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Candidate profile: Zachary S. Smith, Cheektowaga-Sloan School Board

Zachary-SmithSchool district: Cheektowaga Sloan

Age: 51

Town (current residence): Cheektowaga

Current occupation and/or community involvement: Machine Shop Supervisor

Number of years you have lived in the school district: 18

Incumbent: No

Have you run for office before? Yes

If yes, please list your election history:

I ran for Cheektowaga Sloan School Board in 2014 and 2015. This will be my third try.

Please tell us about yourself:

I have been a machinist for twenty five years. For the last 17 years I have worked at Servotronics and am now Machine Shop Supervisor. I regularly attend all School Board meetings. I have been attending for over 13 years. I bring common sense ideas that will improve the school and the school environment for all the children as well as my own daughter who is in sixth grade at JFK Middle School. When you attend meetings regularly, you learn what is really happening in our school district, you see what is good, you see what needs improvement and you discover the things they don't want you to know.

Please describe the top issues facing your school district and how you would address them as a school board member:

Improving the school environment at 100 year old Woodrow Wilson School. For many years our children were exposed to lead and asbestos from the peeling paint and crumbling concrete in the bathrooms and locker rooms on the first floor. I strongly objected to the Board and only then did they finally start to address the problem. But more needs to be done in the Capitol project. You can hear that discussion on You tube search for Cheektowagasloanboard. I also know that more can be done to watch every dollar so the students can have textbooks that are not from the 1990's. There is so much more but space here is limited.

Do you think public education in New York is headed in the right direction? Yes

Please explain why, in 100 words or less.:

I think public education is headed in the right direction. I believe that New York State adopted the Common Core Standards because it will bring the US in line with the rest of the world. We were falling behind. In the beginning the testing was excessive but now is scaled back, and the initial rollout was rushed and not well planned out. I think improvements from NY State are happening and need to continue. Additionally, they must stop the unfunded mandates. We must boost public and parental involvement in the schools.

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