August 20, 2014 - As an attorney, Mark Stepek said his job is to deal with the facts and to communicate those facts to a jury, which is an expertise he hopes to bring to the Oxford School Board as well, if voted to take one of the four seats available in November.
Stepek (click for larger version)
"There are so many problems that occur or battles that are fought because of misinformation. Even other candidates for this position, I am reading some of their articles (in the paper) and they don't have the facts right. They are either praising or condemning the existing board based on (not having the correct facts) and that scares me," Stepek said. "If I got on the board, my biggest mission would be to get the proper facts to the people and then use those facts in a way that's going to be best for Oxford Students. For me that's the biggest goal for our kids."
Stepek and his wife Kathy have raised their three active kids from the elementary level, right on up to high school in Oxford. As a part of raising them, Stepek has been active in the community as a former Cub Scout leader, former coach for ORBA (Oxford Recreational Baseball Association) and OJW (Oxford Junior Wildcats football), as well as other school and community related projects like the Oxford Ski Club, Village Parades volunteer and Oxford High School's turf committee and most recently the Oxford Booster's Club president.
"My time doing all of that stuff was extensive and I find myself not so involved now other than the boosters and that's a chore, but I just think this (being on the school board) is taking it to the next level," he added.
What are some highlights?
One of things Stepek said is a highlight of the district is the "global initiative," which he believes is another topic "the public is misinformed about." Stepek said he attended the original meeting where the initiative was discussed.
"It was mind blowing, the direction and everything they talked about, (because) in the United States we don't really teach our kids to be globally competitive and I think Dr. Skilling is really moving in that direction," he said. "I'm not saying he is perfect. I'm not perfect, (but) I think the goal to have our kids globally competitive is a great goal."
Another highlight for Stepek is the financial stability of the district.
"In these kinds of times, I think that's amazing," he noted. "The fact that we are still in, we're still no pay to play, that to me is awesome."
The final big highlight for Stepek is the teachers, many of whom he has had the privilege of meeting over the years as his kids have been in school.
"I think they are good quality people (and) I think as a board member, another goal of mine would be to retain these good people and one way to do that is to make sure they get paid what they're worth," he said. "If we're in that strong of a position (financially) maybe we could get some more salaries for the teachers because that's who really are molding our kids' lives."
What are concerns?
As for concerns, Stepek said he's heard people say "different things," as it relates to the residence dormitories Oxford is proposing for Weiming Chinese Students and the other sister schools over in China.
"I need to know more about it, and that we're putting all of our efforts into the right place," Stepek added. "I don't want to spout off like other people have with wrong facts, so I need to know more about it and getting on the school board that's what I would do."
As stated in the beginning, Stepek's biggest concerns lie in "lack of communication."
"The communication aspect I would like to be sort of my goal," he said. "To make sure the community and the board have all the proper facts, the true facts. When I am in trial, that's what we're trying to get to, what are the true facts? What makes or breaks this case?" he said. "In the community schools, I want everybody to be operating on as much of the true facts and then make a decision as what's best for the kids of Oxford."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.