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Mother, son team up on Mathews school board

VIENNA — Since winning a seat on the Mathews Board of Education in November’s election, Mark Haddle has joined his mother, Beth Haddle, who has just begun her third year on the board.

Beth said her other son, Michael Haddle, submitted his name for the school board three years ago but his petition was rejected by the board of elections, so Mark suggested that she run as a write-in candidate.

“I became a write-in candidate and won enough votes to be on the board,” she said.

She started her term Jan. 1, 2020. Beth, who is a health care professional and in health care operations management, had been attending school board meetings prior to that as a resident concerned about the schools and the conditions of the buildings based on state reports.

“After Mark suggested I be a write-in candidate, I thought it over and decided to run,” she said.

Mark, whose daughter will be attending kindergarten, said he wants to see that all the children have good school facilities, noting the district has struggled to get levies passed to constrict new schools.

“I have a lot of experience in construction design and management and feel I can help the district find something that is cost effective and the taxpayers can afford as we look to the future and move the district forward,” he said.

Mark said the November 2021 election was uncontested for two seats.

“I was very proud of him when I heard he was running for the board. He has a lot on his plate being on the fire department and the zoning board and attending the many township and school board meetings. He spends time with his family and his daughter. He is president of the fire association and very active in the community,” Beth said.

Beth said 2019 was the first time she ran for public office. Mark was appointed to the zoning commission six years ago and has been the chairman.

Mark said he will use his expertise to focus on facilities and safety,

Beth said she feels herself, Mark and the other three board members will all work together for the good of the school district.

“We often think very differently so there may be times we see things differently. Even if it happens it will still be OK. He was raised to voice his opinion and be an independent thinker. Even if you don’t always agree on something, it still works out,” Beth said.

Mark, who is in health risk management and compliance and public safety, said school projects will be an area of focus.

“I have been on the board a little longer and have had discussions on the Baker project and other projects. I am a more big-picture person such as where the school will go and what will it look like. He has a different perspective and looking at the safety and construction based on his personal wok experience,” Beth said.

Mark said having different viewpoints on topics will be fine.

“We have a great mix of people on the board who bring different perspectives based on their work and their part in the community,” Beth said.

Beth said it was a little strange at a recent meeting when Mark referred to her as “Beth” and not mom.

“When we are sitting up there as a board and do the Pledge of Allegiance and the roll call, he really is not my son. I do not look at him that way but rather as a board member bringing his experience to the table. I am Beth here. He can’t sit up there and call me mom,” Beth said.

Beth said she is glad the district was able to get a Vienna police officer as a school resource officer, a school facility improvement committee was established looking at the option of bringing Currie Elementary School students to Baker Elementary, and looking at having a community engagement committee providing information to the residents of what is taking place in the schools.

“We may not have the best buildings but we can show the residents the value of the schools and all that has been done in academics, athletics and other achievements by students and staff,” Beth said.

Beth and Mark said they will focus on getting a new regulation track where people can exercise and walk, and students can compete.

Beth said she also will focus on a school strategic plan for the district’s future and also work on the community engagement committee. She said Mark and other board members can focus on the facility improvements.

“It is important to have community engagement as we discuss the future of the schools,” Mark said, explaining the need to look at the future of Currie Elementary in Fowler.

“We have a really good team on the board with the five of us working together. The next few years should go well as the board will collectively work together,” Mark said.

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