Below are candidate-submitted answers to a survey Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Office sought: SD 103 Board Member
Previous political experience: proponent of two public policy questions, VOL Police Pension Board
Previous community involvement: Youth Board member, Berwyn Cicero YMCA, Lyons Community Watch, Lyons Women’s Club, Citizen’s Advocacy Center, pro bono environmental assistance to Save the Timbers and Lyons residents
Education: Completed ACS requirements for BS in chemistry at multiple schools
Occupation: Retired; formerly research chemist, material science engineer, environmental management rep, auditor for ISO 14001/OHSAS 18000
Why do you want to be a school board member?
I want to see SD 103 provide our children with the academic and social skills and opportunities they need to become all that they can be. I graduated from Lincoln School in 1966, and it saddens me to see that the majority of the children attending there and George Washington Middle School are not meeting, yet alone exceeding, state achievement standards. I’m dismayed by the disparities in achievement between and within the various elementary schools in our district, and by the low percentage of LT bound GWMS students meeting/exceeding state standards compared to every other school feeding into that district. I do NOT believe that demographics equal destiny, and I believe as a school board member I can effectively work to prove the truth of that.
How many school board meetings have you attended in the past year?
More than 10
What is the most important issue facing the next school board, and what should the solution be?
To me, the most important issue is bringing our students up to where they should be academically, regardless of which school they attend in our district or what their
family background, income level or ethnicity might be. The next board can achieve this by focusing on providing good governance, which includes setting measurable goals and objectives related to education and academic achievement and success and subsequently holding the administration accountable for achieving those goals and objectives. The board should also seek to enlist the advice, assistance and support of community organizations, local business and the community at large in this endeavor, and strive to identify and utilize no cost/low cost resources that will aid in achieving this, wherever possible.
If elected, what changes would you like to have accomplished by the end of your term?
I would like to have introduced STEM (Science Technology Engineering Match) as part of the curriculum in every school. The district would have a robust plan in place to address deficiencies in meeting Common Core Standards, minimize achievement disparities between schools and subgroups within individual schools and close the gap in achievement between district schools and other schools feeding into LT. The district would be utilizing district/parent/community committees/teams to investigate and make recommendations on specific issues, rather than relying entirely on paid, outside experts.
If elected, what changes would you most strongly resist?
I would strongly resist any attempt to relinquish any more board oversight and responsibility to the either the superintendent or outside entities. I would resist any change that could bring the district into violation of the School Code. And I would resist any attempt to base hiring, purchasing or contract decisions on the interests of any of the local municipal political parties or administrations.
What other issues facing the school district are of interest to you? Why?
Other issues that concern me include the lack of communication to the community and resulting lack of community involvement, the disparity between schools within the district in terms of in both attention and allocation of resources, and the failure of the current Board and administration to seek continual educational improvement.