Matthew T. Scotty
Profession: I have been in the higher education finance industry almost my entire career. I am the President of National Education Servicing, a company that has originated and services over $1 billion in student loans.
Community / Political experience: I am currently a member of District 102’s Financial Advisory Committee and have been a long time participant in the YMCA’s Indian Princess Program. I participate in and/or coordinate various annual fund-raising efforts for the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago.
I have no prior political experience.
Other / Professional experience: I began my career at Corus Bank in 1989, working mostly in its student loan division, which during that period was one of the bank’s most profitable areas. I eventually led that group and coordinated its sale in 2001. That led to the creation of my current company, National Education Servicing (NES). I have been President of NES since then.
I am a former member of the Finance and Law committee for the Greater Chicago Food Depository and a former member of the Client Advisory Committee at the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
B.S. in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Masters in Finance and Organizational Behavior from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them:
There are three main challenges that the District 102 Board of Education faces: curriculum, finances, and communication.
1. Curriculum – The main priority of any school board should be to offer a strong education curriculum for all children, and to do so within the constraints of the district. The curriculum in District 102 is currently very good, though it will be difficult to maintain if the financial situation is not corrected.
2. Finances – The financial condition of District 102 is wavering. Even with the recent cuts of $2.5 million, expenses exceed revenues and fund balances are decreasing rapidly. The current model is unsustainable and needs to be addressed, most likely through a referendum to increase taxes, and hence revenues. If a referendum does not pass, significant teacher layoffs may be necessary.
3. Communication – The Board must improve communication with the community. Most residents are not even aware of the current financial challenges, or many of the good things the District does to educate our children. The Board needs to proactively push information to the public. Posting information on its website is helpful, but most people do not seek it out. By pushing both financial and curriculum-related issues to the public through emails, town-hall meetings, and mailings, more conversations will occur, more questions will be asked, and all residents will be better-educated on these important issues.
Home: La Grange Park
Profession: Professional background in healthcare education and training with more than 16 years of management experience.
Community / Political experience: I was elected to the District 102 Board of Education in 2007 and I currently serve as the Board Secretary. While on the Board, I have served on the Parent Advisory Council, the Teachers Liaison Committee, the Head Start Committee, the Wellness Committee, and as a liaison to administration for Curriculum.
My family and I have lived in the District 102 attendance area for the last 11 years. Currently, all three of my children attend District 102 schools.
I have been an active member of the community participating in many community initiatives and events. I am currently facilitating a service project in our community to help supply essential living items to some local families in need. I have also been a member of the LaGrange Area League of Women Voters.
Other / Professional experience: Most of my professional experience has related to education and training on various levels and in various sectors. I have always had a passion for education and community involvement. This is what led me to run for the Board four years ago. I am seeking reelection to the Board for another four years because I remain steadfastly resolved in my work to ensure that District 102 provides the best possible education to our children while remaining fiscally responsible and accountable to the community.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago
List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them: One of my primary goals as a board member is to ensure that our District working to reach every individual student at their individual learning level to move them forward. In 2010, the Board adopted new strategic goals, one of which reads, “Students, at all levels, will demonstrate a high level of academic performance, with individual growth during each school year. All stakeholders will be accountable for that success.” For the last four years, I have worked closely with the administration as a Board Liaison in the area of curriculum to make progress toward this goal. To support this goal, the Board has driven a comprehensive curriculum and program review that has strengthened every student in every school. We have increased the rigor of our curriculum for all students. We have ushered new efforts to meet the needs of at-risk students, high ability learners, and special education children. We have implemented a full day kindergarten program in the District that is utilized by over 70% of our kindergarten students. Realizing that these programs are still young in the District, the Board will need to continue to review and evaluate their effectiveness to ensure they best meeting the needs of children. Having spent the last four working with our curriculum team, I am well prepared to continue to shepherd this progress.
