DAVISON — It’s a crowded spate of candidates on the ballot this year for the Davison Board of Education with nine residents seeking three seats in the Nov. 3 election.
Incumbents Kathleen Sudia, Mark McGlashen and Granger Stefanko will face challengers Elizabeth Guzak, Barry Young, Stephanie Pickell, Mike Demas, Nicholas Goyette and Kyle Robinson in the upcoming election
Here is what the candidates had to say in response to our questionnaire:
Mark McGlashen, Age: 62
Education: 1976 Davison High school graduate, attended Mott community college
Accomplishments: I have worked at ABC12 TV for 43 years having won many awards including 8 Emmy awards during my career. I have served on the Davison board of Education for 22 years. I am currently the board’s Vice President and Chair of the Building and Grounds Committee which directs the current Bond projects. I helped create the DTV program for the Davison community.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? My mother Pat, a retired Davison teacher, taught me the value of education and commitment to your community. I would continue to make sure that we are providing the best education possible for our Davison students.
I want to thank this community for the support that they have shown in passing our bond projects. As chairperson of the bond oversight committee, I will help ensure that all the bond money is carefully spent to support the needs of our great community for years to come.
Granger Stefanko, Age: 29
Education: Davison Community Schools, Class of 2009; BA from Michigan State University, Class of 2013
Accomplishments: Project Manager for DCC Construction, Current School Board Member
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? Continuing to develop the programs that have the most real-world impact on students is one of my priorities. This includes personal finance courses, college prep classes, as well as training for technical trade programs. Students need to be prepared for life outside of school and that includes a well-rounded education outside of the standard “common core” curriculum.
In addition, I plan on continuing to develop the school bond projects with the district. The updates that are happening are not just updates to the schools’ infrastructure, they are benefitting the programs at Davison that need the most attention by updated classrooms, equipment, and technology.
At the heart of a strong community is a successful school district, and I believe Davison is just that. A prosperous school district not only has a positive impact on students, but on the community.
Kathleen L. Sudia, Age: No response
Education: B.S. and M.A in Education from Central Michigan University
Accomplishments: Currently serving as Board of Education President. Co-founded and served for many years as the Board of Education representative on the Advisory Curriculum Council. Restoration of Central Elementary, addition of classrooms, libraries, the building of Hahn Intermediate and the current bond projects. Overseeing the phenomenal district growth to become the premier school system of Genesee County.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? Keeping our staff and students safe; Continue to fight for equitable funding for our schools; Continued transparency and keeping the lines of communication open with the public; Ensuring that every student feels connected; Overseeing appropriate expenditures of the bond projects.
Barry Young, Age: 55
Education: University Of Michigan — Flint, Bachelors of Applied Science degree (9/83 — 12/86); Courses in mathematics (Calculus I & II), Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Programming (Pascal, COBOL, Dbase, Oracle, Visual Basic, C++, LabView), English, Economics, Leadership and Management skills (8/89 — 12/00); Mott Community College, Associates degree in Electronics Technology (1/87 — 6/88).
GPA 3.87 (High honors). 784 hours in computer hardware and software (Including Motorola 68000 and 6800 microprocessors). Circuit design and debug in telecommunications, digital and analog. Technical writing and calibration of various equipment.
Accomplishments: Coached youth sports in Davison, coached boxing and MMA, Shainin Journeyman – Certified by Shainin LLC, Livonia, MI, Mott Community Professor in the Electronics program.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? My goal is to implement any ideas that move Davison schools to the forefront of education, sports and community involvement while also keeping the taxpayer in mind guiding decisions to the most cost-effective solutions.
Mike Demas, Age: 57
Education: Master of Arts in American History, Pace — Gilder/Lehrman Institute of American History; Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, Eastern Michigan University; Master of Arts in Teaching, Wayne State University; and Bachelor of Science/ Business Minor, Western Michigan University
Accomplishments: My educational background and over 25-year career as a teacher have led to many experiences and accomplishments. I have successfully worked closely with teachers, administrators, students and parents. I have served on and led teams and committees instituting positive change in learning, curriculum design and school policy. I have sought out professional opportunities that have enriched the lives of young people. Notably, I attended workshops and seminars to study at such important landmarks as Pearl Harbor, Gettysburg, Philadelphia and Mount Vernon. I have walked the beaches, battlegrounds and cemeteries of Normandy, France to honor our great veterans. While I mainly have shared these amazing experiences with students, more recently, I have given back to the local community being a lecturer at Mott Community College’s Friday’s at Applewood Lecture Series.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? I am running for the Davison School Board because I have a passion for education and want to give back to the community I have been a part of for many years. I want to provide a new and fresh voice for the people of the Davison School District. As a long-standing Davison resident and homeowner, I want to help continue the quality of education known to Davison and make sure the curriculum reflects and meets the needs of the community. I am committed to fiscal responsibility in spending taxpayer money. I will keep open lines of communication and listen to the needs of all parents and members of the community in decision-making. I believe in providing a quality education for learners of all backgrounds and maintaining a safe and secure environment for learning. I am a strong supporter of Davison’s excellent sports and extracurricular programs. I ask for your vote in this coming November 3rd election.
