We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to meet the candidates running for election on Nov. 3, 2015.
Compiled by Ronni Newton
We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to “Meet the Candidate” – designed to help them get to know the candidates running for office in the Nov. 3, 2015 municipal election.
Identical questionnaires have been sent to all major party candidates, and each profile received has been submitted directly to We-Ha.com by the candidate or the candidate’s campaign management. The responses have not been edited but have been formatted to match our publication style. Questions left blank have been deleted.
As profiles are received, they will be published on We-Ha.com under the “Government” tab. We-Ha.com is not making endorsements of any political candidates but we are publishing this information in order to assist West Hartford voters in being informed and prepared when they go to the polls on Nov. 3.
If you are a candidate and wish to submit a profile, please return it by email to Ronni Newton at [email protected] ASAP.
Name: Mark Zydanowicz
Party, position seeking: Republican, Board of Education
Family information: Mark resides in West Hartford with his wife Nella and their three children, all who attend West Hartford public schools.
Other occupation, if applicable: Professionally, Mark was an owner and third generation family member of Guida’s Dairy, employing 260; it was one of the largest independent dairies in New England which was founded by his grandfather in 1947. However, recently the family sold the business where Mark helped transition with the new ownership. Zydanowicz business experience provides him with the acumen vital to understanding the importance of solid leadership and accountability to staff and clients; characteristics he considers critical in any role. He has 24 years of experience in the Connecticut Army National Guard. An Iraq war veteran where he earned the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star.
Political experience: Mark has served 3 years on the Board of Education and also served as a commissionaire on the Zoning Board of Appeal and a member of the Republican Town Committee.
Why are you running for office? I believe education is the building blocks of our society’s foundation. With three children in the school system, I wanted to ensure our kids are provided an environment to succeed in.
What issue(s) are your primary area of focus? Our school system excels in many polls, however, we cannot rest on our laurels. One area of focus, is our test scores, albeit not the only value, I’ll closely monitor our new test results, it’s critical we manage the results and be flexible enough to adjust curriculum. However, having said that, West Hartford has been ahead of the curve on all levels of curriculum development, both previously and how it relates specifically to common core. The fact is we have such a talented administrative team, other schools systems and even the state has viewed us as subject matter experts for Common Core Standards curriculum. Our curriculum has been preparing our students for years created around rigorous curriculum prior to any Common Core Standards. Recent test results confirms our foundational work resulted in 5% higher than previous comparisons. Curriculum development in the West Hartford will continue to be a dynamic process that constantly evolving in continuous improvement model.
What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today? As a self-funded plan, our health care claims are unpredictable which significantly effects our budget. I feel a detailed forensics study by an outside firm is prudent, not only look at potential savings but options as well. For example, level funding is a simple, stable, secure way to self-fund and is a unique type of self-funding. In this structure, West Hartford would pay a fixed monthly amount to cover the costs of administration, stop-loss and claims funding. The administrator uses the money as needed to pay claims. If there’s an overage at the end of the plan year, a check to the group to reimburse any unused money. It eliminates unforeseen spikes, transferring some of the risk common in municipalities.
What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position? I’ve said it many times before, but I feel it’s critical for the board members to have children in the school system. With kids in the system, every day you get immediate feedback, first when you sit down and talk about how your child’s day went and then again when helping and going over their homework. It’s the most basic form but so important not only for your children but to get feedback on the quality of education they’re receiving daily.
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