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Candidate profile: Mary K. Bieger, Williamsville School Board

School district: WilliamsvilleMary-Bieger

Age: 38

Town (current residence): Amherst

Current occupation and/or community involvement:

I am an elementary school teacher in the Ken-Ton Schools, and a music teacher at Rolly Pollies. I am a founding member of Williamsville United for Meaningful Learning, a group formed to encourage communication among Williamsville community members through social media. I serve as a Steering Committee Member of Western New Yorkers for Public Education, a grassroots group of parents that exists to educate, inform, and bring together WNY citizens concerning many important issues facing Public Education. My children enjoy playing hockey and baseball in the Town of Amherst; my husband coaches and I enjoy my role as "team mom."

Number of years you have lived in the school district: 32

Incumbent: No

Have you run for office before? No

Please tell us about yourself:

As a mother of three, I have a vested interest in our school district as I want the best opportunities for my children to learn and grow each day. I believe in our Williamsville Schools; I believe in Williamsville teachers and students. I support public education that involves meaningful learning, educating the whole child. As a parent and teacher, I feel it is my responsibility to lead through example. I want my children and students to understand the importance of community and respecting others. Showing kindness and treating others fairly are important qualities that I strive to exhibit each day.

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

Many issues impact our school district. The Gap Elimination Adjustment denied our district nearly $35 million in state aid, impacting programming and staffing. The education reform agenda dictates curriculum and monopolizes resources. Other issues include unfunded state mandates, as well as our current ineffective and costly student assessment and teacher evaluations. All citizens - taxpayers, educators, parents, and children - have thoughts, suggestions and solutions for various issues. As a school board member, I would address any issue by listening to all community members with thoughtful consideration, fairness, and would act in representation of the will of the people.

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

Please explain why, in 100 words or less:

While I have been concerned about the direction of public education, I believe that the pendulum is beginning to swing back in favor of our students and meaningful learning. State test refusals increase each year with concerns surrounding curriculum and use of assessment. Parents are organizing and advocating for public education that celebrates, enriches and nurtures the whole child. Legislators are feeling pressure from citizens that speak in support of student learning. Our newly elected Board of Regents Chancellor will address education reform concerns voiced by the people. It is time for fair funding, less state mandates, and increased local control of decisions concerning public education.

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