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Beachwood Board of Education {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Term: 4 yearsIncumbents Dr. Brian J. Weiss, who has served on the board since 2004, and Michael Zawatsky, who has served on the board since 2013 and is the current vice president, are running for re-election. Other candidates are Maria E. Bennett, Allison Harris, and Sam Malek. The other three board members, Mitchell Luxenburg, president, Joshua Mintz, and Steve Rosen, are not running. (Luxenberg is running for mayor.)Among the Beachwood Board of Education's goals are 1) To use a continuous improvement process in support of systems and programs that promote high standards of performance and high expectations for learning, and 2) To develop a culture of accountability that relies on data, research, evaluation and assessment as tools to measure the effectiveness of programs and the satisfaction of stakeholders.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Maria E. Bennett President, CEO & Founder

  • Allison Harris

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    Sam Malek Manager/Technician Roe Dental Laboratory

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    Brian J. Weiss Podiatrist

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    Michael D. Zawatsky Financial Advisor, Chief Operating Officer

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Biographical Information

Explain why you want to serve (or continue to serve) on the Board of Education. What talents do you think you add to the board?

What are the most significant issues facing your school district and what is the most effective way to deal with them?

Rankings by the state affect how your district is perceived by residents and prospective residents. How should the board react to the state's performance index rankings for the district?

