District 94 School Board Candidate
Why are you running to be on the school board? 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 the opportunity to humbly continue serving my community as a member of the district 94 school board. I bring fifteen years of police experience with me as a board member.
The safety and security of the students, staff, and community are my focus. I am particularly interested in maintaining a school resource officer program. There has been much confusion about the role of a school resource officer over the past couple years. An SRO is present at the school in the event of an emergency, weather a medical emergency, soft lock down, or active shooter situation.
An SRO can quickly and efficiently communicate with public safety departments and get the needed resources. Also, and SRO’s presence within the school helps to instill a sense of trust between young members of the community and police officers. Building this trust is more important now than it has ever been.
As a school board member you will be asked to balance what’s best for the district as a whole with what might be in the interest of specific groups. How will you do that? When have you had occasion to do something similar in the past and how did you accomplish that?
When considering decisions as a school board member, one must be sure to do what is best for the district. However, a board member must also understand that the district is made up of students, teachers, administrators, and members of the community.
Keeping all stakeholders well informed can ensure that everyone’s needs are met and in alignment with the objective of providing the best quality education for our students. As a North Riverside resident and a school board member, I have been approached by friends and neighbors with questions or concerns about the district. I have always given the best answer I could while maintaining the integrity of board business. I have also directed their questions or concerns to the school administration when appropriate.
The past year has been a challenge from the perspective of balancing the social, emotional and academic needs of students with the need to ensure the health and safety of all in the extended school family. What could the school district have done better to achieve that balance and what succeeded? What planning is needed to respond more quickly to any future disruptions in the traditional learning environment?
District 94 staff have displayed impressive support for students since my oldest daughter started attending Komarek sixteen years ago. Obviously, we have faced several unprecedented challenges with the past year. As usual the Komarek staff has stood tall and continued to provide a quality education to our students. Families were also given the choice of in person or remote learning based on their difficulties with the COVID-19 pandemic. The introduction of remote learning via computer has been crucial and has given us an alternative form of learning from home under a variety of circumstances. There goes snow days!
How do you define equity? How has your thinking around the subject of equity evolved and what should District 94 do to address that subject?
Equity means to ensure fairness and equal opportunity for all students to be provided with the highest quality services we can offer. I have always appreciated the diversity within our small school district. I believe it is ideal for young children to be exposed to different cultures at a young age so they may learn about different peoples through their own experience. It is our responsibility to ensure that our district continues to provide our students and their families all the opportunities to be successful.
As a school board member you will play a role in budgeting. How will your values inform your approach to budgeting and fiscal planning?
Our business office along with the current superintendent have been working tirelessly to improve ways to maximize the district’s budget. As a school board member, one of my responsibilities is to ensure that we are spending money as smart as possible, especially while we move forward with the school construction project with our community being more invested than ever.
What are the biggest challenges facing District 94 and how should the school board address them?
Our biggest challenge right now is continuing to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the district. We need to continue to move forward towards full in-person learning. There are several outside factors that will determine how quickly or not that happens. We are also in the beginning stages of a multi-million-dollar school renovation. The board needs to ensure the integrity and efficiency of the project.