YMCA leader joins Niles school board

Mark Weber has spent the past four years advancing youth development in the greater Niles area as Chief Executive Officer of the Niles-Buchanan YMCA.

So when a seat came open on the Niles Community Schools Board of Education, he viewed it as another opportunity to positively impact the lives of children in southwest Michigan.

Mark Weber

Mark Weber

“Obviously I am very passionate about seeing youth development in this community with what we are doing at the Y,” he said. “I just thought this was a natural next step for me in continuing that effort.”

On Monday, the Niles school board voted unanimously to appoint Weber to the seat vacated when Jon Martin moved outside the district.

Weber said he learned of the appointment upon receiving a phone call from Supt. Dan Applegate Monday night.

“I am extremely excited and I appreciate the opportunity,” he said. “I hope I can have a positive impact on the program and provide some strategic leadership as we move forward.”

School board president Greg O’Toole said the district received three applications for the position and that Weber was the only candidate who submitted a resume and a letter of interest, as requested in an advertisement for the position. The other candidates, he said, only submitted letters of interest.

Applegate said Weber would fill the position through December and would have to run for reelection in the November general election if he wants to retain the seat.

Weber said Tuesday he intends to run and that it would be his first time running for a public office.

“I have talked to a couple of board members who have, so I will be ready for it,” he said.

Weber was hired as CEO of the local YMCA in 2012 after working in various leadership capacities at credit unions in Michigan, Indiana and California for nearly 30 years.

He has a master’s degree in business administration from Indiana University and a bachelor’s of science degree from Western Michigan University.

Weber said he believes his background in business, combined with his experience in youth development while at the YMCA, will give him a unique perspective on the board.

The YMCA is a frequent partner with the school district on youth development projects.

“In the past four years at the YMCA I’ve been able to engage in a lot of meetings with Dan (Applegate) and school administrators,” he said. “I do have an understanding of the issues and challenges they face in trying to educate and prepare our kids.”

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