Our schools have undergone changes this past year that have forced everyone to learn something new in the world of education. Whether you are a parent, student, teacher, support staff, or family member of this group, your world has been forever altered. 

As summer approaches and we see some sort of a reset in education, this election offers an opportunity for new voices to be heard. We are willing to listen to your voice and we want to be thoughtful actors as we make our way back to an education landscape that has new opportunities and hurdles ahead. 

We are proud educators, parents and members of our respective communities of North Riverside and Riverside. Lorena has been working with students in Chicago Public Schools to guide their post-secondary education and career paths, and Ryan has been a teacher and coach at Oak Park and River Forest High School since 2003. 

Together we bring knowledge of diversity, equity and inclusion training, career pathways, and career and technical education grant funding affecting the district. Our goal is to elevate the status of the Riverside-Brookfield High School within the communities of Brookfield, LaGrange Park, North Riverside and Riverside. 

We believe that strong public education reflects the priorities of a community to provide opportunity for our teens to have a sense of place, a chance for growth and an education that respects the diverse interests and talents of our students. 

We hope to be a voice that will promote unity by listening to the communities and respecting the desires of the stakeholders who are investing in the trusted institution of public education. We hope to bring a love of service to the board and inspire others to be involved to help our communities move forward together.

After a year that has tested us in ways we couldn’t have imagined prior to a pandemic, we found the best in ourselves and in our communities with social supports like a major street closed to traffic in Brookfield to support restaurants and outdoor dining. 

“Riversiders in Need” was a group created to support individuals and families needing to put food on the table. Our North Riverside neighbors created the North Riverside “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” page to ensure everyone had access to basic necessities at the height of the pandemic. 

Many RB students became active in organizing marches to support the dignity of life after the George Floyd murder on Memorial Day. We have the ability to come together to support one another as we emerge from a year we wouldn’t have wished on anyone. 

Our goal is to speak words of positivity, listen to concerns with empathy, and share joy in our communities through the very simple act of public service as school board members for Riverside Brookfield High School District 208. 

Join us in our mission to elevate our school to be a shining focal point of pride for everyone. Join us: Community. Collaboration. Change.

Lorena Gasca and Ryan VenHorst are candidates running for seats on the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 Board of Education.