The Buffalo News invited school board candidates to provide a statement about why they are running for office.


As a former educator in the district, a husband to a teacher, and a father to a son who attends a neighborhood school, I have many reasons to invest my time, knowledge, and expertise regarding education in an effort to address the fiscal constraints and educational challenges faced in New York state by advising the Niagara Falls City School District as a board member.

Our family highly values a quality education and educators. I am a 40-year-old father of one son, Ryan, who attends G. J. Mann and husband to Christine Barstys - a highly talented, respected, and often requested English teacher at Niagara Falls High School. She, too, has been in education her whole life, has been teaching for 15 years, is tenured, and a past Channel 2 News and New York State Lottery Educator of the Week. I mention this because as an administrator, I often look to my family to provide realistic and practical feedback for new programs, educational strategies and technologies.

As a board member, I will no doubt be an asset to those already serving. For instance, I am trained as both a teacher and principal evaluator in the new evaluation system. I can be instrumental when the district’s administration is asking the board to consider how a teacher’s APPR is affected by his/her SLO with State Provided Growth Measures versus a teacher without an SLO, but instead, Value-Added Growth Measures, and their effectiveness in implementing the new CCSS in getting their students ready for the PARCC. Despite the confusing jargon and endless stream of acronyms, I’ll know exactly what they are talking about and will be ready to assist the rest of the board in discerning which teacher is the better of the two, and therefore, who is best to suited to increase student achievement for (potentially) the next 30-plus years.

Clearly, education has seen significant changes over the past few years. Indications are that this is a trend that we can expect to continue and should even encourage, as it is vital that students have access to an education system that is responsive to the fluid world of which they are a part. In order to best serve our school system, its many interrelated components need to be monitored, evaluated and, at times, adjusted. As I have demonstrated, I have a unique set of skills and experiences to accomplish these tasks. It is my job as a school district administrator to keep pace with these changes and as a potential board member, to pass on the knowledge and updates, and help guide the implementation of these changes from experience.

From fiscal responsibilities to curriculum and assessment; from teacher and principal evaluation to special education; from the classroom to the administration building; and from unions to contracts - there isn’t a part of public education that I do not have direct and intimate knowledge of. With your votes, I will be able to put a lifetime of experience to work for you and the children of our community.