Kyle Guerrant is a lifelong resident of East Lansing. He is also the Deputy Superintendent of Administrative Services at the Michigan Department of Education. Being on East Lansing’s School Board feels to him like a natural marriage between his private life as a father of three elementary students and his public life advocating for education.
“I left East Lansing for five years to go to school in Long Island but I always knew I would come back,” Guerrant said.
He has degrees in psychology, social work and education policy. He previously ran for a seat on the Board in 2014, and is an alumnus of East Lansing High School. He and his wife, Emily, have children in second and fourth grades.
“I believe I have the knowledge base and skill set to take the Board in a different direction than it has been going for the last five years,” he said.
In his job as deputy superintendent, Guerrant focuses on the health and safety aspects of schools across the State. He has also been working to decrease the high rate of suspensions and expulsions in high school. He has found that the issues of East Lansing are far from rare.
“I see the same thing in districts throughout the State,” he said. “It is never the buildings that make a school great, it is the staff and the teachers and the parents.”
He believes the community needs to move past the divisiveness that followed the closure of Red Cedar Elementary and allow the Board to focus its time and energy on other issues.
“The Board leadership has allowed this single issue to suck up on its focus,” he said, pointing out the need for updated infrastructure at Pinecrest Elementary School, among others, which were constructed in the 1960s and ‘70s.
“Now is the time to invest in sorely needed updates to our infrastructure,” he said. “We want an environment that is conducive to learning.”
He has seen other districts fall into problems by failing to invest in their infrastructure and he is afraid that East Lansing may be reaching that point where if they don’t invest now, it will cost them much more, farther down the road.
“East Lansing is not unique in that it has gotten bogged down by the day to day work,” he said. “What we need is a board that creates the vision and the support that the superintendent needs. We need cohesion and collaboration instead of micromanaging.”
Specifically, he would like to continue the work the Board has done on making Donley Elementary School a Title I school and also addressing health needs of the high school students, who saw two peers commit suicide in the past year.
“The schools can be successful. They just need more support,” Guerrant said.
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