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Ahee

Board elects Dindoffer president


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Left, Superintendent Tom Harwood, right,shakes hands with Judy Gafa after administering the Oath of Office. Gafa won reelection to the board in November. Right, Harwood administers the Oath of Offi ce to Cindy Pangborn during Monday’s Regular Meeting the Grosse Pointe Public School System Board of Education. Pangborn serves as a trustee of the board. Photos by Renee Landuyt

January 31, 2013
Judy Gafa admitted she saw it coming. Though, the expectation didn't lessen the disappointment of Monday's Regular Meeting of the Grosse Pointe Public School System Board of Education, an organizational meeting, during which the board denied Gafa a second term as president, electing instead Joan Dindoffer as its leader for the new year.

"This was not a surprise to me," said Gafa, who failed reelection by a 4-3 vote. Tom Jakubiec, Cindy Pangborn, Brendan Walsh and Dindoffer were the dissenting votes.

"I had an in-depth conversation yesterday with one of the trustees and was well aware of how he felt about my duties and failures as a board president."

Some board members weren't shy to publicly voice those failures at the meeting.

Jakubiec and Pangborn criticized Gafa's failure to engage all board members in conversations and committees, her inappropriate handlings of specific situations and her behind-the-scenes "shenanigans," namely, Pangborn said, "shenanigans" pertaining to a special meeting about residency held around the November school board election.

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Walsh, taking a less personal approach, cited the board's failed moments of promise to greater adherence to district goals, the continuous improvement plan and from a technology standpoint, as well as its need for a new direction.

"I think (Dindoffer) brings a skill set that would allow us to move into some different directions," Walsh said. "These are decisions that I know I, for myself, can say I'm making that are in the best interest of the district."

This is Dindoffer's second time as president. A veteran board member of 15 years, she previously served as president from 2002 to 2004.

"I'm appreciative of the trust that's been placed in me, and I look forward to a great new year working with all of the board members in a collaborative fashion to prepare our students for the 21st Century," said Dindoffer, who earned a 6-1 vote, with Roeske the lone dissenter.

Serving alongside Dindoffer are: Dan Roeske, vice president; Lois Valente, secretary; Walsh, treasurer; and Gafa, Pangborn and Jakubiec, trustees.

Gafa "respectfully declined" the vice presidency position.

"I feel I've served this past year with honor and integrity," Gafa said. "When you're a board member, it's imperative to know the policies and procedures of this board, to be able to serve on some of the things you want to serve on. I feel that some members didn't necessarily understand that and, as board president, I made that choice. I live with that choice, I'm very proud of how I behaved this past year."

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