Like most districts, District 102 will face financial challenges that stem from the recession and the state’s financial crisis. It will be important to continue to strengthen the District while addressing the financial constraints imposed by the economy. Having served on the Board for the last four years, I have great understanding of the goals of our District and our efforts to achieve these goals. Last year, the Board made cuts to the budget of $2.5 million without impacting programs. My Board experience and knowledge of the inner-workings of the district, position me to be effective in working with all stakeholder groups to successfully address the financial challenges of the District while still maintaining our commitment to deliver our children the highest quality educational experience.
During the last four years, the Board has transitioned its leadership team in many areas including the Superintendent, two Assistant Superintendents and two school principals. Our leadership team will continue to evolve over the next three years due to retirements. Our new team is strong, but still needs support and guidance from the Board as they become established in their roles. Having been part of the design and implementation of this leadership succession plan, I am well positioned to continue this work.
Home: La Grange Park
Profession: Senior Strategy Director, Fortune 100 insurance company
Community / Political experience: As part of Boston Consulting Group’s Social Impact Network, I participated in multiple pro bono projects. One project that was particularly rewarding, and relevant to my school board role, was a project with a charity running one of the largest Head Start programs in Chicago. The project scope was to evaluate their portfolio of early education programs and make improvement recommendations. For some context, the programs were core to the mission of the organization, but were consuming over $2M in subsidies; as a result, the organization was deciding whether or not to shut the program down entirely. After developing a solid understanding of the portfolio of programs (educational intent, targeted audience, funding mechanisms), I performed a rigorous economic analysis of all aspects of the programs to identify the key economic drivers (for example, revenue recovered per enrolled student, classroom utilization rates, teacher:student ratios, real estate costs per classroom and per site, administrative costs per enrolled student). Based on this analysis, I developed a broad set of recommendations, including the following:
Improving teacher and real estate utilization by developing grassroots marketing programs to ensure full or near-full enrollment, especially around transition times
Reducing administrative expenses by consolidating administrative roles across small sites
Improving revenue realization by shifting classroom capacity to higher margin programs
Improving revenue collection through auditing of forms and ensuring compliance
Reducing food expenses by aligning ordering with student attendance vs. enrollment
Identification of 5 priority neighborhoods to enter (high demand, available real estate)
Closing two locations that could never be viable due to low enrollment (driven by oversupply in the neighborhoods) and a lack of available, reasonably priced real estate
As a result, the program returned to financial health and enabled the organization to expand on delivering against its mission. The truly rewarding part of this experience for me was recognizing that my efforts helped a charitable organization to expand its ability to deliver on its mission to serve children in need by increasing the efficiency of their limited resources. I did this by applying a broad set of skills honed in the business world – getting up to speed quickly on a complex issue, performing rigorous financial analysis, communicating with a diverse set of stakeholders including funding organizations, developing a broad set of creative options, and making a set of recommendations grounded in fact. I believe I can leverage these same skills to help the Board team further the mission of serving the children of our community within the constraints of the limited resources available to us.
Other / Professional experience:
THE BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP
2001 – 2010
International strategy and management consultancy with annual revenues of ~$2.5B. Core member of the Financial Services Practice. Led portfolio of over 15 major projects with teams of 3 – 5 consultants and up to 25 client personnel.
Principal, 2005 – 2010; Project Leader, 2003 – 2005; Consultant, 2001 – 2003
Selected case examples developing strategies and driving operational transformations include:
Growth strategy and transformation for a commercial insurance company. Redesigned organization and supporting capabilities to enable an aggressive growth strategy. Result: Positioned business to double share in five years.
Sales force strategy for a large life insurance company. Conducted primary consumer and agency research, generating insights on drivers of value. Result: Segmented agencies and realigned sales and support resources to drive growth.
Claims operating model design for a top 10 insurance company. Defined key claims operating principles and processes. Developed robust economic model to inform tradeoffs. Result: Clear operating model to guide $100M+ platform development.
