Mesa School Board - Candidate Response - Mike Nichols



I am, Mike Nichols, I have volunteered 8 years as a Mesa School Board Member and I am running for reelection.  Since 1996 when Nancy, and I moved here, we’ve have had vested interest in Mesa Public Schools (MPS).  Our 3 children have received their education from Mesa Public Schools while attending Pomeroy Elementary , Hendrix Junior High/Summit Academy, and graduating from Dobson High, in 2006, 2013 and 2015. 


Over the past 12 years, I’ve been a voice for parents and teachers by serving on various committees within MPS.  I served as the PTO President for Pomeroy Elementary, Co-Chaired the Mesa Parents Advocate for Quality Schools (MPAQS), in addition to my Board duties.



Question 1: What is the purpose of K-12 Education?

I see this question, as purpose of public education?   To me it is the hope that all children regardless of, birth right and/or situation, as a United States citizen, have the same level of education.  Resulting in young adults ready to be productive members of our society so the United States can/will continue to be prosperous.


Question 2: What are the primary responsibilities of a Board member?

Over all Operation of District, answerable to the public.

     As a voice of one of five and/or as Quorum

  • Perform actions as a board member during meetings
    • Establish / Approve Budgets
  • Provide impute. 
  • Questioning what may/is in best interest of students, teachers, employees, community members.
  • Act as community members provide input

     As an individual

  • Listen to community and bring concerns forward to MPS


Question3: What metrics should be used in evaluating teacher performance?


I do not believe it is the thought of a single board member to say how a teacher performance evaluation should be done.  I can say from my 12years experience around the public education, many friends being teachers.  Employees / including teachers do need to have evaluation system in place.   MPS has worked very hard to work with employee groups and comply with required laws to make a fair and equitable evaluation system. 


Question 4:  What changes should the Board, by itself or through ASBA, seek Title 15 of the Arizona Revised Statutes?  


Set proper funding process.

Have gone through the last years of extreme financial difficulties and knowing funding has never been full across all areas.  There are more extreme financial cliffs coming.      


Question 5: When does the government’s authority to decide a child’s education outweigh a parents rights to raise their child as they see fit?


We are a country/state of established laws, though many may see/feel they are not perfect.  If a parent and /or group of parents feel the established law (s) are incorrect.  Utilizing the democratic process to bring about change should be done.  


Question 6: What can the Federal Government do for education that the State and Local District can’t do for themselves?


Currently we have the established system and Federal government does provide a system of unity as we are all part of 1 country.  Federal Government does provide funding, and since they do it comes with accountability/rules.  Though there may be a little shift to local control and a release from Federal rules.  I do believe collaboration between all states is important and our Federal Government would become more facilitating then directing it might would be best for future generations, as a nation.



Question 7: How can Mesa Public Schools distinguish itself from charter and private schools, neighboring districts and home schooling?


Leadership / Positive Employee Morale / Communications & Marketing


MPS leadership from Governing Board (as a Body), Superintendent  and Superintendency,  while with all employees coming every day to assure,  what is best for all students, and forever striving to better reach all student and provide a richer more fulfilled educational experience.


MPS is a distinguished School District.  MPS, is Natation / State recognized for fiscally responsible.  MPS was just acknowledged for work on closing graduation gap.  The Governing Board recently recognized as the best in the state.  These are just a few good distinguishing bench marks.  Communication of all the good things MPS does to the parents and community members is key.  This is recent area of development and is I believe the best way MPS will continue standing out in the educational arena.     


Question 8: What unique talents and perspectives will you bring to the Board/Why are you running?


While addressing community concerns, I experienced, firsthand, the social and economic issues that the public education system faces while educating our children.  I have been complimented by current MPS Superintendent, Dr. Mike Cowan for utilizing my past experience in provide a unique perspective when viewing and addressing issues.  I have inspired positive changes within MPS and ultimately throughout the Great State of Arizona. 


Two positive changes influenced by my determination deal with funding streams and employee/vendor relationship.  I have learned and fully understand funding issues at the Federal, State, and local levels.  I was instrumental in streamlining the funding streams of money in/money out.  I’ve enhanced the employee/vendor relationship, assuring stronger, ethical business practices.  Former MPS Associate Superintendent for Business Support stated that because of these changes I have facilitated, “we are a better organization”.  These changes were voted on by the Governing Board as a whole, but were a direct result of my foresight and resolve to institute needed changes.


Another positive change was inspired by classroom cost studies within MPS to address the effectiveness of the primary grades in relation to class size and the true marketing status of MPS.  The outcome involved eliminating ‘combo classes’ at the primary grades.  This decision was supported by all board members and Superintendent as a decision that was in the best interest of student learning and MPS being completive with surrounding districts and charters schools.


My past military experience, as well as graduating with honors from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, provide me with strengths and skills in viewing and addressing issues within the public school system.  If reelected, my goal is to continue to listen to the public and educators, balance issues between laws and regulations, and work with the MPS Administration and fellow board members.  For the entire Mesa District community, I will promote the safety and welfare of the educational environment for our children.  It is imperative that our children’s educational experience is positive and that they become successful, productive learners and young adults.



I pledge to perform to the best of my abilities and keep the educational interests of all children within the Mesa School District.  I would be honored by your support in the upcoming reelection bid.


Together, WE can and will make a difference! 


Thank you,


Mike Nichols

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