There is a vacancy on the Lyons Township High School District 204 Board of Education. Julie Swinehart, who was leading vote getter in the 2021 school board election, resigned on June 1, because she is moving to the Boston area.
Swinehart, a 1993 graduate of LTHS, served just over two years on the school board. Last year, she got a new job as the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Fenway Sports Group, a company that owns the Boston Red Sox, has a controlling interest in the Pittsburg Penguins hockey team, and owns a NASCAR racing team and Liverpool Football Club, a top Premier League soccer team in England.
Swinehart’s oldest child, a son, graduated from LTHS the day before she resigned from the school board. She handed him, and 139 seniors, a diploma at the graduation ceremony on May 31 in one of her last acts as a school board member. She is also the parent of twins who just completed their sophomore year at LTHS.
“It was with a very heavy heart that I resigned from the LTHS school board yesterday,” Swinehart, said in a text message to the Landmark. “My three children are third generation LTHS students and it was an incredible honor to serve on the LT school board for the past two-plus years.
“I’m very proud of the work we performed as a board, and the success we realized with the strategic plan creation, the adjustments to the grading policy and the furthering of air-conditioning efforts as examples, all through a student-focused lens.
“My family and I have decided to move out of the district to the Boston area due to my job, but my heart is, and always will be, with Lyons Township High School.”
Swinehart, a resident of LaGrange, was an active board member who often asked questions and brought sophisticated financial knowledge to the school board.
“Julie has been an incredible part of the Board of Education,” said school board President Dawn Aubert in a press release issued June 2 by LTHS. “She has been instrumental in making important decisions to benefit our LT community with a focus on our students first.”
The press release also included a comment from LTHS Superintendent Brian Waterman praising Swinehart.
“Julie is an advocate for all students,” Waterman said. “She brought a straightforward, commonsense approach to all board matters. As a parent of three LT students and an alumnus herself, she brought a wealth of experience and well-rounded perspective.”
The school board will now pick a replacement to serve out the nearly two years left on Swinehart’s term. Those wishing to fill the vacancy may download a candidate application packet off the LTHS website at lths.net/BOE or may pick up a packet from Clerk of the Board Marilyn Zydlo in the superintendent’s office, North Campus Room 105, 100 S. Brainard Ave., LaGrange.
The school board intends to interview the applicants in closed session and then choose a replacement. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have lived in the LTHS district for at least one year. Applications must be submitted by June 21 at 3 p.m. The board must fill the vacancy by Aug. 1.
If Swinehart had resigned when she accepted her new position, her seat on the school board would have been contested in this year’s school board election. By waiting to move and resign after the end of the school year, Swinehart allowed the school board to pick her replacement.
“It was a personal decision,” said Swinehart when asked about the timing of her resignation. “I highly prioritized my time on the LTHS school board, including preparing for meetings and participating in them. It’s what I was elected to do – to serve.”