Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.

Previous political experience: Brookfield Public Library Trustee ~ Treasurer and Building & Grounds Committee (2001-2011)

Previous community experience:

  • Chairperson for school-wide Science Fair at Brook Park School
  • Volunteer for Brook Park BPC and S.E. Gross PTO school events
  • Brookfield Little League Team Mom
  • Volunteer for Brookfield Project Nice and Meet the Creek
  • Eucharistic Minister & Mass Coordinator – St. Louise deMarillac Church, LaGrange Park, IL

Education: B.S. Elementary Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1995), Riverside-Brookfield High School (1991)

Employment: Kindergarten Teacher, River Forest District 90

What should the district do to improve access to technology for students?

Educational systems have a responsibility to prepare our students to be successful members of a technological world. The district needs to take a serious look at our current technology state and the future of technology in education. It may be necessary to consider creating a position for a district level Technology Director who can assess our current technology, create a long-range (3-5 year) technology plan, oversee the implementation of such a plan, and seek grants to fund future technology needs.

What are your thoughts on implementing a K through 8 foreign language program in District 95?

Being able to speak more than one language can only benefit our students in the long run and the earlier children learn a second language, the easier it is. However, space and funding have the potential to become roadblocks for such a program. S.E. Gross Middle School already has a foreign language program, however, it is an elective, not a requirement. I would certainly support looking at making that program a requirement for students. At the elementary level, I would suggest starting with a voluntary foreign language enrichment program (either during lunch or after school) as a way to address this need until the district can financially support such a program in its curriculum.

How should District 95 address and fund its ongoing infrastructure needs?

District 95 needs to take a systematic look at its infrastructure needs and establish both short and long-term prioritized goals that align with other district goals (such as technology, curriculum, etc.). Funding is always difficult. The state of education funding in Illinois is terrible. We will need to look for available grants and areas in the budget that can be readjusted.

What would you like to see in the next teachers’ contract? What would you change, if anything?

Quality teachers are key to the education of our students. We need to be able to attract and retain the most qualified educators. However, all future contracts will have to reflect the financial resources of the district and the tax paying families that fund our schools. Negotiations must be conducted in a professional and fair manner. The best results for both sides are usually achieved when there is a previously established level of trust and respect. I believe that does currently exist between the parties and we must bargain from that starting point.

What are your thoughts on District 95 possibly changing its grade-reporting system to one that’s standards-based?

As the district moves to align with the new Common Core State Standards, it seems logical to shift our assessment/reporting system to a standards-based system, which provides more thorough feedback on a student’s progress toward mastering the standards than the traditional reporting system does.

What other important issues do you think the next school board will face, and how would you like to see those addressed?

The school district will have to closely monitor legislative action coming out of Springfield related to school funding and teacher pensions. It will be vital for the board and staff to develop strong working relationships with local legislatures to be able to give feedback and potentially impact the decisions that are made.

In light of recent events, it will also be important for the district to continually evaluate its current school security system to be sure we are providing the safest environment we can for our children. I believe our district has done a great deal to ensure the safety of our students. This is just an area that should be regularly looked at and re-evaluated.