Many people contribute their time and talents to our community in a variety of roles. I’m choosing to run for District 65 school board for two main reasons:
• We need to re-focus our school district priorities and be clear about how we define and measure our success.
• I am passionate about and committed to public education.
My commitment to public education comes from my parents – my father, a principal and assistant superintendent in Michigan, and my mother, a Teacher of the Year finalist. Our dinner table conversations regularly centered on education and instilled in me its importance.
I have experience working in both business and school environments and will nimbly apply my insights from both areas. Through my work, I have gained experiences important for board service, including:
• creating and adhering to strategic plans
• establishing measures of success for and evaluations of programs and people
• developing and managing multi-million dollar budgets
• maintaining a client-service focus
• engaging community members instead of simply using positional power to effect change
In addition, educational advocacy has been the core of my volunteer experience, having spent 12 of the past 15 years advocating for children with special needs and for the safety of gay and lesbian high school students and teachers.
I see several clear priorities on which the board must focus immediately:
• Defining success, establishing related measures, and evaluating against those measures. This includes any achievement measure, district initiative or person that the board oversees or approves. It is one of the most important school board responsibilities.
Developing a 10-year plan for space capacity needs. We must explore in detail all reasonable options that include, and expand possibilities beyond, a new school.
• Exploring a merger of District 65 and 202. This likely presents many opportunities to give our families a seamless educational experience academically and operationally, with the possibility of financial savings.
• Ensuring recruitment and retention of top teachers and timely dismissal of those not meeting expectations. Parents, teachers and administrators agree (according to our stakeholder survey) that teacher recruitment and retention must be a top priority. The board must also work closely with the teachers’ union to ensure that teachers not meeting expectations are informed, coached and, when improvement doesn’t occur, moved out of the district.
• Preparing for a collaborative teacher contract negotiation process. This will require dialogue for several months to understand the interests and priorities of all involved parties.
• Enhancing board relationships with parents and teachers. The board can do this through greater responsiveness to inquiries and changes in board policy to increase transparency and timeliness of communications.
I welcome your support, your feedback, and your vote during early voting, which started March 14th, or on Election Day, April 5th.
The RoundTable invited each of the candidates for the District 65 School Board to submit a statement explaining in their own words why residents of the District should vote for them. Their personal statements, in reverse alphabetical order, are on this and the following page. For additional information concerning the candidates, check out the candidate profiles, the articles and the supporting letters in the Election Section of the RoundTable’s online paper at www.evanstonroundtable.com. A link to video interviews of the candidates is also available on the RoundTable’s on line site. Early voting is March 14-31. The election is on April 5.