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Novi School Board Candidate: George Kortlandt

George Kortlandt is one of three candidates running for two seats.

On the Nov. 8 election ballot, voters in the will vote for two candidates for a four-year term on the Board of Education.

Incumbent George Kortlandt is running against  and incumbent Bobbie Murphy. Kortlandt submitted these answers to questions asked by Patch.

Age

61

Occupation

Small business owner of Novi Financial Services.  Helping families focus on retirement planning using insurance, investments and annuities.

Current and past community involvement

 • Elected, School Board Trustee 4 TImes

 • President, Novi Board of Education ~ 2 Terms

 • Vice-President ~ 2 Terms

 • Treasurer ~ 5 Terms

 • Secretary ~ 1 Term

 • Chairman of the Finance Committee

 • Chairman of the Curriculum Committee

 • Trustee of the Novi Educational Foundation ~ 5 years

Currently on the NEF's Corps of Advisors. This is an organization that provides grants and scholarships to Novi Children and Novi teachers

 • Legislative Liaison, Oakland County’s Intermediate School District ~ 2 years

 • Certified Board Member of the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB),

     Presented the MASB Award of Merit

• Member and ordained Deacon at Faith Community Presbyterian Church in Novi for 29 years

 • Coached Novi Parks and Recreation, Western Suburban Soccer League, and Novi Youth Baseball and Novi Parks and Recreation soccer, baseball, t-ball, and basketball,

 • Boy Scout Committeeman-Troop 407.

 • Volunteer-"Book buddies", American Red Cross, Cancer Society, Heart Association, American Kidney Association.

• Supporter-Novi Band Boosters, Athletic Boosters, Novi Youth Assistance, Senior All Night Party.

Education

Bachelors in Psychology from West Virginia Wesleyan college, SEC/FINRA licensed and licensed by the state in insurance

Family

Married to Patricia for over 35 years with three terrific children and now three delightful grandchildren. Rowan age 3 ½ year old, Cain 10 months old, and Carly just 7weeks old.

Do you or did you have children in Novi schools?

All three of our children attended Novi Schools from Kindergarten through Novi High School. Heather class of ’97, Craig class of ’99, and Scott class of ’02.

How long have you been a Novi resident?

29 years

Why are you running for the Board of Education?  

REASON NO. 1: We have a new and talented Superintendent and an entirely new cabinet of Administrators who are bringing energy and enthusiasm to our great district. But our four new administrators have only a combined total of 12 months of Novi experience. No other candidate has the combined knowledge of Novi’s history and heritage to share with our new administrators. I look forward to sharing my knowledge with them to help elevate Novi Schools to even higher levels of student achievement.

REASON NO. 2: I am dedicated to community involvement and public accessibility. My fellow board members and many of you have commented on how I am always at the school functions and always there to talk to regarding your issues. Through my efforts all regular meetings are made public by videotaping, placing on cable, and on the internet for your convenience. My pledge to Novi residents is to thoughtfully consider the issues presented, review all materials provided, research all points of view, listen to public input and make decisions based on what’s best for our children’s education.

REASON NO. 3: I am proud that I have built a strong reputation for fiscal conservatism over the years, without sacrificing Novi’s status as a premier school district in the state of Michigan. Our state continues to suffer economically, and our funding from Lansing continues to decline. I understand the need to be fiscally responsible, while keeping our children’s education as a top priority. I have helped protect our schools from facing the severe budget cuts and massive layoffs that surrounding districts have been forced to implement.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing the school district? How would you handle them?

No. 1:  It’s imperative that we focus on instructional quality and academic excellence for all our students.  We need to minimize academic “gaps” among our diverse population. We need to develop high-quality educational programs and choices for our parents and students.  

No. 2: I am proud that I have built a strong reputation for fiscal conservatism over the years, without sacrificing Novi’s status as a premier school district in the state of Michigan.

I understand the need to be fiscally responsible, while keeping our children’s education as a top priority.  I have helped protect our schools from facing severe budget cuts and massive layoffs during the state’s tough economic times.

No. 3: We have a new and talented Superintendent and an entirely new cabinet of Administrators.  I look forward to sharing my knowledge, history and heritage with them to help elevate Novi Schools to even higher levels of student achievement.

If elected, what are some of your goals for the school district?

Recently I worked with the Superintendent and his cabinet and my fellow board members in a series of Board meetings where we all came to a consensus as to what we wanted the district’s goals to be. Every member of our district team should be taking a focus on their role in accomplishing these four goals. They are as follows:

Goal One:  The Novi Community School District will ensure that each student will make no less than one year’s growth in one year’s time.

1.     Create a robust internal accountability system.

a.      Reach consensus on specific assessments in math and reading that can be used in grades K-12 to measure yearly growth.

  • Due December 2011

b.     Create a framework for measuring yearly growth in science, social studies, and writing that will begin to be used starting in the 2012-2013 school year.

  • Due April 2012

c.      Create a mechanism to report yearly growth to stakeholders (students, parents, community members, teachers, administrators, and the Board of Education).

  • Due June 2012

2.     Measure yearly student growth with the NWEA.

a.      Pre-test all students in grades 1-8 with the NWEA in September 2011 and identify a growth goal for each student.

