Thomas Cushing was unanimously elected the president of the Lyons Township High School District 204 Board of Education last week. Cushing will replace Heather Alderman, who chose not to run for another term on the school board after serving two terms, as president.
Alderman served as president of the board for 10 months after longtime board President Mark Pera stepped down from the board to move to Chicago. Pera had been president of the board since 2001.
Cushing, a 1980 graduate of LTHS, is a lawyer with the law firm of Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan. He joined the LTHS board in 2012 when longtime board member Bill Purcell died. In 2013, Cushing was elected to a full four-year term.
A resident of LaGrange, Cushing has three sons who attend LTHS and another on the way.
Cushing was the only board member nominated to be board president.
“We have a very collegial group and we have very in depth discussions at our meetings,” Cushing said. “I was certainly available to be president, to hold that role for the board at this time. I will say though that, of our seven members, any member of the board that was elected would do a great job.”
One priority for the board is to finish negotiating a new teachers’ contract. The current five-year contract expires June 30. The board and LT Faculty Association began negotiating in April, but Cushing said that he hopes the board and the union can come to an agreement soon.
“There’s a good history between the district and the LT Faculty Association in terms of coming to resolution and agreement on the contract sooner rather than later, so we’re hopeful that that will occur again this year,” Cushing said.
Cushing said the board is evaluating technology options and is excited about rolling out a new learning management system next year.
“It will make it easier for the teachers to develop their own web pages and to have links within pages to provide for more ready accessibility to the students.” Cushing said. “We think this will be well-received by the faculty … and those who have heard about it and have had a chance to see it demonstrated are very excited about the potential that is has.”
LTHS does not provide its students with laptop computers. Many schools, such as Riverside-Brookfield High School, are implanting so called one-to-one programs.
“That’s something that we’re discussing,” Cushing said. “We’ll implement it if it’s appropriate. We’re still investigating all the parameters of that.”