Name: Laura Wozniak
Municipality: Newtown Township
Running For: Marple Newtown School Board
Positions Held Previously: (20-plus years’ service to Marple Newtown community)
- Culbertson Elementary PTO – Active Member, Former Committee Head
- Newtown Square Petticoat League - Coach
- Marple Newtown Soccer Association - Coach
- St. Anastasia’s School Religious Education - Teacher
- Cub Scout Den Leader (Troop 315)
- Center Foundation -Young Parent Support Network Mentor (help teen mothers cultivate parenting, communication and problem solving skills.)
What are the larger issues facing the district and how would you like to see them resolved?
For more than 20 years, my husband Mike and I have been raising our five children in Newtown Square. Having been immersed in Marple Newtown for more than two decades, I can personally testify to the excellent education children are able to receive in our district. But we can and must do better. As a district, we are not living up to our potential and in the process we are not promoting our children to fully live up to their potential.
The data shows, and I have spoken with many parents who agree, that a significant portion of our students at the middle and high school levels, are not fully benefitting from the education offered in our district. We are meeting the needs of our highest and lowest performers but are falling short when it comes to the large group of students that fall somewhere in the middle.
The school board must focus on developing a detailed strategic plan with clear measurable goals. The plan needs to be data driven but it must also engage the community through various methods such as open conversations, focus groups, community meetings and online surveys. The final plan should be the product of sound research and extensive stakeholder input and should represent a shared vision for Marple Newtown.
How would you create a balance between spending taxpayer dollars and quality education?
I have more than 15 years of experience as an office manager. I am also a Pennsylvania certified teacher and the mother of five children ages 24, 22, 20, 18 and 5. I know the importance of true organization, personal responsibility, and fiscal accountability. Just as I have in my own life, we as a district must send an example to our children that quality does not equal quantity. It is possible to provide a superior education for our children while maintaining a balanced budget for taxpayers. This requires a transparent and detailed review of the budget on a monthly basis; collaborative decision making with taxpayers; and utilizing the priceless untapped resources we already have in the district for the benefit of our children, like the knowledge and expertise of seniors and the success of our alumni.
How can you improve school district and board transparency with residents?
Transparency is an area that greatly needs improvement in Marple Newtown. Open dialogue among all stakeholders is essential to building mutual trust and respect, and fostering collaborative ownership of our schools. That dialogue can occur in many ways.
As a school board member I will:
- Propose to utilize current communication networks (or create a new network if necessary) so that emails of school board meeting agendas and minutes are sent to all Marple Newtown residents on a monthly basis.
- Propose the appointment of a Board Community Liaison—a dedicated connection to Marple Newtown taxpayers who want to have a voice on the board
- Propose creating a Senior Advisory Committee and appointing a Board Senior Liaison
- Be visible in the community—regularly talk to teachers, administrators, students, parents, grandparents, other residents about what works and doesn’t work for them in the district
- Seek out ways to use untapped community resources—Survey the community to see what they believe needs to be done and ask how they could contribute
Why should residents give you their vote?
It would be a privilege to serve on the school board as a voice for children, families, and residents of Marple Newtown. As a parent, a teacher, a coach, a mentor, and business woman, I have the education, experience, and motivation needed to help guide our school system through any challenges that arise now and in the future. With your support I will strive to ensure the school board develops a detailed strategic plan for the future of education; I will foster open honest communication with you about the school district; and I will work to increase property values and strengthen our community through a better education system.
Our district has the potential to be the best in the country. We have the resources; we have the community commitment; and we have our children, who come from dedicated, intelligent, hardworking families. We should be at the forefront of education in the United States. And if I’m elected to the school board I promise that, for the benefit of our children and neighbors, I will do my best to make sure that our district lives up to its potential in order for our children to live up to theirs.
I welcome my neighbors to connect with me at LauraWozniak4MNschools@gmail.com with your ideas and concerns; I want to hear your voice, so I can be a voice for you and your children on the Marple Newtown School Board.