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Salisbury school board welcomes Kuzo and Spinner

A special meeting of the Salisbury Township Board of Directors was held Jan. 6 to conduct interviews in an effort to fill two vacancies on the board after newly seated members Christopher Freas and Laura McKelvey, who each won two- and four-year terms, elected to serve four-year terms.

It should be noted five applicants were slated to be interviewed but the field narrowed to three after numerous attempts to contact individuals by phone and email were not successful. Accommodations to conduct a Zoom interview were offered but were also unsuccessful.

Each candidate was afforded 15 minutes and asked the following questions: Why are you interested in serving on the school board? What qualities, skills and experiences would you bring to the board? How have you been engaged in board meetings/school communities over the past few years? How would you function as a member of the board? What would your top two priorities be? What do you see as two challenges and two strengths of Salisbury School District? Describe your decision-making process and how you would make decisions for the entire district.

Joseph Kuzo, who has spent 21 years in public education as the director of technology in the Quakertown School District, was the first candidate to be interviewed. Kuzo said he has no children in the district and therefore no personal agenda except to make improvements and support teachers and staff. His decision-making process is multifaceted in that he may have an opinion but he strives to find a balance between what is in the best interest of students, who are most important, and the community, especially the elderly, who may struggle to pay increased taxes.

Kuzo credits the district in the areas of communication, a dedicated teaching staff and stepping up to provide virtual instruction in response to the pandemic. He is concerned about finances and the need for a long-term capital plan as well as a maintenance plan for the district. In his closing remarks he said becoming a board member is a way to serve his community in a small way but it will have a big impact on the school and community.

The next candidate, Thomas Spinner, explained his decision to serve on the board is rooted in desire to leverage his expertise as an engineer and project manager to help improve the district and bring it to a better position. He had high praise for the dedicated teaching staff who genuinely care about the children and is happy to see K-12 students are integrated in technology. He asserts that collaboration is key and everyone brings a unique perspective and background which is important in the decision-making process.

Among the challenges the district may encounter in the future are in the areas of maintenance and budgeting. Spinner feels that as an engineer, his background in construction, demolition and maintenance will help the district as it is faced with the cost of building upgrades, renovations or possibly a new building. He will be able to develop plans and forecast maintenance items to help the district lower costs.

Mary Ziegler, who has served on the board for the past 16 years, was the last candidate to be interviewed. As a past board member, she has served on the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit board and the Special Needs Foundation for 15 years. Ziegler hails from Salisbury and cited her 25 years of active involvement as a parent and grandparent of students in the district. She is very child centered and highlighted a few of the ways in which she has volunteered, namely as a reader in the elementary school, assisted in special events with the CLIU, chaperoned twirling events and participated in community breakfasts.

Ziegler pointed out that while she brings many years of board experience to the table she has proved that collaboration and listening to all sides of an issue are key. She has been known to change her mind after hearing all the facts which speaks to her ability to make fair decisions. Some of the challenges she sees for the district include retaining and obtaining new staff and providing them the tools they need to achieve student success. She is also concerned about district facilities and how to maintain and improve buildings without incurring a financial burden for taxpayers. In her closing remarks, Ziegler emphasized her passion for serving and her willingness to expend her time to do the job right.

After all interviews were conducted, the board members held an in-depth discussion and then rated each candidate on a three point scale.

After all votes were tallied, the board welcomed Kuzo and Spinner as the newest board members. Kuzo and Spinner were then sworn in and will take a seat as members of the board next week.

A work session meeting will be held 7 p.m. Jan. 12 and the school board meeting will be held 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19.

PRESS PHOTOS BY KATHY HASSICK New school board member Thomas Spinner is sworn in at the Jan. 6 special school board meeting.
Mary L. Ziegler is one of three candidates interviewed to serve a two-year term on the Salisbury Township School Board.
Joseph Kuzo is recently sworn is as one of the newest members of the Salisbury Township School Board.