Age 44
Education MS degree in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University & BS degree in Engineering Management & Manufacturing Engineering from Miami University (OH)
Current occupation President, CEO & Founder of SPR Therapeutics, Inc., a MedTech Company commercializing its non-opioid, pain management therapy
Qualifications for office Served for more than 10 years on Corporate, for-profit Board of Directors, Served for more than 5 years on University (Miami of Ohio) and Parent Volunteer (Beachwood Schools) nonprofit, Boards of Directors, Mentored young adults in their S.T.E.M. education, entrepreneurship, and professional careers for more than 20 years in small and large MedTech companies, Founded and served as the President & CEO of a local MedTech Company since 2010, commercializing its non-opioid, pain relief therapy, Awarded over $23 million in research grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Defense, and State of Ohio to advance the Company’s research, technology, and commercialization, Raised over $35 million in private investments to support the growth of the Company, Named co-inventor on more than 25 patents and co-author on more than 20 scientific publications, Volunteered in multiple roles in Beachwood Schools, including Beachwood PTO’s active Treasurer, active Treasurer of the Beachwood Schools Support Organization, past Hilltop School PTO representative, and multiple year Room Parent, Blessed as the proud mom of Luke (7th grade) and Kyle (5th grade) and wife of Carl
Email address mbennett48@yahoo.com
Our family moved to Beachwood in 2009 to give our sons the opportunity to learn and grow in the best public schools in Northeast Ohio. I feel very fortunate to be in a position based upon my educational and professional experience to pursue a seat on Beachwood's Board of Education to serve our community. Over the past 20 years, I have been in professional and volunteer leadership positions and have served on multiple Boards of Directors in MedTech Companies, the College of Computing & Engineering at Miami University (OH), and in Beachwood Schools. In my professional role as CEO and a member of the Board of a MedTech company that I founded in 2010, I can appreciate the fiduciary responsibilities and accountability from both the perspective of the CEO and the Board. In our Schools, the Superintendent is the “CEO” and the Board is responsible for challenging and supporting the CEO and its administration to provide the best educational experience for our most important assets, our children. In growing a successful business, I can also appreciate a healthy sense of urgency to making sound decisions based upon responsible due diligence. Responsible decisions are necessary to ensure our schools are on the cutting edge of opportunities to inspire our children to find their passions and give them a strong foundation for success. My qualifications as a proven leader, inventor, author, mentor, and mother position me well to provide perspective and leadership to the School Board.
The most significant issues facing Beachwood’s school district are aging elementary schools, and similar to all US public schools, decreased state and federal funding. To maintain our schools' resources and support future growth, the schools will require funding of its operating costs and facility upgrades. To deal with these issues, the schools will continue to operate with fiscal responsibility while maintaining its high caliber education for its students. By maintaining its rankings and keeping on the cutting edge of public education, Beachwood schools will continue to create value for its tax payers and a return on their investment by maintaining property values. The schools will also help to retain long-standing residents and attract new families to Beachwood, which will support the community's stability and vitality. Another issue, similar to other districts, are the pressures that our students face associated with social media and diversity acceptance. It is important that our schools and community face these issues together through lectureships and opportunities for discussion amongst parents and students to increase awareness and support our youth through these formative years. The next few years will be critical for the Beachwood school district as we work to achieve even greater results, and a qualified and collaborative School Board will be vital in supporting our administration to move our school district continually forward.
It has been wonderful to see the many academic, extracurricular, and athletic accomplishments of our Beachwood students, and I am excited for what the future holds for them and our schools. Top rankings are beneficial to our schools in attracting and maintaining high caliber resources that provide the infrastructure to support these achievements, however, it is also important to balance the pressures of teaching for the standardized test and teaching to provide a well-balanced education. Beachwood schools have consistently ranked as one of the best in the State while also providing a well-balanced multi-cultural learning environment. This has been reflective in its many accolades. In 2015, Hilltop Elementary was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.  Just 14 schools statewide received this honor. The Beachwood Middle School was designated a National School to Watch in 2008 and has been re-designated every year since. This year, Beachwood High School was ranked #1 in Northeast Ohio, #3 in the entire State of Ohio, and #247 in the country by the Washington Post. The schools should be proud of these rankings, and the Board should work with the Superintendent to explain to the community the process of evaluation. The Board should also support the Superintendent in assessing areas for improvement and challenging the administration with objectives to maintain and achieve consistent rankings while balancing the educational and learning objectives for all students.
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Age 45
Education Beachwood High School University of Toledo Cleveland State University
Current occupation Roe Dental Laboratory, Director of employee training, Lead R&D manager, Ceramics Specialist.
Qualifications for office Business owner and CEO for the past 17 years. Board member Beachwood Boosters. 30 years in Beachwood.
Campaign Phone (216) 780-4356
Email address sammalekforbeachwood@gmail.com
I want to serve on the board because I am not happy with The current school board. I don't like the fiscal decisions that are made by the current school board. I bring a fresh new voice to the board and a new open minded perspective. I am a very fair and rational person, just take the time to explain an issue to me or ask me a question and you will see that my open minded approach is very fair. I have a 30 year history in this community. I understand what a community like Beachwood looks for in a School Board Member.
This school district is one of the best in the Sate, we have an outstanding superintendent and administrative staff. One of the biggest issues with the current school board is spending, we have a board that spends millions of dollars on projects that could be done for less. We have a major consolidation project proposed for the community and i want to be a part of it. Once again we are asking for the voters to pass a 39 million dollar levy and the same members are going to be part of the spending. These are the same members that allowed our school buildings to get to the point they are at today.
We have one of the best rankings in the state. The success of the Beachwood Schools is due to our wonderful superintendent and his staff. The Beachwood Schools will always have and maintain a successful rating in our state, This is not due to any member of our school board, any member of the board can be replaced and the schools would continue to be successful.
Age 59
Education Beachwood High School Cleveland State University Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine Podiatric Surgical Residency-Cleveland Foot Clinic
Current occupation Podiatric Physician in private practice and serving multiple senior and nursing facilities.
Qualifications for office Current Board of Education Member since 2004. Served on over 20 committees in the schools prior to my Board service.
Campaign Phone (216) 347-6678
Email address toesrusoh@aol.com
I have served on the Board of Education for 13 years. I have worked very collaboratively with other Board members and our administrative team. We participated in a very smooth transition between our previous and current superintendent to create a seamless continuation of excellence. As the current senior Board member, I bring experience and history that is always helpful to the younger Board members. I feel that my job is not done at this time. We have several important initiatives on our agenda over the next several years. I am the only current Board member who has participated in a Bond issue/operating levy campaign, and the entire process of a major building project. I know that this experience will help in guiding the Board and working to successful completion of these initiatives. We have not been on the ballot for operating funds 13 years. This Board and administration have worked closely to maintain "flat" spending over the last 10 years which has allowed us to avoid asking our community for additional operating funds. We continue to maintain educational excellence throughout the district. For 13 years I have continued to make decisions based on one question....What is best for our kids? I will always maintain that if you serve our educational community with this question always on your mind, you are doing the job that the community is asking of you. I am committed to continuing to serve in the best interest of our community and our children.
Unfortunately, financial stresses continue to be one of the most significant issues facing our district, as well as every district in Ohio and throughout the country. Locally, we will be losing $2.5 million each year due to state funding cuts. Our expenses including benefits for our staff continue to rise, as well as general operating expenses. With strong fiscal responsibility , and an excellent administrative team, we have managed to keep our spending "flat" for the past 10 years. There continues to be an increase in both federal and state mandates, without additional funding to pay for them. Although difficult, we must continue to work, and look for ways to cut our expenses without cutting services that we provide for our students. Our Board continues to be committed to finding ways to utilize our communities money in the most prudent ways to allow us to maintain the excellence that our community and our students expect and deserve.
It is always important to be aware of these rankings. Although Beachwood has continued to maintain excellence I do not feel that this fully describes the educational opportunities available to our students. We must continue to provide our students opportunities to learn in ways that will provide them educational success in their futures. This means that although we must teach and provide the information necessary to be successful on the tests, it is not imperative or advisable to "teach to the test". We always want to provide the best methods available to serve every child. Testing is not going away any time in the near future, so we must be cognitive of our performance , while maintaining methods and an environment that continue to make us "uniquely Beachwood".
Age 46
Education BSBA from The Ohio State University Triple Major in Finance, Marketing, Transportation & Logistics. Graduated Summa Cum Laude
Current occupation Financial Advisor and Chief Operations Officer of The Oasis Asset Management Group, Inc.
Qualifications for office Leadership, Experience, and the connection to our community - Current Vice President of The Board of Education, Past Treasurer of The Beachwood Foundation, Current Board representative to School's Audit Committee, Chief Operating Officer of The Oasis Asset Management Group, multiple leadership positions on other for profit and non profit Boards. Volunteer for organizations in the community for over a dozen years such as: PTO, Destination Imagination, Gallery of Success, as well as recreational coach in softball, baseball and basketball. In addition, part owner of a real estate restoration company for 15 years. My education, professional experience and involvement in the Beachwood community make me uniquely qualified to continuing serving on the School Board.
Campaign Phone (216) 570-1318
Email address mzawatsky@yahoo.com
Prior to being elected to the Beachwood Board of Education in 2013, I served the Beachwood Community for over 12 years with organizations such as Junior Achievement, Destination Imagination, Beachwood Recreation sports, the PTO, Gallery of Success, and Schools Foundation (Past Treasurer). Since joining the Board, I have acted as the Board representative on the School’s Audit committee. Additionally, I have served the past two years as the School Board Vice President, working closely with the current president and School Administration in understanding and addressing the issues we are facing and will face as a district. Over the past several years our Schools have been on a steady upward trajectory. As we continue this trend, it is critical that we have School Board members who have demonstrated leadership, a knowledge of our District’s history, an understanding of where we are and the current issues we face, and a vision for our future. My education, professional experience and involvement in the Beachwood community make me uniquely qualified to continuing serving on the School Board.

