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: This is my first experience running for a political position.
Previous community experience:
- Equity and Achievement Team (current – 2018)
- (CEMA) Committee for Equity and Minority Achievement (current – since 2015)
- Grandparents Raising (current – since 2010)
- The Leadershop (current – since 2014)
- (WSCCI) West Suburban Chamber of Commerce & Industry (current – since 2018)
- Aurora University – Doctorate in Educational Leadership (2012)
- University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Master’s in Leadership and Administration (2001); Bachelor’s in Elementary Education (1997)
- Studied at: San Diego State University (1994-95)
- San Diego Mera Mesa College, Associates in Liberal Studies (1994)
- Studied at: College of DuPage (1973 – 1975)
- (LTHS) Lyons Township High School (1973)
- Congress Park Elementary School (1969)
As a real estate investment broker with Chase Real Estate in Naperville, IL, I specialize in bank foreclosures, HUD and under-market properties which is very useful when working with new and experienced real estate investors to build their investment portfolios as well as servicing traditional buyers and sellers with their real estate transactions.
In addition, I serve as the part time Interim Liaison to the African American Community at LTHS and an Adjunct Professor with Olivet Nazarene University and National Louis University.
- Park Forest – Chicago Heights School District 163 (Retired Principal 2016); Blackhawk Intermediate & Primary Center (Principal July 2005 to June 2017); Forest Trail Middle School (Assistant Principal July 2002 to June 2005)
- Maywood-Melrose Park School District 89 (Classroom Teacher Aug. 1997 to June 2002)
Why do you want to be a school board member?
As a principal in my former school district, it was a requirement to attend the monthly school board meetings, be a participant on a board committee and plan a yearly school presentation. I was a member of the policy and discipline committee. Attending the meetings, being a part of the committees each month and show casing my school each year allowed me to be part of the district’s bigger plan.
In addition to creating and monitoring the district’s long-term vision/strategic plan, I want to share my time and talents to move the district’s agenda forward. I believe in supporting policies that will provide equitable resources to ensure success for all students, collaborating with stakeholders to improve teaching and learning and monitoring the fiscal health of the district.
How many school board meetings have you attended in the past year? What has been your impression the board’s effectiveness?
In addition to the 7 or 8 school board meetings that I have attended in the past year, I have been an active member of the Community for Equity and Minority Achievement (CEMA) Committee for 3 years. I have a positive impression of the current board of education and the work they have done to focus on the needs of all students. I am encouraged with their commitment to improve the culture for students with special needs-with implementing the NORA program, the continued focus on equity/achievement and the opportunity gap and curriculum: Standard-Based Grading, Structured Word Inquiry (SWI) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
What is the most important issue facing the next school board and what should the solution be?
I believed that it is important for the board of education to continue its implementation and monitoring of the current Strategic Plan: Goal 1: Student Development, Goal 2: culture and Relationships, Goal 3: Exemplary Employees and Goal 4: Process and Financials.
If elected, what changes would you like to have accomplished by the end of your term?
I have been a member of the La Grange community for more than 50 years. I am a graduate of both LTHS and Congress Park Elementary School and did not have an academic learning experience about my culture until I attended classes at San Diego Mesa College and San Diego State University. As a student with a minor in history, I would like to see the district implement a curriculum or program that blends student’s culture throughout the school year. For example, is there attention given to African American, Latino or Women’s history etc.—district wide— within the current curriculum beyond the February, March or May. Knowing that this would require time and planning to develop, it is on my “wish list” and I am willing to assist with the research.
If elected, what changes would you most strong resist?
As a former principal, I understand the need for the awareness of school safety. I believe it is important to practice drills such as: fire, disaster, and lockdowns. At one of the events, I was asked the question of arming teachers with weapons. Knowing the day to day working within a school building, this concerns me deeply. I truly hope we do not have to make this decision, but I am aware that this discussion is now before many school boards.
What other issues facing the school district are of interest to you? Why?
I would state this as a concern and not an issue. I have had the pleasure of speaking with many parent and community members over the past months. During the events, three parents have shared a similar concern for the need to improve how the district reaches out to new families. One parent, who transferred his child from a private school — and is also running for a political position within La Grange, not the school board — expressed that he had questions about district programs and did not know the process of where to get the answers. I know that the district does reach out to new families, however, there appears to be a need to re-evaluate the current program.