Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 is on the brink of a new chapter in its history. With the hiring of a new principal and a seeming new commitment to serving a more diverse student population, there is room for new ways of thinking about education at the local high school.
It’s in that spirit that we are endorsing William Durkin, Thomas Jacobs, John Keen and Deanna Zalas for the four open school board seats up for election on April 2.
The four represent a variety of views regarding education and what’s important. All but Keen would be new to the school board, but have strong views and a good understanding of what it involves to be a school board member.
What we like most about this group is that they would bring a fresh look at how education is delivered at RBHS. Over the past decade, there’s been a great deal of focus around finances and the campus infrastructure. That’s all appropriate – every school district faces decisions regarding its buildings, especially old ones like RBHS, and spending.
We’re especially happy to endorse Jacobs, who would bring a completely original and thought-provoking approach – one that seeks to create educated citizens who will be faced with entering an adult world that is marked by political turmoil at home and abroad, climatic uncertainty and a country that demands leaders who can cope.
It’s a view of education that would demand quite a lot from administrators and teachers, but would instill in students a sense of committed citizenship if adopted. We’re not sure the RBHS community is ready for such a challenge, but it’d interesting to find out.
We also admire Zalas’ focus on strategic planning for the future and commitment to have RBHS’ administration and faculty more closely match the student enrollment it serves.
Durkin would bring a new voice, a solid knowledge of finance and a wish to also shine a light on the need for RBHS to better serve students who are not on a path to college, to prepare them for an adult world they will be entering as teens.
Keen has been a committed, earnest school board member of eight years. He was among those who were tasked with weathering the effects of a national financial crisis and has been an important part of the improvements made in that time.