Richard Rykhus kicked off his campaign for the District 65 School Board at Tommy Nevin’s pub on Jan. 27. He told the crowd of supporters that he decided to run because “we’re doing a lot of things well in District 65, but we could do a lot better.”

He said he believes he has the skills, personal experience and vision to be a successful school board member. Diversity, advocacy and education, he said, were “messages from my parents.” His family, he said, represents diversity: he is a white male, married to a man from Mexico and they have adopted an African American child.

His advocacy, he said, is for “children who are more vulnerable in schools.” Recently he has advocated on behalf of special-needs children in District 65, and before that it was for “safe schools for gay and lesbian high school students.”

Mr. Rykhus enumerated some of the changes he would like to see. As an example, he said, the Board and administration could improve their contact with the community by posting the Board and committee agendas and packets at least a week before the meeting. His vision for the District is that it have “a strategic plan with outcome-measures – not that we went through the process but that we made a difference.” In measuring outcomes and achievement, he said, “We have to make sure we have the right data.” He said he would like to ensure that the District consider the financial impact of any of its decisions. Finally, he said, his vision is that the District ensure that it is recruiting and retaining the best teachers.”

Ending his speech with a quote about the future from the late Robert Kennedy – “It is not enough to understand or see clearly. The future will be shaped in the arena of human activity by those willing to commit their minds and bodies to the task” – he said, “I am committed to excellence in the schools of District 65 with mind, body and soul.”

Pictured above left to right are Ms. Shore, Mr. Rykhus, Ninth Ward Alderman Coleen Burrus and Sixth Ward Alderman Mark Tendam.