Three new members of the Lyons-Brookfield School District 103 Board of Education were sworn in on April 27, giving Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty complete control of the school board.
Sara Andreas, Slagjana Aleksikj and Mario Ramirez ran unopposed in the April election as minority bloc incumbents Sharon Anderson, Shannon Johnson and Marge Hubacek all decided not to run for re-election.
Andreas is 24 years old and moved to Lyons two years ago.
“I was looking for a community where I could afford the property taxes,” said Andreas in a brief interview after her first school board meeting last week.
Andreas has served on the Lyons Library Board for the past two years after being appointed to the post. She is a graduate of Colorado State University where she majored in political science and was active in Republican politics.
“I’m very excited to serve on the school board and I’m excited to be a young woman in this position,” Andreas said. “I feel like we have a lot of opportunities to make some good change.”
At Colorado State Andreas was the president of the College Republicans group, worked as field director for Americans for Prosperity, a conservative and libertarian-oriented group founded by the wealthy industrialists Charles and the late David Koch. She also worked as a field organizer for the Colorado Republican Party.
Andreas, who grew up in Lemont, now works as a sales coordinator for her family’s business Robert R. Andreas & Sons, a concrete construction company based in Cicero.
The company has been a prolific campaign contributor for decades. Over the last decade it has donated $15,500 to Citizens for Christopher Getty, the Lyons mayor’s campaign committee.
Andreas & Sons has also contributed $10,750 to the United Citizens Party, Getty’s political party in Lyons. Andreas & Sons has also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past 15 years to campaign committees for Cicero President Larry Dominick. The company has also donated lesser amounts to state Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D- Cicero) and Hispanic Democrats United, a political action committee based in Cicero.
Sara Andreas was an active supporter of Getty’s re-election campaign this, a race in incumbent mayor easily won with 69.25 percent of the vote.
Aleksikj, 41, is the mother of three District 103 students, an eighth-grader at George Washington Middle School and twins in fourth grade at Costello school. She worked for about five years at the Lyons Public Library until leaving that job last year when the COVID pandemic hit. Aleksikj now runs a small trucking company. She has lived in Lyons for about 10 years.
“I have kids in the district, so I really want them to have the best,” Aleksikj said. “So far I’ve been very pleased with how the board’s run, so I will see and learn and go with the flow. I am interested in learning and doing the best for the board.”
Ramirez is a former District 103 custodian. He was hired as a full-time night custodian starting on Dec. 1, 2016 but was laid off last year as part of a reduction in force that was based on seniority.
Anderson said Ramirez now works for village of Lyons in the public works department, and an employee compensation list for fiscal year 2021 posted on the village of Lyons website indicates a Mario Ramirez working as a Tier II public works employee. Ramirez did not return a call or a text message from the Landmark.
Torres re-elected board president
In their first act of business, the newly constituted school board unanimously re-elected Jorge Torres as president of the school board. Torres, who works as a building inspector for the village of Lyons, has been president of the school board for the last two years.
Winifred Rodriguez was unanimously re-elected as board vice-president while Andreas was unanimously chosen to serve as board secretary.
Anderson leaves the board after serving on it for 15 years. She was president of the school board from 2013 until 2015.
“I’m grateful for the time that I spent on the board,” Anderson said. “I learned a lot. I made some good friends. I hope that I made a difference in some way.”
Johnson and Hubacek each served on the board for one four-year term. They ran on a slate with Anderson in 2017 when all three defeated a slate of Getty-backed candidates, including two incumbents, to wrest control of the school board temporarily from a Getty-backed bloc elected in 2015.
But the tables were turned in 2019, when four Getty-backed candidates swept all the seats and defeating longtime incumbent Joanne Schaeffer.
“It’s been a tough two years and so I’m relieved,” said Hubacek, the board president from 2017 until 2019, of leaving the board. “The board did not work together. I believe the three of us were kept in the dark. It was unusual: no transparency, no communication.
“I’m sure that there are community members who are going to be watching closely on what policies they set and how they spend their money and how they lead the district forward.”
Hubacek, who worked as secretary in the school district for 33 years before retiring in 2015, is not optimistic about the new board.
“I don’t anticipate questions, I don’t anticipate a lot of information, I don’t anticipate a lot of reports, I don’t anticipate closed sessions, I don’t anticipate any of that because it’s a 7-0 board,” Hubacek said.
Johnson, who teaches second grade at a school in Glencoe, said she was proud of her work on the school board.
“We did some good work when we had the opportunity,” Johnson said. “I’m confident in knowing that every decision I made was with kids’ best interests in mind.”