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MASD School Board Candidate: Matthew Mols

By Staff Reports
The Tube City Almanac
May 14, 2023
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Politics & Elections

Name: Matthew Mols
Address: Ridgeview Drive, Dravosburg
Filed as: Republican/Democratic

Almanac: Why are you running for school board, and what are your qualifications?

Mols: I have multiple master’s degrees in education. I have spent the last 25 years as an educator, with over two decades as an employee of McKeesport Area School District.

While at McKeesport, I worked in multiple buildings, serving in many different capacities. I was an in-school suspension coordinator, teacher, counselor, principal, career and technical director, and union president.

I have served as member of council in the Borough of Dravosburg for over 10 years and have volunteered in community outreach programs. Over the past five years, I have had the pleasure of highlighting McKeesport scholar athletes, as the “Voice of the Tigers.” The administration has trusted me to provide the play-by-play call of sporting events over the radio and Internet.

My diverse background has afforded me the opportunity to learn quite a bit about the operations of McKeesport Area School District. I am currently employed as a Head High School principal in an urban school setting with similar demographics to that of McKeesport Area School District. My daily work as an educator and council member focuses on issues that are essential to the skillset of a school board member including: school safety, fiscal management, educational decision making, and community outreach. As a former employee, I have working relationships with personnel, have aided in development of procedures, and have familiarity with school board policies to best streamline services for McKeesport Area School District families. I have family members that are students within the school district, and like your family want what is only best for our students. As a graduate of McKeesport Area School District, I am aware of the rich tradition and pride one can have with a diploma from McKeesport.

Almanac: One constant question at board meetings has been about gun violence. Prior to this election, how have you addressed gun-related violence within the community?

Mols: As an educator and council member, I have unfortunately been affected by senseless community violence. Smart school security interventions have been put in place, and I have worked to streamline those processes. In the community, greater police work and community collaboration are essential to protecting our students.

Almanac: How do you rate the relationship between the school board, educators, students and families regarding incidents occurring outside of school?

Mols: The community and school board must continue to work together in harmony. The school administration has done a great job of late in securing ties.

Almanac: What steps can the school board take to ensure safety within schools?

Mols: The school board is currently made up of some law enforcement figures. It is a great asset to have. The board should utilize the resources at their disposal. In addition, regular meetings with school administration to address security concerns that arise should also continue.

Almanac: McKeesport Area has many students whose families are struggling economically and a large percentage of students who are from minority groups. How will you work to understand and meet their diverse needs?

Mols: Diversity in MASD should be celebrated! I will continue to find ways to bridge the gap that poverty has placed on many MASD students through advocacy. My work as a community leader and volunteer in community outreach groups has afforded me a better understanding of the needs of ALL residents.

Almanac: What literacy challenges do McKeesport Area students face, and how would you address them?

Mols: I would prefer not to answer.

Almanac: What is your opinion of the current math education curriculum, especially at the middle and high school level?

Mols: I worked to advocate for a new math program for the high school that is researched based in best practices. Students must be given the tools for success.

Almanac: What is the role of music, arts, and social-studies education?

Mols: As a former social-studies teacher, this is an area close to my heart. We must create environments of belonging and connection for students engage and thrive, as we work to educate the “Whole Child.” The arts must be a priority at MASD, and I will work to make sure that’s the case.

Almanac: Why do some parents choose not to send their children to McKeesport Area schools — and how can the district get them back?

Mols: I think educating the community on the offerings and positive things happening at MASD is the key to student enrollment. Greater efforts should be centered in this area.

Almanac: As a board member, where would you look to make budget cuts? Are there any areas you would not consider cutting?

Mols: Charter school payments are expected to be in excess of $14 million for the 2023-24 school year. I think this is the greatest area of budget concern, and an area I would like to explore means to cut.

Originally published May 14, 2023.

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