Elizabeth A. Guzak, Age: Young at heart
Education: Masters in Biblical Counseling
Accomplishments: Mother of 5 grown children; Two who still attend Davison High school, finishing their last year in the Dual Enrollment program with Mott Community College. Aside from being a homemaker, over the past 28 years, I have been host to numerous foreign exchange and college students; with involvement in community outreach and multiple overseas short term missions projects as coordinator and team leader, while being responsible for the planning, fundraising and budget of outlay and expenses.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? It had been brought to my attention that the City of Davison is permitting a marijuana store to be located approximately one mile from the high school, middle schools and elementary school within the city limit. I have found there has been little opposition or awareness on the concerns and dangers of this issue to our students. As well as the enormous $71 million tax bond that has recently placed an additional burden upon already high taxes of home and property owners in the district. Due to these and various other concerns, I was encouraged to run for a position to the Davison School Board. To confront these challenges, some of my primary goals would be:
• Focus upon having a safe and drug free environment in the schools, making for the best possible conditions for our students to learn, grow and thrive.
• Bring support for prayer back into our schools where possible
• Financial integrity, transparency and responsibly applied to the new $71 million bond and other revenues, with efforts and focus to strategically control expenditures, while maximizing essential outlay into areas most needful and effective, minimizing burden upon already highly encumbered taxpayers.
• Support and encourage community, equity, promoting value and great potential of each and every student within the Davison School System
• To work alongside Board members and officials in every way possible to keep Davison Community Schools as a leader in safe, ethical education for children, continuing to develop it as a district that is regionally recognized for being a highly desirable location to educate our children.
Stefanie Pickell, Age: 37
Accomplishments: Local Business Owner; Pick of the Hill Daycare of Davison Township, mom to three children, wife to John Pickell.
Education: Degree in Healthcare Administration, Early Childhood Development. Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) License.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? I decided to run because I feel it is time for some major changes on the Davison School Board. I believe that ’change’ starts with electing board members who are transparent, listen to the public and are not puppets. We’ve had the same people uncontested for three decades, which unfortunately has led to a cronyism style operation. You should “Pick” Pickell because I will work to protect the health and safety of students and teachers, ensuring students taking classes both virtual and in-person are given the skills to succeed, increase board transparency to guarantee the public is heard, spend the taxpayers’ bond money properly and make decisions as an “independent thinker. I’ve had the opportunity to spend my career working with children, including those with disabilities. I understand that every child deserves the best education and a shot at the real world, no matter their challenges. You’ll notice when I announced my candidacy in the press, I was by myself and not running on a slate. The incumbents for this board all announced together in one picture. This is what I’m talking about. I’m not beholden to anyone but you, the voter. Together, we will break up the good ol’ boys and return the Board to the public.
Nicholas D. Goyette, Age: 30
Education: DHS Diploma, B.A. in Law & Politics from Siena Heights University.
Accomplishments: Student Athlete graduating Cum Laude from Siena. Political Consultant/ Business Owner, Nomadic Operative LLC.
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? My aim is to ensure that the students of Davison High School are well equipped for success and the school is geared to provide the best framework to support that outcome. Using my experience from Davison High School, University and the political realm nationwide, I will maximize young Davisonites opportunities and potential to achieve.
Kyle Robinson, Age: 28
Education: Kearsley High School, Mott Community College, Central Michigan University
Accomplishments: Father of two, business owner in Davison Community, Series 7, Series 66, VA Life and Annuities, Certified Personal Trainer and organized charitable event “Fleece &Thank You”
Tell us what your goals are for the community if elected? It is my belief that a school board member must be approachable, responsive and act with integrity. As a local business owner, I know how important it is to be an active listener before giving advice or making decisions. I want parents, staff, students, and community members to know that I will listen respectfully before I form an opinion or make decisions.
Too often, people run for these positions because they have a specific agenda or issue that they want to address. My efforts as a board member would center on serving ALL children of the district and their families. We are a diverse community and as a parent of young children, I understand how important it is that every student is nurtured in the way that best supports their unique needs, whether that be opportunities for acceleration or access to additional assistance.
It must be mentioned that the primary role of the school board is to adopt and oversee the annual budget. Unfortunately, many aren’t equipped to do so. There are very few people that have worked in a field that requires them to budget funds on such a large scale. I believe that it is critical that members are able to create a long-term plan and maintain a system that supports the success of students based on fiscal responsibility. With my background as a financial advisor, I would provide the necessary experience and leadership to keep the district financially sound.
Lastly, I want to emphasize that I can be trusted to be reliable, collaborative, positive and data driven. Without measurable results, we cannot know that the time and money being spent is helping our students reach the standards we’ve established. It would be an honor to serve the community in this role and one I do not take lightly.
The Genesee County View will run more candidate profiles next week for the various races through the county.