Operations strategy for a workers compensation mutual insurance company. Developed comprehensive economic model and identified high impact initiatives to drive aggressive targets. Result: Achieved strong results ahead of successful IPO.
Turnaround strategy for an unprofitable auto repair network. Identified and supported implementation of multiple initiatives including process and compensation redesigns. Result: Increased margins by ~10 points, enabling profitable expansion.
Turnaround strategy (pro bono) for a major regional Head Start program. Performed rigorous economic analysis of program. Developed site management framework and efficiency initiatives. Result: Eliminated need for $2M subsidy from parent charity.
1998 – 1999
Boutique operations and technology consultancy with annual revenues of ~$100M. Manager, Supply Chain Management Practice.
MCMASTER-CARR SUPPLY COMPANY
1991 – 1998
Dayton, NJ/Elmhurst, IL
Industrial supplies distributor with annual revenues of ~$1B. Promoted rapidly, youngest director in company history.
Kellogg School Of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
MBA, with distinction, June 2001. Majors in Management and Strategy, Finance, and Marketing. Significant course work in financial analysis and decisions.
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
BA, Psychology, cum laude, May 1991. John Harvard Scholar. Worked over 20 hours per week to self-finance education.
List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them: As a practicing strategy consultant, I believe that the first step in effective leadership is setting a clear, actionable set of strategic goals. I am 100% aligned with the strategic goals set forth by the Board for District 102.
However, as a leader who also drives implementation, I also recognize that the hard work comes when driving those strategies into action plans, executing those plans, and staying committed through challenging times. With this in mind, I believe that execution against three of the strategic goals (excerpts below) will require significant focus and energy going forward.
Topic 1: Develop and implement a plan to evaluate alternative scenarios and achieve financial stability.
It is undeniable that there will continue to be difficult budget years ahead, the only question is how tough and for how long. Given that, it is critical that the board continue to carefully manage expenses during the current period. I believe that I can contribute significantly to this effort by bringing a fresh set of eyes to the budget and potentially find creative sources of revenue increases and expense reductions.
But given the significant uncertainty going forward, it is even more critical to develop future scenarios to allow advanced planning. The plans for each scenario will need to include both funding options and expense reduction options. Another critical element of scenario planning is identifying the early signals to watch that will indicate which scenario is emerging and act early. This type of analysis and decision making plays right into my strengths. A core part of my consulting tool kit is the ability to put structure around a highly ambiguous and emotional issue. I believe I can help the team stay focused on the strategy while we are likely to be forced to choose among many unappealing options. In addition, during my tenure with the Board this year, I have learned a great deal in terms of funding sources, the budgeting process and drivers, and the educational initiatives in the District.
Topic 2: Students, at all levels, will demonstrate a high level of academic performance, with individual growth during each school year. All stakeholders will be accountable for that success.
I believe the way that the strategic goal is stated captures many of the key elements of driving continued improvement in the academic performance of our students. It is critical to segment the student population, then develop targeted programs to meet their range of needs. And I am a supporter of focusing on growth as a key indicator of success of the programs. It helps avoid getting confused or distracted by entry points or averages or changes in mix of students. Finally, using these measures to hold all participants accountable ensures that everyone is focused on the right things and that we can increase focus on what works and fix what isn’t working.
Going forward, I see the achievement and growth metrics coming out of some of the testing as an emerging opportunity to provide unambiguous feedback on the impact of existing programs and change efforts. This is another area where I feel I will be able to make a significant contribution to the team. I have significant experience thinking through improvement options, developing controlled tests of your best efforts, carefully interpreting measurement data to assess results, and adjusting course as necessary. This level of rigor will become even more critical as finances become more challenging.
Topic 3: Implement a comprehensive communication plan that will promote both internal and external partnerships.
