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WMUK reached out to each of the candidates running for Board of Education in Kalamazoo and Portage. Here you can listen to interviews with the four candidates who are actively campaigning in Kalamazoo, and one candidate from Portage.

An Interview With KPS Board Candidate Jermaine Jackson

Sehvilla Mann

"It was counselors that literally saved my life," Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education candidate Jermaine Jackson says. Jackson, who has worked for KPS as a paraprofessional educator and a bus driver, says that if he's elected to the Board he'll work to increase the role of counselors in students' lives. 

"When I was just drowning in having failing grades and my counselors and teachers really knew my potential was beyond failure, and that I could do better than what I was doing, I was one of those kids that was put out of the school and had to go to the alternative schools and that's where my turnaround happened. But it was because of counselors talking to me and saying, 'Jermaine, you're better than this,  you can do this,'" he said.

In an interview with WMUK, Jackson explains why he believes the district has a problem with bullying and what the district can do to improve student outcomes, particularly the graduation rate for minority students, which he calls "very low." He also discussed teacher salaries and the district's approach to security.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.