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:
Currently elected school board member in D102 (Elected 2015)
Currently board president in D102 and have been for the past 2 years
Previous community involvement:
School board member D102 (current)
Board President D102 (current)
Village Field Club of La Grange Park board member (current)
AYSO soccer coach
Greater La Grange YMCA tee ball coach
Volunteer Lyons Swim Club
Bachelor degree from Illinois State University with Major in Secondary Education and Business.
Master’s degree from Elmhurst College in Supply Chain Management
Certified Accounting & Finance
Certified Purchasing Manager
Certified Six Sigma Blackbelt for Lean and Process Improvement
Certified in Production and Inventory Management
Vice President of Purchasing & Sourcing for Duracell Battery a Berkshire Hathaway Company: 11 years
Professor of Supply Chain, Lean and Six Sigma at Elmhurst College: 13 years
Why do you want to be a school board member?
There has been a great deal of accomplishments while I have been a board member and under my leadership as School Board President for the last two years in District 102. I am running for school board to continue the hard-fought progress that has been accomplished over the last four years, this includes the development of our Strategic Plan of which I am an author, our development of CEMA as a board committee to ensure it thrives, improvement and success of our students through Standardized testing and success throughout High School and College. We have stabilized our financial footing and have cut costs in the district and will continue to be diligent on how we spend money. With my financial background and the fact that I have been on the Financial Advisory Committee for the district we can continue to solidify our financial position.
How many school board meetings have you attended in the past year? What has been your impression the board’s effectiveness?
As a board member and School Board President I not only attend all meetings but I have donated countless hours and time volunteering in our schools. I visit each school more than twice per year to ensure alignment and support on the board’s direction and to solicit their feedback.
The board has been highly effective at doing the things necessary to make ourselves an exceptional district.
- In the last four years, a referendum was passed that, along with additional work, set a positive trajectory for the District’s financial future. We have cut costs but not compromised anything within our districts future.
- Successfully negotiated three separate contracts in the last four years. This was done with all parties maintaining wonderful working relationships and keeping the district on a solid financial path.
- New curriculum adoptions in Math, ELA and soon Science and Social Studies. That is a lot to accomplish in four years, yet the teachers knew it needed to be done and knew they had the boards support. Our teachers feel supported which in turn allows our students to feel supported.
- Implementation of a Dual Language Program and changes to the WL program at the upper-grade levels. This seems like a luxury, it is not. The Dual Language program will demonstrate, over time, increased student achievement and has put Congress Park in an enviable position within the District. This IS part of closing the achievement gaps and reducing the opportunity gaps.
- Changes to the Park Schedule that has allowed for greater opportunities for students and the ability to address needs in a timely manner. Allowing for increased attention to Math and Science in our district.
- Re-invigorated work on addressing equity and minority achievement through CEMA. This has been a huge area this Board has gotten squarely behind. This will have a long-reaching impact. We are slowing expanding our administrative diversity to reflect more of our student population. As called for in Goal # 3 of the Strategic Plan. This Board whole-heartedly backed the work and led the way to make Equity and Minority Achievement a strong focus and foundation of all our work.
- The hiring of a new Assistant superintended for Special Education and the development of SNAP. An establishment of goals and connection with parents established to participate at a high level in their children’s education.
- We have improved communication as seen in surveys with our students, parents and teachers. We have revamped our website and made it clear about scoring and process. We have developed new websites for CEMA, SNAP and Teaching and Learning. I personally speak at events in the community and with the teachers to ensure board support for our direction.
What is the most important issue facing the next school board, and what should the solution be?
We must continue to be diligent when it comes to our Equity work in the district. As we continue to improve our hiring practices we will ensure that we have diversity as a true strength in our district.
We need to be mindful of the space constraints in our district. This is not just a one school opportunity; my vision helps all of our schools. Realizing it helps us to achieve other benefits such as adding STEM labs to all our elementary schools. We would be able to improve the opportunities for our students to understand this type of learning which is so important for their future. This learning is vital for 21st century learning!
If elected, what changes would you like to have accomplished by the end of your term?
STEM labs in each elementary school
Continually improve our mentorship programs by tapping into experts in the community and beyond to ensure Equity for all our children.
Revamping of our common spaces such as libraries to ensure a variety of opportunities for learning and experiment.
Continuing to promote innovation amongst our staff to ensure best techniques for educating our children.
If elected, what changes would you most strongly resist?
Any changes related to losing focus on Equity would be a proposal I would resist. As our district continues to execute on our Strategic Plan we will need to continue to understand and act upon all the variables which relate to our children’s ability to succeed in education and their lives. I would also resist proposals that set the district on bad financial footing. We have worked very hard to ensure that we are financially sound and we need to ensure we stay financially solid.
What other issues facing the school district are of interest to you? Why?
I want to continue to be inclusive with our overall community when it comes to our district. I see expansion of our children’s interaction with our senior community and mentorship opportunities for our district. These are critical to understand the foundation of our community along with opportunities to grow and spur curiosity.
I would also continue to support further opportunities for our Talent Development children and our Special Needs children through challenging curriculum. I see a clear vision where D102 is the leader in both areas through research and technique and investment.