The current Marlington school board president, Mark Ryan, is running for his fourth term of office with running mate Thomas Hippely. The Grand Duke staff made sure the candidates were asked the same questions to ensure an unbiased nature. The staff interviewed Mark Ryan personally to discover the unanswered questions for the public. The interview commenced as followed:
When asked why Mr. Ryan is running, he responded with, “As a taxpayer and father of eight, I have an interest in the betterment of the school district in fiscal and educational matters.” He followed this with “I want to see the district continue the many fine innovations and improvements in the district. Our administration team has dedicated themselves to providing a great education with the limited resources the district has available.”
Furthermore, when questions regarding his family arose Mr. Ryan commented, “ Five of my children have graduated from Marlington, and three are still in the school: one high schooler, one middle schooler, and a second-grader. I generally hear positive remarks in terms of education. The staff and administration are very professional and do not let any differences of opinion affect their duties in the classroom.” When prompted further he added, “My wife and children all support my role on the board. My wife especially is my biggest cheerleader and sounding board.”
TGD: What about Marlington caused you to want to settle and raise a family here?
MR: “We settled in Marlboro years ago because of the rural setting and strong family values that permeate throughout the area.”
TGD: How are you able to balance your family life with work?
MR: “It can be difficult at times, but balance is achieved by prioritizing all activities by how they relate to God, family, and community.”
TGD: How does your faith play a role in making decisions for the school district?
MR: “I believe that my faith guides my decision-making process by focusing on facts and truth, and then making wise decisions.”
Mr. Ryan is heavily involved with the Marlington community. He is involved in Sacred Heart of Mary Church, Regina Coeli Church, Alliance Area Ulster Project, 4-H, and Chupacabra Canoe. While his family is involved with many Marlington center activities such as; sports, choir, plays, and extracurricular academic programs. As a result of the multiple organizations his family participates in, Mr. Ryan often finds himself involved with support and volunteer activities centered around athletic boosters and assisting at different events for the district.
In response to questions regarding voter demographics, Mr. Ryan described that he represents “the families of future, present, and past children in the district.”
The district faces many problems inside and outside the school. The Grand Duke team asked Mr. Ryan specific questions regarding the present issues.
TGD: What are two-three ways you plan to improve the district?
MR: “I plan on keeping the district moving forward by supporting technology upgrades, teacher continuing education, and diverse education opportunities for students.”
TGD: What are your thoughts on consolidation into one elementary school?
MR:”Consolidation benefits the district in terms of combining educational resources into one building and saving money by eliminating operating costs from multiple buildings.”
TGD: Why do you think enrollment has been decreasing?
MR: “Enrollment has been in a steady decline since 1977/78, the furthest year with such records. Enrollment is a function of family size and the general population shift to outside of the area.”
TGD: How do you plan to improve enrollment?
MR: “Open enrollment has curtailed some of the declining overall enrollment numbers. Improvements and opportunities in our educational offerings could further bolster open enrollment, thus reversing overall declining enrollment.”
TGD: Do you support school levies to try and build new schools?
MR: “Citizens have voted twice against a levy to build a new primary school. So, at this time, I am not supportive of another levy.”
TGD: What are your plans to address current issues inside the school, such as bullying?
MR: “We have a bullying policy in the school board hand book and student hand book. It has been enforced by the administration and reported to the board as prescribed. I encourage continued and vigorous enforcement of that policy.”
TGD: How do you feel about the other candidates running?
MR: “They are fine people wanting the best for the community and students.”
TGD: What would you like to tell the people- specifically the students?
MR: “Make the best and most of your opportunity at school. The experience you have at school impacts your life for many years to come.”