While communication to the broader community is always important, it will become even more important as the school district navigates through challenging times ahead. It is inevitable that some difficult choices will be coming. Communication efforts will be critical to provide transparency and maintain credibility. Members of the public will need to trust that the Board is making carefully considered recommendations in order to maintain their support.
While I do not believe that it is helpful to have everyone see all of the details that went into a decision, it is important to be transparent about options considered and the decision process used to arrive at a recommendation. I think in general people underestimate the ability and motivation of the public to understand complex topics if they are presented in a fair and balanced manner.
Peter G. Daniels
Home: La Grange
Profession: Attorney and Partner with Walker Wilcox Matousek LLP
Community / Political experience: For the past four years I have served as a member of District 102’s Financial Advisory Council. Involvement with FAC has given me an up close look at many of the important issues facing our District, especially from a financial perspective. I also serve as a Co-Chair of RAiSE, a group organized to provide resources and support for those interested in special education and learning disabilities. My children and I are active in the YMCA Indian Guides and Princess programs and our family are members of St. Francis Xavier parish.
Other / Professional experience:
In May, 2005 I joined twenty-three other attorneys in splitting from a large
Chicago law firm to start a new firm.
I was elected partner in September, 2008.
My practice involves complex commercial litigation, employment litigation,
insurance coverage, professional liability, business counseling, risk
management and contract negotiations. Matters frequently involve multimillion dollar claims and exposure.
I have argued in courts throughout the country, including the Illinois
– Indiana University – BA – 1992 – Telecommunications & French
– Honors Classes in Telecommunications
– Delta Upsilon Fraternity
– Loyola University Chicago School of Law – JD- 1998
– Law Journal, Articles Editor
– Niagara Moot Court
List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them:
Our financial situation remains our most pressing challenge. Projections by William Blair & Co. indicate that our education fund will run out of money in 2014. This is the fund we use to pay for core educational expenses, like teacher salaries. By 2015, all District funds will be gone.
We must find a way to close the widening gap between spending and revenue. Although we have taken steps to reduce costs, these will not be enough to avert a crisis situation if revenues don’t increase sharply over the next three years. At this point, the only realistic source of such new revenue would come from a referendum seeking a tax increase.
However, I do not believe we can ask taxpayers to contribute more unless we can demonstrate: 1. we have done all we can to reduce spending, and 2. our programs provide great value to the community. In order to move forward, we must immediately conduct a comprehensive evaluation of our educational programs. We must thoroughly analyze spending and determine consistent, comparable costs for programs and initiatives. Then, we must evaluate the benefits of each program, including its effectiveness and the likely effects of reducing spending. If we can make further cuts while maintaining our programs then we must do so.
Setting Educational Priorities
Our serious financial situation requires us to evaluate spending and prioritize our educational programs. We cannot plan as though revenues will increase through a referendum or by other means. If we are unable to fund all of our worthwhile programs, as William Blair projects, then we will need to establish priorities. These are the principles that would guide me in this process. First, and most importantly, I believe our core responsibility is to provide an excellent, academic education to all of our students. Our first priority must be to ensure that all of our children achieve a firm understanding of core, academic subjects, like math, language arts and science. Our second priority should be maintaining supplemental programs that benefit and enrich all students, like art, music and Spanish. Next, we should provide special opportunities to those with exceptional potential. Finally, we should endeavor to provide opportunities for students to pursue specialized interests, like clubs and sports. As a parent of children in a broad range of District programs, including the Talent Development (gifted), special education and PIMA, I can provide a broad perspective in setting our educational priorities.
Our District is facing some of its most significant challenges in years. As we grapple with these issues, good communication will be critical. Members of the Board of Education must confront the challenges we face in an open, direct and collaborative way. As a whole, our District must engage in a dialog with our community. Such communication will be critical if the District moves to initiate a referendum. It is just as important to have effective, internal communication. The Board and Administration must cultivate and maintain positive channels of communication with our staff.
