"Revulsion at the price paid for access to the Fisher building led voters to reject the so-called 'reform board' laid down in 1999 by the State of Michigan. Where, voter sentiment seemed to ask, was the professionalism and wisdom supposedly imbued by the Mayor-and-Governor appointed board? The backlash was swift. A proposal for an eleven member board - 7 by district, 4 at large, was floated and seemed to gain traction until it was defeated by a simpler 3-member model.
"That same voter backlash would lead to the victory of some very unlikely candidates populating the first school board. Of the initial three, only Sanderson was a Detroiter. None were so dramatically outlandish as electoral candidates, however, than Loretta Fisher. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Fisher grew up the daughter of a traveling salesman and a homemaker. A devout Southern Baptist, Loretta was raised to respect family, respect tradition, and respect hard, charitable work. These values are perhaps what enabled her to swoop into Detroit and, while barely meeting the residency minimums, secure a seat on the new School Board.
"In a time of chaos and uncertainty, Fisher brought a certain sense of stability, discipline, and rigor. While more down to earth than either of her two would-be-compatriots and her sponsor, Peter Dunderson, she had an even-keeled presence that voters seemed to want in their candidate. Her lack of history with Detroit played well in the midst of anti-insider sentiments and she played the outsider astonishingly well.
"Detroit's voters seem to have gotten this choice right, however, as almost immediately plans were laid for new schools, the districts were re-organized to break up some of the worst 'clustering of the poor' and the three went to work. The All Success Student program they launched in 2005 after winning re-election only cemented their legacy as perhaps the most effective and influential school board in Detroit's history."
---Julian Klein, All Success Students: How Detroit's Schools Escaped The EAA
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