Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2014 YCS Board Candidate: Mark Wilde (4-Year Term)

Read more about Mark Wilde at

Aside from the budget, what are your two top priorities for the Ypsilanti schools?

Student achievement, and increasing enrollment, and that will help solve the budget issue. Which in turn will help with teacher retention.
What ideas do you have for reducing students' out-of-school days (unexcused absences)?

Students have to want to learn and they have to want to be there.  Back in the old days we used to give students incentives for good attendance and behavior and grades. Perhaps it is time to revisit those practices.
Staff morale has been an issue in the school district. How do you think the board should monitor and respond to staff morale issues, if at all?  What ideas do you have for reducing staff turnover in the coming year?

A school board is supposed to oversee what the Superintendent is doing, it is not supposed to control anyone in the district, as such the school board needs to put measurable and enforceable milestones in place to make sure the superintendent is offering the best possible conditions available. And the board needs to make sure that the resources are available to achieve those goals.

Are you satisfied with the district’s openness and transparency to parents, employees, and community members/taxpayers? If yes, why? If no, what changes would you propose?

I have probably been to more meetings as a non-board member than almost anyone else. When you take the time and make the effort to become and remain involved then you see that the board is being open.  You have to have your own eyes open.  If you do not attend the meetings then of course you will not what see is going on.

Hindsight is perfect, but: whether you are an incumbent, or not: Name one decision that the YCS school board made in the last six months that you think was a very good decision; and name one decision that the school board made in the last six months that you wish had been decided differently.

My answer to both parts of this involve the same action.  Balanced school year.  We are no longer, and have not been for a very long time, been an agricultural society, so we no longer need the kids to be at home helping on the farm. The students have one quarter of the year off, all in a row, that is a lot of time to forget what you learned last year.  We should have longer semesters and come even closer to full year school years.  But a detractor to this is teachers need time for their own professional career development that would have to be factored in for this to be successful. And now that our schools all have functioning air conditioning it’s probably more comfortable at school than at home.
Former board members from Willow Run, Ypsilanti Schools, or Ypsilanti Community Schools: When were you a former board member? Were you appointed or elected? What did you learn from your experience on the WR, YS, or YCS board that you think would be helpful on the board now?

I was appointed to WR in November of 2001. I successfully ran to retain my uncontested seat in June of 2002. In 2006 I ran and did retain my seat. I waited until 2008 to run again and was elected. In the same vote in 2012 that I approved consolidation, some 5,000 voters said to keep me if the consolidation was not approved.  I went through some tough times cleaning up form a superintendent that was hired in 2007. I have learned about making sure you thoroughly investigate before you hire, and I have learned some of the warning signs when things start to go bad. I attended many of the professional development courses offed by the MASB Michigan Association of School Boards, effective boardsmenship like effective teachers need professional development. 

Assuming that you are elected, name one or two other board candidates that you would like to see serve beside you, and explain why.

I’m going to name two.  Don Garrett and Maria Sheler-Edwards. [Ed. Note: Maria is running for a six-year term and Don is running for a two-year term.] When Don and I were on the Willow Run board, we worked very closely together, and I learned a lot about his honesty and sincerity.  Now Maria on the other hand, when I first learned of her I was very disappointed that she had her own children in a different district, she has since corrected that, and she is has been seen actively involved in many the district events.

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