During the next few days, we will introduce you to the Fenton Board of Education Candidates.
There are three candidates competing for one four-year term, including Dior Rushton, Drew Shapiro and Sandra Mathews-Barnes.
Today we meet Drew Shapiro.
How long have you lived in the area?
What community and organizations are you currently involved in?
Volunteer at local animal shelters; have done work assisting veterans in the past
Why did you want to run for school board?
I have watched a number of my fellow Fenton graduates struggle with trying to figure out what direction to go in life. Many of them have not been able to get started in viable careers or to make long-term plans for the future. We need to ensure that future generations of Fenton graduates are not faced with these same problems. I want to help students create visions for successful futures in the real world.
What personal and professional experiences make you qualified to hold that position?
I have a wide array of qualifications that will help me once elected to the Fenton School Board. Not only do I have a connection to the community as a 2006 graduate of Fenton High School, I also have the professional skills needed to be an effective board member. I completed my bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in entrepreneurship from Central Michigan University in 2011. My education led me to a career in the insurance industry. I currently work as a licensed insurance agent and as a registered representative in the financial industry. I also used my knowledge about small business management to start my own property rental company, D & S Shapiro LLC. Since I am a relatively recent graduate from the Fenton School System, I have a unique perspective on the challenges that are faced by current students. I want to use this connection to create mentoring programs that will help students become prepared for the real world. In today’s education system, these practical skills are often overlooked. I believe that my studies in entrepreneurship combined with my business experience will aid in the development of these programs. It is important for the next generation to avoid the same problems we have faced.
What is the most important issue and what do you intend to do about it during your term in office?
In addition to the budget issues, the most important problem facing the district is the preparation of our students for the real world. I have watched a number of my fellow Fenton graduates struggle with trying to figure out what direction to go in life. Many of them have not been able to get started in viable careers or to make long-term plans for the future. We need to ensure that future generations of Fenton graduates are not faced with these same problems.
We must guide currents students in creating long-term visions for their futures. These visions lay beyond graduation day or completing college; they are frameworks for their futures that begin while they are being taught in the Fenton schools. One step towards reaching this goal is the creation of a business lunch program. The program will have business leaders in the community volunteer to eat lunch one on one with students. The sessions will be designed to give students insight into various career paths in the community.
What are some other issues you would like to see change in the school district?
It is imperative that the board look for cost-saving measures that are outside the classroom to ensure that teachers have a safe work environment and that students receive a quality education. I fully support the faculty and feel that we are indebted to them for the pay reductions that they have already been forced to take in recent years. In addition, the changes in health care and retirement benefits implemented at the state level have been an added burden to our faculty. One area of the budget that must be reviewed is the International Baccalaureate Program. While I agree with the real world applications that the program teaches students, I have several concerns about the current implementation of the program itself. The School Board must do a cost benefit analysis of the program and its curriculum to determine the future of the program. I think it is important for the School Board to hear input from the faculty and staff of the district to learn their views on areas that could be cut. Often the workers who are involved with the day to day operations have a clearer vision of the areas that could be cut without having such a dramatic impact on the students.