaching kids how to learn with organization and executive functioning skills. Velasco will serve his term through November 2020. (DK)