DEARBORN HEIGHTS — Following years of dedicated involvement in the community, Leslie Windless is now vying for a seat on the D7 School Board.
A resident in the district for the last six years, Windless works at Henry Ford College as a student success navigator specializing in underserved and underrepresented youth. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in psychology from Baker College and a master’s degree in human services from Walden University. She is currently pursuing her PhD in human services from Walden University.
Her children have attended most of the schools in the district, including Annapolis High School, O.W. Best Middle School, Pardee Elementary and Madison Elementary.
Windless is one of two people running for three full-term seats on the board.
“I strongly believe that each of us must be the change we want to see,” she said. “For the last two years, I’ve faithfully participated in school board meetings via the roles of parent, stakeholder, committee member and community activist. The only other way to serve my community further is to perform the civic duty of serving as school board trustee.”
If elected, Windless said she hopes to bring her experience to the district in a more hands-on capacity.
“My goal is simply to keep the focus of every decision on what is best for our children and to act as the voice of the voiceless,” she said. “In my tenure on the board, I’d love to contribute to a steady increase in enrollment, a steady increase in the graduation rate at Annapolis High School, an inclusive district-wide curriculum and a structured shared governance model for district decision making. District 7 is already a gem in the Dearborn Heights community, so I intend to bring a closer connection to that community (stakeholders, elected officials, local businesses, etc.), which I hope in turn brings more revenue to the district. With over a decade of fundraising experience under my belt, I know that people give more (time, money, resources, etc.) when they feel more connected to an organization. We can create this culture through increasing the level of community engagement that occurs in D7. Naturally, I will also bring positive change in the areas of expulsion rates, underrepresented youth, social services, restorative practice, college/trade school accessibility and staff retention.”
Windless has been active in the Dearborn and Dearborn Heights community for a number of years, including scheduling numerous community events, serving as the chairperson of HFC’s Operations Council and as the president of HFC’s Support Staff Association (SSA) labor union, serving on the board of the Dearborn Heights Community and Cultural Relations Commission, The Guidance Center Head Start, Transforming Minds Organization, Thrive by any Means Necessary, PTO, and District 7 Schools Policy Committee. Windless is also one of three organizers for the Dearborn Heights Community Pantry programs.
“On a personal note, the titles I am most proud of are wife and mother,” she said. “Thank you to God, my husband, Colins, and our children, Angel, Alayah, Chloe and Colins, Jr., who have backed me at every turn because there is no way I could make these commitments to our community without their support. I don’t take the role of school board trustee lightly and will show this through the way I serve you. I won’t promise perfection, but I will promise to bring 100 percent to the table every time. I want anyone in the D7 community to feel comfortable bringing issues to light without fear of retaliation or nothing being done. Together, we can keep D7 the amazing district that it is.”