By Sue Moore
Mike Rochholz of Schoolcraft has long held an abiding interest in local government, having served in most every post imaginable in Schoolcraft. Beginning in July, he will take his knowledge to the state level as president of the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) Board of Directors.
He has served the Schoolcraft school board as trustee since 2000, taking a turn as president for five of the six years between 2008 and 2014. Coincidentally, his grandfather, Paul Sims, was school board president 50 years prior to Rochholz in 1959. He didn’t stay long at that post as Sims had purchased the PS Tavern in downtown Schoolcraft. He thought it was a conflict of interest to be in that business and on the school board, so he resigned shortly thereafter.
Rochholz moved up the ranks of the state association by serving on legislative committees in regional and statewide committees. He was involved in planning for the Kalamazoo County enhancement millage, demonstrating its impacts on schools in the area. He has constantly been advising the Schoolcraft school board on the many intricacies of what policy changes are being proposed in Lansing.
“Education is what democracy is built on. I want to be part of the discussion that leads to the best outcomes for our children and I want to help the community through other means,” Rochholz said. He served as Prairie Ronde township clerk from 2004 to 2008. He was on the zoning board of appeals in the village, Prairie Ronde Township and Schoolcraft Township. “I believe the collaborative effort is the best way to achieve results. We can do so much more by working together than being protectionist.”
The MASB board governs the association and oversees activities, establishes operating policy that furthers the mission of MASB and acts as the voice for more than 600 member school boards across the state. The focus of the MASB board is to provide quality educational leadership services and advocate for student achievement.
Rochholz has been a director of the MASB board since 2015, and had previously served as a director of that board from 2003-2007, rising to the office of president in 2007. He has been the only director in the 68-year history of the association to serve as president of the organization twice.
Rochholz has served on all of the association committees and has taken an active role in the support of educating and supporting services.
“Michael has devoted over a decade at the state level to help support elected boards of education around the state. He has a great ability to set aside regional or personal issues and look at what will help all kids or all boards and push the organization in that direction. I look forward to working with Michael over the next year as the president of this organization as he will always put the interests of the membership first,” Don Wotruba, the association’s executive director, said of Rochholz.
Rochholz has received the MASB President’s Award of Recognition; completing and exceeding the required amount of classes and education credits necessary to achieve the highest award attainable. He was appointed to the Schoolcraft Village Council in 2014, elected to the position in 2015 and re-elected to a four-year term in 2016.
MASB was officially organized in 1949 to advance the quality of public education in the state, promote high standards in providing educational programs, help school board members keep informed about education issues, represent the interests of boards of education and promote public understanding about school boards and citizen involvement.