The latest installment of our series of interviews with school director candidates across Pennsylvania brings us to the Souderton Area School District.
Mike Barnacz is running for school director in the Souderton Area School District in Montgomery County. He is a registered Republican and currently a stay-at-home dad.
Why are you running for school board?
“I am running for school board because I care about our schools and our students. I have three children who I want to have a full and enriching experience in the Souderton Area School District. Equally as important, I want to support their lifelong peers in the same way. I believe the best way to impact the future of our community is to serve on the school board. It will be my honor and privilege to support our next generation of leaders.”
What are the most important issues facing your district?
“These are the important issues we are focused on in the Souderton Area School District:
- Academic Excellence — Erasing any learning loss from the pandemic and standing against indoctrination of our children.
- Maintaining Low Taxes — Continuing the trend of lower school taxes than the other districts in our county.
- Parental Rights — Committing to transparency and partnerships with those who love and know the students best: their parents and guardians.
- Character Counts — Keeping politics out of our classrooms so that all students and employees feel safe and included.”
What is your professional background/experience? What skills would you bring to the board?
“I have decades of experience starting or buying businesses and driving them to highly profitable organizations. Most of my career includes owning multiple martial arts schools in the greater New York City area, where I focused on building a community and deeply understanding how to help children of many different backgrounds through the discipline and focus of martial arts. I felt honored to witness many examples where our program helped children with behavioral challenges, as well as children with ADHD and autism.
“When my wife and I were expecting our first child, I made the decision to focus on our family and support my wife’s career growth. At that time, I became a stay-at-home Dad and I have been involved in our community and church. I enjoy a weekly trip to Philadelphia to feed the homeless with a group from the Harleysville area.”
Have you run for political office previously? Have you been politically active?
“No. I have supported other local candidates with community outreach in the past, but I have not run for political office before.”
Are you running with other candidates?
“Yes. I am on the Keep Souderton Strong team with Ken Keith, Nick Braccio, Bill Formica, and Kim Wheeler. More information about our team and what we stand for can be found on our website.”
In your opinion, what is the most important role of the school board?
“The future of our community depends on our public schools’ ability to prepare children for the real world, by teaching them how to think, not what to think. It’s important for children to develop the ability to think critically and engage in civil discourse with their peers. That’s my vision of how we bring the community together.”
We contacted the Democratic and Republican committees in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Montgomery counties and asked them to share the questions with their school director candidates. Broad + Liberty will post the responses throughout the summer to assist voters in learning about the candidates running in their district. The series is open to any school director on the ballot in November. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Broad + Liberty is a nonprofit media endeavor dedicated to sharing voices and stories that are shut out of other media outlets. @BroadAndLiberty