Zuzek files for school board seat

Board sets meeting to collaborate better

By John McLoone

As of Monday of this week, just one candidate has filed for the open seat on the Hastings School Board that will be filled at a special election Nov. 8.

The seat was opened with the resignation of Mike Reis


Mark Zuzek from the board on July 18. Reis’ time on the board was tumultuous, and he was censured by a 42 vote of the board in May. That action set rules on how Reis could communicate with administration and school staff. The censure was to be reviewed monthly, and Reis was informed in late June that it was being kept in place. Reis resigned from the board July 18.

The board has discussion on its work session agenda this week, Wednesday, Aug. 10, to talk about appointing someone to fill the open board spot until the special election.

According to the Minnesota Secretary of State campaign filing website, Mark A. Zuzek has filed for a spot on the November ballot.

Zuzek, 2470 Timber View Dr., Hastings, announced his candidacy on social media last week: “I am happy to announce that I am running for the Hastings School Board!

“Let me introduce myself. I am Mark Zuzek. For over three decades I have worked as a teacher and principal in Hastings Public Schools, and superintendent for Intermediate School District 917.

“I care both personally and as a lifelong member of the community, that Hastings Public Schools continues to maintain its proud reputation of success. My personal skills such as collaborative leadership, creative problem solving, and big picture thinking, will be an asset to the school board. I’m prepared to use my compassion and experience as an educational leader to support the needs of our students, staff, and families.

“Over the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing more about myself and the reasons for my strong desire to serve. “

Candidates have until the close of business Aug. 16 to file for the office at the school district administration office.

Reis and two other board newcomers, Carrie Tate and Jessica Dressely, won seats on the board last November, defeating two incumbents, former chair Kelsey Waits and director Scott Gergen.

Some board discussions have shown a split on the board between the four who have served longer – Chair Brian Davis, Lisa Hedin, Stephanie Malm and Becky Beissel – and the newcomers. During the school board discussion over the censure of Reis, Tate and Dressely brought up treatment of the newcomers by the other board members. It was brought up at that time that the board needed a “retreat” to work to get on the same page.

At the start of a work session on Wednesday, Aug. 3, Davis tentatively set such a meeting for Aug. 31 with representatives of the Minnesota School Boards Association.

“One of the things I know we’re trying to focus our energy on is making sure that we do the best we can to collaborate as best we can, focusing on our differences, some of the things we don’t necessary agree upon, but we’re trying to find common ground,” said Davis. “To that end, I want to make sure that we keep focusing on that. We talked about trying to get some time and work with MSBA.”

A time for the meeting has to be scheduled, because of conflicts with school open houses that day.

“All that will be focused on that day is working on collaborating, working on who each of us are as people and getting to know each other at a much deeper level, which I think will help us in terms of working together on other things as well.”

August 10, 2022