Kyle Wood, who was appointed to the Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95 Board of Education in June 2020 and won a four-year term in his first bid for election in April, is leaving the school board after serving for 13 months.
A Brookfield resident for about 10 years, Wood and his family are moving out of District 95’s boundaries in what he described as an unexpected circumstance.
“We had been passively looking, and we were looking at places within our area,” Wood told the Landmark in a phone interview Aug. 4. “Then something came up that was just too nice to pass on.”
An art teacher at an elementary school in Naperville, Wood said the move has the benefit of cutting his commute time in half.
While it’s typical for school boards to solicit the community for applicants to fill any vacancies caused by mid-term resignations, that won’t be the case in District 95 this time.
School board President Katie Mulcrone confirmed that Brookfield resident Elizabeth Loerop will be appointed to fill the vacancy at the board’s next meeting on Aug. 12.
The school board not that long ago sought applicants to fill a vacancy on the school board created when only three candidates ran for four open seats in the April election.
That call for candidates drew nine applicants, one of whom – LaGrange Park resident and former S.E. Gross Middle School PTO president Melissa Biskupic – was chosen to for that vacancy. Another of the applicants was Loerop, said Mulcrone.
“We just went through this process in May and we are taking one candidate from that pool instead of starting over from scratch,” Mulcrone said.
Loerop, like Wood, is also an educator. Since 2008, Loerop has worked as a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. She has a B.A. in elementary education from Anderson University and an M.A. in reading teacher education from Concordia University in River Forest.
After starting as a special education teacher, Loerop eight years ago became the lead literacy teacher at Evergreen Academy Middle School in the McKinley Park neighborhood of Chicago, one of the few standalone middle schools in the CPS system. She teaches eighth-grade English language arts there.
“Education and doing what’s right for the community interests me,” said Loerop, who has a second-grader at Brook Park School “I’m excited to dive in, observe and do what’s best for the community.”
In his short time on the school board, Wood sought to connect directly with constituents, and even created a specific Twitter and Instagram accounts, using the handle @KyleWoodSD95 so residents could keep track of school board topics and school district news.
Wood’s Twitter feed was an active one through February, but his last post was March 16 as the school district wrestled with staying with a hybrid learning approach or returning students to classrooms for full-day, in-person instruction.
Two weeks earlier, Wood tweeted about someone screaming obscenities at his wife related to the reopening debate.
But, Wood said, seeking to join the school board last year in the midst of a pandemic was a conscious choice.
“I wanted to join because it was a difficult time with difficult decisions to make,” Wood said. “I wanted to be part of that conversation.”
Wood’s last school board meeting in District 95 on July 29 involved another contentious issue, whether to implement a universal mask mandate in District 95 schools when classes begin Aug. 25.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced on Aug. 4 that face coverings would be mandated in K-12 schools in the coming school year due to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the state, but parents who spoke at that meeting prior to the state mandate were split equally on whether to mandate masks or make them optional for students.
While school board members, including Wood, eventually chose a universal mask mandate, Wood said he was impressed by the tenor of the public input at the July 29 meeting.
“People shared their beliefs and feelings, but they maintained a respectful dialogue,” Wood said. “There’s room for disagreements about policies, but I think everyone who stood up and made a statement can feel good about it and showed respect.”
This story has been changed to correctly state that three candidates ran for four open seats on the District 95 school board in the April 2021 election.