Candidate Q&A: Melanie Szawara, Dexter School Board

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Melanie Szawara. Courtesy of Melanie Szawara.

Note to readers: The Sun Times News has made its media outlet available to candidates running for public office. Articles published do not reflect an endorsement by the STN. Submissions are from candidates who responded within our guidelines. In order to be as fair and equitable as possible, candidates can submit their responses to four basic questions.

  1. Who are you?
  2. Why are you running?
  3. What issues do you think are important?
  4. Why should we vote for you?

Candidate’s responses are printed as submitted.

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1. Who are you?

My husband and I live in Webster Township with our two amazing kids- Kolton, 5th grade at Creekside and Kazimiera, 3rd grade at Wylie. I grew up in Dexter and went to Dexter Schools from kindergarten through graduation in 1996. I continued my public education by attending Western Michigan University for my undergraduate degree in Political Science and then Michigan State University for Law School.

I ran for Dexter Board of Education trustee in the 2020 election but was unsuccessful. I took that opportunity to invest myself into the Dexter Community. I love volunteer work and giving back so joined the Dexter Rotary Club and serve as Secretary on the advisory board of the Dexter Community Fund and am also the President of the Dexter Wrestling Club. Professionally, I own my family law practice, MKS Law, PLLC in Dexter.

2. Why are you running?

Being part of my children’s education in some meaningful way, beyond the typical parent role, is what inspired me to seek a position as trustee on the Board of Education. When two trustees resigned in the summer of 2021, I applied for and was appointed to one of the seats. I have learned a great deal in the past year on the Board, such as how the board functions as well as the issues within the purview of the Board’s decision making powers, and those which are not.

I am seeking to continue to serve this community as a Board of Education Trustee because I deeply care for the students and staff as I believe education is the one of the most essential fundamental right we have.

3. What issues do you think are important?

The most important issue to continue to address is the learning loss of our students as the result of the COVID shut downs and delays in education. To improve upon addressing that gap, Dexter has already implemented programs and incorporated additional assistance to gain ground from learning loss. Still, I believe that seeking the independent input of teachers in evaluating students on their growth each academic year can provide more meaningful information, not just through standardized testing.

4. Why should we vote for you?

I believe I am an excellent candidate for the position of School Board trustee because I am a direct, honest and care. I have a unique viewpoint as a lifelong and engaged community member; a Dexter graduate; a local business owner; a parent to young children; and have experience as a current trustee. I bring positive energy to the current board and have also learned that there does not have to be conflict for there to be progress.

As a divorce attorney, I see some complicated and emotional situations which impact families on a daily basis. This work provides me a ‘real world view’ to take a practical approach in working from conflict towards resolution. In these roles, it is important to listen and consider what is best for the child(ren). Similarly, it is imperative as a trustee to be able to listen to all stakeholders when making decisions that impact the schools.

I love Dexter and want the opportunity to continue to fill this role in the community for the schools. If elected, I intend to continue to work to promote strong schools and excellent education for our students.

If you would like more information about me, my website is Melaniefordexterschools.com or email me at mkszawaradexter@gmail.com

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