District Educators Council president Jean Luft, left, with Claudia Garrison at Ms. Garrison’s campaign kickoff.RoundTable photo

Although the District 65 School Board election is uncontested, candidate Claudia Garrison says she “wants to ensure that she is accessible to all Evanston residents who want to share concerns or hopes for their public school system.” She held a kick off event on Feb. 22 at the Firehouse Grill.

Ms. Garrison retired from District 65 in June, after teaching reading, language arts and social studies at Haven Middle School for eleven years. Before teaching, she worked for Bank of America as a writer, editor, computer project manager and management information consultant. She says her other experience includes television production, news reporting (with an emphasis on education issues), advertising and public relations.  She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  She obtained her masters in teaching from National-Louis University.

“I feel that District 65 could be a model school district for the nation,” she says.  “We have many of the problems facing larger districts, but on a smaller scale. With Evanston’s diversity, resources and commitment to high quality education, we could develop solutions to such problems as the achievement gap that could then be applied in larger districts.”

Ms. Garrison says she is also concerned by the trend toward using students’ performance on standardized tests as the determining measure of teacher effectiveness.

“New research and current thinking on what students need to be successful adults point toward a student having personal qualities such as perseverance, optimism and self-control. While standardized tests can predict whether a student will enter college, the personal qualities are better predictors of whether he or she will actually graduate and succeed after college. I think District 65 and 202 have to seriously consider how our teaching can develop and nurture those qualities in our students,” she says.

Ms. Garrison invites District 65 voters to contact her with their issues and concerns. Her e-mail is garrisond65@gmail.com.