Joyce Easter Fitch
Home: LaGrange Park
Profession: Joyce currently works as a consultant in educational technology and data, and corporate training. Her current focus is how to deal with ethical issues and risks some forms of technology can present.
Community / Political experience: Joyce has served on the Board of Education for 4 years and is seeking a second 4 year term. While on the Board, Joyce has served on the Financial Advisory Council, the Communications and Technology Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, Liaison Committee and as a liaison to the administration for Curriculum. She is currently Vice President of the Board of Education
Other / Professional experience: Joyce brings more than over 30 years of education experience to her role as a Board member. She has taught middle school in both District 102 and 101, and she served as The District 102 Technology Director Joyce has also taught at the graduate level for three local universities.
Joyce is a lifelong resident of District 102 with connections in each of its towns. She currently lives with her husband Dr. Ted Fitch, veterinarian, former owner of Brookfield’s Merrick Animal Hospital. They have two grown children and one grandson. Joyce attended both Ogden and Cossitt Schools.
Her mother, Dorothy Easter, was very active in the 102 schools, most notably helping Congress Park develop programs for low-income students outside school hours. Joyce’s sister, Norma Gowlett, taught at LTHS.
Education: Joyce’s Bachelor’s degree is in English with minors in French and Secondary Education, from Knox College in Galesburg, IL. She has MS Ed in Technology from the National Louis University. Further advanced studies were at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.
List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them: Accountability is key to a good school board as well as to all levels of educators. Good communication with the public showing how the Board, staff and even students are accountable allows the public the opportunity to appreciate the schools and understand the unique environment of education. Decisions need to be based on data and communication must be open and honest for both the celebrations and challenges faced by the schools.
Financial accountable is critical for the Board of Education especially in the current economic situation with little money available to schools. The Board needs to be accountable to the public by investigating a variety of options regarding revenue and expenses and providing data to show efficient spending practices. Programs need to be researched and evaluated to obtain data showing the impact of these programs on the students, and results made public so the community is aware of how its money is being spent.
We need to provide each child with the support he/she needs to the extent that money allows. No student should learn at the expense of another student, but not all students need the same learning experience in a district as diverse as District 102. To create the best education for each student, we need to focus always on the students and what is best for them. Then, we must provide all the support needed to the staff to do what is best for the children. We cannot sacrifice what is good for kids because it is hard for adults, nor can we agree to teach children as we were taught simply because we turned out okay. The research on good educational practice today was unheard of 15 years ago, and the world of tomorrow is unknown to us and to the students, so we must be prudent about teaching skills that prepare students for their future in education and careers.
Home: LaGrange Park
Profession: I am currently retired.
Community / Political experience: I developed a Feeding of the Elderly Program in Pontiac, Michigan. I was very active in fund-raising for the City of Detroit, Michigan, working as Promotion Chairman with the Virginia Slims Tennis Tournament. All proceeds went to the City.
Other / Professional experience: I was a high school English teacher in both the states of Ohio and Michigan. I worked in curriculum development in both states. After leaving teaching, I volunteered in the schools as a resource for music and art. Subsequently, I entered the business world where I managed the educational programming for 12 medical societies. In my last employed years, I taught the managers of hospital departments how to gather statistics, enter them in their computers and print reports. I currently do volunteer reading monitoring at my grandson’s nursery school.
BA – University of Michigan
MA – Case Western Reserve University
List the top challenges facing this board and how you would address them: Currently, I feel we are over-utilizing new teachers. Experienced teachers are more costly, salary-wise, but their experience is worth it. I’d like to propose that new teachers be monitored carefully, and that students have a new teacher only every few years. My granddaughter has had two new teachers in a row, and although I feel her education has been good, I would hope by next year she has an experienced teacher.
Another challenge is that the Board Communications with the community are in need of improvement. Most parents I’ve spoken with do not know how to communicate their concerns or how best to learn on what the Board is currently working.
This shouldn’t be difficult to correct.