The Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent questionnaires to each person running for public office in 2023. The Landmark’s questions are in bold and the candidate’s responses are below.

Kathryn McQuiston | Provided

Name: Kathryn “Katy” McQuiston

Age: 39

Previous Political Experience: None

Previous/Current Community Involvement: La Grange Community & Economic Development Commission, 2022-present; La Grange Area Newcomers & Neighbors, board member, 2021- present; La Grange Citizens’ Council; Moms Demand Action

Occupation: Sales excellence manager, TricorBraun

Education: B.A. in Communications, University of Missouri – Columbia; M.A. in Higher Education, George Mason University

1. Why are you running to be on the board of LaGrange-Brookfield School District? What motivates you and what experience and perspectives would you bring to the job? How would those be valuable as an elected official? 

I am running for D102 school board because I am passionate about public education. I am a working mom with a 3-year-old son, who will eventually attend D102 schools, so it is also very personal to me. I enjoy being a part of the decision-making process and want to have a seat at the table and serve as a voice for all parents and advocate for the students. I believe education is a public good and all children should have access to high-quality education. I am motivated by the desire to make a difference and serve my community. 

For the past 15+ years, I have worked in various sectors– including higher education, non-profit associations, and business. I have experience working with a variety of stakeholders, I have a keen ability to listen and have also been described as someone who has a ‘bias for action’. 

I have attended the majority of the board meetings for the 2022-23 school year. This has helped me understand the role of the board, the issues they face and the questions they ask of the administration.

2. In recent years, District 102 has launched equity initiatives and made them an important part of its strategic plan. What, in your view, is the value of pursuing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives? Has District 102 started to achieve equitable outcomes for students? How can it do better? 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are important because it improves student learning and outcomes. I support these initiatives and if elected, will continue to advocate for them in D102. 

All students should be able to see themselves, their families, and their culture represented in books and curriculum at all D102 schools. I believe in providing the students of D102 with a full and robust education which can sometimes mean challenging discussions on difficult topics.

3. In recent years, District 102 implemented a standard-based grading system. What are your views of the change? Is there anything else that needs to be done and, if so, what?

I support the change to the standard-based grading system. I believe this grading system offers a more accurate assessment of the student’s progress and achievement. With any new system or policy, it is worthwhile to evaluate how it is working for all stakeholders including students, teachers and parents. 

4. The newly elected school board members will start their terms in a time of transition, with Kyle Schumacher exiting as superintendent on June 30. Do you believe that this represents an opportunity to seek new policy initiatives and, if so, what would you support pursuing? What policies do you believe should be retained? 

I support the policies of the current board and hope the new superintendent prioritizes learning about our district before proposing major changes. I think initiatives and policies related to diversity, equity and inclusion should be retained. 

5. What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing District 102 and how should the school board address them?

The current board has done a great job over the past several years. They faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic and they successfully brought the students and teachers back to the classroom.  

One challenge facing D102 is revising and strengthening the academic programs to ensure they meet the needs of all students. I think the way to address this is to fully review the curriculum and ensure that it is peer reviewed and based in science. This is no small task, but I think it is important that we hold high curriculum standards.