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:
Previous community experience:
- Co-founder of Indivisible Brookfield
- Indivisible Illinois Fellow
- Previously volunteered for The Hope Chest in La Grange, in support of Pillars Community Health’s Constance Morris House
- Room parent at Brook-Park for the 2017/2018 school year
- Regularly volunteered for Project N.I.C.E.
- Attends D95 School Board meetings starting in 2017, as her son entered Kindergarten
- Attends Brookfield Library Board and Brookfield Board meetings
Occupation: Sr. Mortgage Underwriter
Education: Mt. Assisi Academy
Why are you running for a seat on District 95 school board?
I am running for District 95 school board because I know the importance of excellent public schools. As the parent of a District 95 first grader, I look forward to the opportunity to provide leadership and community representation as the district transitions from the construction phase into the new and exciting challenges ahead.
When it came to my attention that there were three seats open this election cycle I recognized an opportunity to give more of my time to ensure District 95 stays the course and maintains the checks and balances every public service needs.
In addition to being the parent of a District 95 student, I am also a homeowner, I understand the importance of a strong school district as it relates to home values and desirability. Maintaining public schools is important for not only my family, but the community at large, whether or not you have a child in school.
Are there any specific issues you would advocate the school board address, change or implement?
I will arrive to the board ready to ensure there is continued collaboration between the administration, staff and the teacher’s union. I will also work to encourage community engagement and seek community feedback.
Over the past month, my slate-mate and I, Chris Crisanti, scheduled meetings with Brook Park principal Mike Sorensen, S.E. Gross principal Ryan Evans, SD95 Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski, and T.A.B. president Lynda Nadkarni. The consistent underlying message in each meeting is that the board has had a good working relationship with the District 95 administration and staff. Chris and I will strive to maintain that relationship through listening to and trusting the input we receive from the staff and administrators, especially as important decisions are made. We also believe in the importance of collaboration and teamwork, as has been proven by our work in the community.
Chris and I will continue our community engagement work throughout our term on the school board. As we knock doors and talk to the community at large we have come to the conclusion that residents want to be informed, however those who do not have children in the district may not have the ability to access the information. We will work to ensure the entire community is aware of projects and initiatives in District 95.
By the beginning of the next school year, the renovations and expansion projects at Brook Park and S.E. Gross schools will be completed. What does the next school board need to do to ensure that initiative provides educational value to future students?
Fortunately the District is in great fiscal shape, maintaining this status will be an important part of what comes next. The next board will have to make important decisions around administrative structuring, which will include hiring. The board will also need to make decisions about how the district uses technology, in business and curriculum. Technology moves quickly and the board will need to be prepared to approach technology expenditures with patience, pragmatism and a mindset of “what’s best for the students”. Appropriate, fiscally responsible, administrative restructuring along with technology maintenance and expenditure will ensure that the renovation and expansion projects maintain their educational value to future students.
What do you think about academic performance at schools in District 95?
What areas do you believe could be improved and what action can the school board take to help improve student achievement?
District 95 schools have a proven track record of excellence. My husband and I decided to raise our son in District 95 schools because of their excellence. Based on community feedback, there is a belief that more emphasis on Math would be beneficial.
While it is not the school board’s place to take action in the area of curriculum, school board members have an obligation to bring community feedback to the administration. As I stated earlier, both Chris Crisanti and myself desire to increase community engagement. and I promise to bring that feedback to the administration and follow up on potential actions.
Are there programs District 95 could be providing to students that it does not already provide? If so, how might those programs be implemented?
Based upon my community outreach, I’ve found a strong desire for an early language program. There are proven developmental benefits to knowing more than one language and young learners become proficient faster, and can often learn more than one foreign language. Giving students the ability to start prior to 6th grade would open the possibility to more higher educational opportunities for their futures.
What other issues are important to you as a school board candidate? How would you advocate for them as a board member?
I am the parent of a District student, I am a homeowner, and I am involved in the community at many levels. I do not come to the board with an agenda, or “pet issues”. I believe it is the priority of the school board to provide the best possible educational experience to our students, while maintaining fiscal responsibility. I will support the administration and staff and work to ensure we use all of the state and federal funding available to our district.
I will advocate for the good of our students, and our community. There are many decisions to be made, relationships to build and maintain, and a lot of time to give. I look forward to the opportunity to work for you, our community. Vote Crisanti/McAteer on April 2.