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 involvement:
In the community, I have been a coach with AYSO for the past six years, a basketball coach with the district’s CPCFRO program, and involved in the Guides program. In addition, I served on the Delegate Assembly two years ago, an experience that allowed me to be part of a process that collaborated with members from all areas of the District 102 community to identify issues and concerns from the entire district and to interview potential school-board candidates.
I have a master’s degree in School Leadership and Special Education and I am pursuing my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Concordia University. I received my bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University.
Assistant Superintendent for Student Services in Downers Grove: 6 years
Special Education Teacher and Department Chair in Downers Grove: 9 years
Graphic Design and Art Director in Chicago: 10 years
Why do you want to be a school board member?
Our twin boys have benefitted from attending Barnsdale and Ogden Elementary School for the past seven years. Year after year I have been continually impressed by the professionalism of the District’s administration team and inspired by the teachers’ passion for their work and dedication in supporting students. They have inspired me to give back so that all District 102 students can have experiences similar to my boys. I am passionate about supporting both the academic and social/emotional growth of all students and will work collaboratively to accomplish results.
How many school board meetings have you attended in the past year? What has been your impression the board’s effectiveness?
Throughout the last seven years, I have been involved in various PTO events, attended CEMA meetings, and consistently listened to the board podcasts and read through meetings notes to learn more about the district and its issues. I have not attended a school board meeting.
What is the most important issue facing the next school board, and what should the solution be?
The district needs to address the space limitations that exist and involve all stakeholders in this process. Involving the community, parents, teachers, and students can help provide a clear understanding of needs, generate respectful options, and deliver a supportive plan that is equitable to all schools.
The district continues to face an achievement gaps for specific groups of students that needs to be addressed through solutions that look at the whole child and not just test scores. I would advocate for providing opportunities to connect students and families to the district through increased communication and support.
If elected, what changes would you like to have accomplished by the end of your term?
Restructuring of how District 102 communicates can be accomplished in the first term. Currently, the district communicates an enormous amount of information. I would like to see the district structure the communication plan to offer a monthly summary as well as specific and targeted communication on key topics within the district. This includes a communication plan to those community stakeholders that may not have students attending 102 schools, or families that have limited or no access to social media or the school website. It is also equally important to celebrate the many wonderful learning opportunities and student experiences that exist throughout the entire district. This can be accomplished through more effective and targeted communication.
The district can also make significant strides in meeting the goals outlined in the strategic plan, particularly the goals that address the achievement gap, by building stronger connections with student and families to their school and to the district. Equally important is promoting positive relationships with surrounding communities to learn and support each other in addressing the achievement gap and equity in our schools.
District 102 should be actively seeking out input from students, parents, teachers and the community through targeted surveys, focus groups, district committees, and school functions to improve programming and interventions offered to support all students. In addition, the district can implement early intervention services by using timely school data that will engage students and families in addressing academic and social/emotional needs.
If elected, what changes would you most strongly resist?
I would resist changes that are impulsive and not well planned. The district along with the school board need to make evidence-based, student centered decisions that offer support, resources and ongoing professional learning to teacher and staff. Any intervention or program implementation must be afforded the time to monitor and assess effectiveness. Finally, all stakeholders, including the community, must be well-informed of these changes and have the ability to provide feedback.
I believe the board of education needs to be fiscally responsible to all stakeholders and as a board member I would advocate for transparency, clear communication and input from the community.
What other issues facing the school district are of interest to you? Why?
I have a strong interest in ensuring families who have students with disabilities receive the supports and programming needed to be successful in high school and with post-secondary goals.
I am interested in the success of D102 students in high school and how they compare to students in surrounding school districts. I would like to see District 102 increase our partnership with Lyons Township High School to learn how students coming from D102 perform both academically and in their social/emotional growth. This information is vital in understanding district programming and supports.
The school district is also facing a decision regarding their partnership with the Lyons Township School Treasurer’s Office (TTO). I am interested in learning more and seeking community feedback to help District 102 make an informed decision that is student centered.