Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education Candidate Mario Clopton-Zymler
Education: A.B.D. Doctor of Education in Ed. Leadership, Ohio University; Master of Music in Choral Conducting, California State University, Los Angeles; Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Capital University
Current Occupation: School Principal Intern (Administrative Intern)
The School District has made a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and educational equity. Do you agree with this commitment? If yes, what would you do as a Board member to support those values and promote student success?
I do agree with this commitment and will also advocate for anti-racism. I intend on using my experience as a teacher and instructional leader to advocate for the revision of our education equity policy to include gender neutral language, a commitment to anti-racism, and the understanding of the intersections of identity and privilege. I will continue to advocate in policy and practice for respect and inclusion for our trans students from all faculty and staff including the recognition of pronouns, gender identity, and name of choice. And I will advocate for more effectiveness in special education services. I will also work to advocate against discriminatory practices against the young women in our schools as related to dress code violation.
Regarding the Community Learning Center (“CLC”) that the School District and some community partners are implementing at Noble Elementary School, how would you as a Board member support the CLC and encourage the Noble community to utilize its wraparound social and medical services?
A CLC is an equity tool. The entire concept of CLCs depends on spread (growth) and depth (commitment to change). As a Board member I will support the funding of the CLC model to include qualified staff and I will insist on comprehensive and regular needs assessments. I will also ensure a community organizing framework is utilized in outreach efforts. Innovation and perseverance is key when working to connect with marginalized families. I will also support anti-racism efforts as part of the commitment to change in mindset and practice that is necessary for the success of initiatives like CLCs. I will encourage the collection of qualitative and longitudinal statistical data to enhance our understanding of CLC impact on student learning.
What actions do you think the Board should take to maintain the fiscal health of the School District? How would these actions affect the quality of its academic and extracurricular offerings?
First, we must be open, honest, and transparent with the reporting of fiscal matters. I will call for the CHUH School District to be added to the Ohio Checkbook. Repurpose the current Lay Finance Committee or create a new Finance and Audit Committee appointed to provide community transparency in the District’s financial planning and control. Complete a third-party, independent and targeted fiscal performance audit on expenditures. I will also advocate for an audit and justification of administrative positions and salaries. The Board and unions together must continue to find health care cost savings. These actions provide transparency and accountability & are intended to have little negative impact on academics or extracurricular offerings.
What role should environmental considerations play in the Board of Education’s policies and actions?
The environment should play a significant role in Board policy and actions. Inherent in environmental considerations is the health and safety of our students. The maintenance of our HVAC systems must be consistent, and we must assure our systems are aligned with ASHRAE Guidance and CDC’s recommendations for maintaining a healthy environment. Further, I would advocate for updating our anti-idling policy, adding specific time limits to bus idling, and a district policy on short and long term environmental sustainability. There are measurable health benefits to our students, staff, and community as well as cost savings benefits to our tax payers in thinking sustainably about our school operations.
What challenges or opportunities do you think are presented by the School District’s continued ownership of properties that are no longer used for classroom purposes?
An opportunity exists for our community to adopt an initiative like "Forward Together" in Shaker Heights where the City, School and Library Boards do a comprehensive assessment of how best to utilize facilities and streamline operations. This type of intergovernmental cooperation may add improved resources to support student learning, relieve some tax burden, and make our buildings more cost and energy efficient. There also exists great potential to cooperatively utilize shuttered buildings for shared maintenance depots. The Wiley site would be great for intergovernmental multi-purposed space. I've also heard several UH residents share they'd like access to more public indoor recreation facilities.