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: None
Previous community experience:
Lyons Community Garden
Occupation: Second grade teacher
Graduated D103 1993, Morton West H.S. 1997, Loyola University 2003 (Bachelors in Elementary Education K-9 middle school endorsement in Language Arts), and Benedictine University 2017 (Masters in Literacy Instruction w/Reading specialist certification)
Why are you running for a seat on District 103 school board?
I am running for a seat on the District 103 school board in order to ensure that all of the available resources that the district has are directed to the students and the students only.
Also to research and obtain resources that the district needs. The current board does not have the student’s best interest in mind and that needs to change.
Are you or a family member employed by the village of Lyons? No
What role should municipal politics and politicians play at the school board level? What influence does Lyons Village Hall have on decisions the school board makes?
Politics has NO role at the school district level. They are and should remain two separate entities. A school district should not be used for political gain and/or to honor political promises that have been made to supporters of said political party.
The Lyons Village Hall, led by President Christopher Getty, is the puppeteer of the current school board. Everyone that has been hired into the district has some sort of political connection. One for example, Ryan Grace, who is now in charge of the custodial/maintenance department, is a well known Getty supporter and former Lyons Village trustee. Another clear connection is the current Assistant superintendent, Kyle Hastings, who was brought in through his connection to Christopher Getty’s political party and had a position created for himself as the as the assistant superintendent, which costs the district $100,000 a year plus benefits. A third connection is George Torres, current school board member, who is also the Lyons village inspector hired by Christopher Getty. There are so many more that the list could go on and on. One doesn’t have to look far to find the political connections of the new school board members and new hires in the district.
What do you think about standardized (PARCC) test scores and academic performance at schools in District 103? What action can the school board take to help improve student achievement?
The PARCC scores are only one measurement of student achievement and should not be relied on as the sole picture of the district’s achievements or failures. There are many assessments that are used to gauge student progress and to use in order to direct instruction and show areas for improvement.
The school board can look into resources and programs that the teachers can use to improve student achievement. They can offer training and funds directed toward the needs of the students instead of revamping the district office in the amount of $115,000. That money can go much further if used to help acquire the materials, curriculum, resources, and professional development in which the students and teachers would benefit and in turn, improving academic performance.
I don’t see how creating positions and revamping the administration building would help improve academic performance.
How does District 103 integrate technology into the classroom? What can be done to expand the integration of technology at the classroom level?
Currently the district is behind in the times when it comes to technology. They have chromebooks, some laptops, desktops, and various other devices to use. However, the lack of technological leadership poses a big problem in implementing best practice when it comes to integrating technology in the classrooms. Hiring a competent head of technology who is well versed in the current technological trends and available programs would be a great start in expanding the integration of technology in the classrooms. Also, programs such as google, should be incorporated throughout the district. It is a free resource that can be used on many levels.
What is your evaluation of the new District 103 superintendent and administrative team?
So far, I feel that the superintendent and assistant superintendent have done NOTHING to improve student learning. They have brought controversy and unrest to the district. They have not been transparent in their plans and are often working more with their political allies than they are with the staff and students. I feel that many of the long time principals are continuing to go above and beyond to make their schools the best they can be while fighting against the current policies and hirings that the superintendent and assistant superintendent are implementing without the best interests of staff and students in mind.
What other issues are important to you as a school board candidate? How would you advocate for them as a board member?
Other issues that are important to me are ensuring that best practice is being followed at all times in the district when it comes to educating the students. I feel that it is very important to get the materials, professional development, and resources into the teacher’s hands so that they are able to meet the needs of their students. Finally, I feel that the positions that have been created in the district need to be reevaluated and eliminated if it does not directly help our students and staff. I would advocate for these things by helping research best practice, offering ideas, finding appropriate curriculum, and helping in any way to ensure that we are always putting our students first. After all, it is their schools, their lives, and their futures!