I earned a BSBA from Ohio State (Summa Cum Laude) with a triple major in Finance, Marketing, and Transportation & Logistics. I have been a Financial Advisor for 23 years and am currently The C.O.O. of Oasis Asset Management. My wife, Jodi(BHS ’90) and I are the proud parents of Sami (12th), Jordyn (10th) and Brett (7th). I am looking forward to providing my team approach to leadership.
Beachwood Schools face the same major concerns as all public schools in Ohio: increasing financial and academic mandates along with decreasing funding from the state and federal level. Regionally we face increased competition in attracting and retaining families in Beachwood

The most effective way to deal with these issues is we need continue to teach to the students, not to the test. We continue to operate fiscally responsibly and examine each dollar spent to ensure we achieve the greatest value for our students, and as important, the tax payers of Beachwood. It is important to continue to keep our top ranking in Northeast Ohio.
The states performance ranking, as well as many of the other rankings for schools, are important for all school districts, HOWEVER, we must balance the significance of these test with the actual education of our children. We must not teach to the test but teach to the students. Having said that, we are very fortunate to be in Beachwood; being the current Vice President of the Beachwood Board of Education, I have helped guide our administration by setting many goals to accomplish both. Over the past few years, we have had many accolades; In 2015, Hilltop Elementary was named 2015 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence for performance "as measured by state assessments in both reading and mathematics." Just 14 schools statewide received this honor. Our Middle School was designated a National School to Watch (after earning the Ohio honor specifically) in 2008 and has been re-designated every year since. This year, Beachwood High School was ranked #1 in Northeast Ohio, #3 in the entire State of Ohio, and #247 in the country by the Washington Post! In addition, Beachwood is only one of two districts in the State to meet each of the 24 standards on the state report card in 2017. Cleveland.com ranked us as tied for the top school district in northeast Ohio based on the 2017 state report card. We will continue to set goals for administration to improve our already excellent schools.

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