  • Due October 2011

b.     Post-test all students in grades 1-8 with the NWEA in May 2012 and identify the growth or progress each student made in the 2011-2012 school year.

  • Due June 2012

c.      Provide a parent report with specific actions steps for students in grades 1-8 based on the NWEA that will identify specific learning activities that can be done over the summer. 

  • Due June 2012

3.     Staff the Office of Academic Services, within the existing budget parameters, to provide the appropriate support to meet our yearly growth goal.

a.      Create a Student Growth and Accountability job description and corresponding budget analysis for Board of Education review.

  • Due October 20, 2011

b.     Post and hire Student Growth and Accountability position

(Subject to prior Board approval following completion of above)

  • Due December 1, 2011

c.      Analyze the needs within the Office of Academic Services and bring to the Board of Education additional items for discussion and implementation as appropriate and needed.

  • Quarterly Reports

4.     Create opportunities for teacher and administrator professional development outside of the school day.

a.      Create a Summer Institute for teachers and administrators to focus on improving instructional practice.

  • Due summer 2012.

b.     Analyze opportunities for teacher and administrator professional development and implement and fund as appropriate and needed.

  • Ongoing

c.      Evaluate opportunities that are created throughout the school year – (e.g. Teacher Development/Late Start Days)

  • Quarterly Reports

Goal Two:  The Novi Community School District will ensure that all students achieve at a high level. (There will be no achievement gaps.)

1.     Build a comprehensive K-12 plan for addressing the needs of students performing below grade level.

a.      Create a system that provides for classroom and out-of-classroom support with input from teachers and administrators. (Pyramid of Intervention)

  • Due March 2012

2.     Create opportunities for students to receive additional academic support.

a.      Start Saturday enrichment blocks in cooperation with the Department of Community Education open to all students but with a focus on students who need additional skill development.

  • Due February 2012

b.     Start two-week summer enrichment blocks in cooperation with the Department of Community Education open to all students but with a focus on students who need additional skills development.

  • Due Summer 2012

3.     Staff the Office of Academic Services, within existing budget parameters, to provide the appropriate support to monitor and support our goal of high achievement for all.

a.      Create a Title I/Title III and ESL Supervisor job description and corresponding budget analysis for Board of Education review.

  • Due October 20, 2011

b.     Hire the Title I/Title III and ESL Supervisor position. (Subject to prior Board approval following completion of above)

  • Due December 1, 2011

c.      Analyze the needs within the Office of Academic Services and bring to the Board of Education additional items for discussion and implementation as appropriate and needed.

  • Ongoing

Goal Three: The Novi Community School District will evaluate and enhance opportunities for students while maintaining a minimum 10% fund balance. This goal is intended to be program neutral, funding neutral and class size neutral, it being understood that it is possible to reduce or cut programs in order to create or enhance other programs which provide better opportunities for students, while still complying with this goal.

1.     Engage in a comprehensive review of current programs.

  • Create a rubric to provide a cost/benefit analysis of programs/clubs/activities.
    • Due December 2011
    •  Make recommendations on any changes in time for the 2012-2013 budget process.
      • Due February 2012

2.     Develop a FY 2012-2013 budget plan that does not increase overall average class-size and maintains existing funding levels for instructional and extracurricular programs

  • Due March 2012

3.     Create a multi-year budget to aid in the process of budget planning and forecasting

  • Due March 2012

Goal Four:  The Novi Community School District will improve organizational quality and customer service by creating common standards, systems, and principles.

1.     Analyze Central Office and Community Education functions and processes to improve effectiveness and service.

  • Due as soon as practical

2.     Evaluate processes and procedures of teacher and administrator evaluation to comply with new legislation.

  • Due May 2012

3.     Create a comprehensive process to solicit feedback from all stakeholders on district programs and processes consistent with the district/superintendent goals.

  • Due February 2012

4.     Create a comprehensive district communications strategy.

  • Due May 2012

Why should residents in the Novi school district vote for you? 

I have had the honor and privilege to serve you as a Trustee on the Novi Board of Education for over 16 years.  I am asking you for your continued support and vote when I seek another 4-year term at the November 8 general election.

We’ve been through a lot, together, during my years of service.  I hope you are as proud as I am of our great, nationally-acclaimed school district.

I love the Novi Community School District.  I enjoy watching our children perform at their best during athletic contests, musical performances, theatrical events and robotic competitions.  I am dedicated to the Novi Community, and I want to maintain – and grow – the educational excellence that has made our district the crown jewel of our great City and our state.

Many of you have asked me to run for elected office again, but some of you may wonder why I would want to do so.  I believe the current fiscal challenges facing this district require someone with experience, someone with knowledge of both this district's operating budget and its long-term pursuit of academic excellence, and someone who knows how and why we got to the high level we have achieved. Someone who knows what the people of Novi expect.

I believe I am well suited to meet those requirements with my 16 years of experience and knowledge.

How can residents contact you?

Home phone: 248-471-4366
Cell phone
: 248-797-7100
Email: gkort@sbcglobal.net
Website: www.kortlandt.org

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