Four candidates are running for four positions on the District 65 School Board. While the election is not contested, the RoundTable thought it was important for the community to know a little more about the persons who will be serving on the new Board. The RoundTable compiled a thumbnail profile of each, including education, professional experience, civic activities, etc. and asked each candidate to provide a summary of three or four of their priorities. The Vision and Priorities section of the profiles that follow is in each candidate’s own words. Candidates are presented in reverse alphabetical order.
Thumbnail Sketch: American University, B.A. Public Communications, magna cum laude; Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, M.B.A.; Resident of Evanston for 15 years. Principal/Owner In Sight Consulting Group providing strategy, growth and operational improvement consulting to nonprofits and early stage businesses. Husband, Dan, and two children, both attending Kingsley Elementary in 5th and 1st grade.
Civic Activities: President, Kingsley PTA (2010-12); VP, communications, Kingsley PTA, (2008-10); coach, Girls on the Run; former member, D65 Wellness Council; elder and former Session Member, First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette; volunteer/adviser, Good News Partners, Rogers Park.
Vision and Priorities
As a School Board representative I want to ensure that all Evanston children are challenged at the appropriate level, our educators are appropriately supported, and our families are engaged as advocates for their children. This is the essence of what it will take to Achieve Together in Evanston, starting with the following key priorities.
Approach Student Achievement More Holistically. Our upcoming strategic plan development should yield a set of balanced goals that go beyond student achievement to include what I consider the necessary ingredients to attain that achievement. In addition to the three Rs, we must critically assess how we are teaching the “5 Cs” – creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, character and citizenship skills. Additionally, we need a balanced set of goals and success measures that include: Curriculum Rigor and Instructional Success; School Climate and Preparedness to Learn; Parent and Community Engagement; and Faculty and Principal Effectiveness. We must look at each of these components to make continued progress in eliminating the achievement gap and in ensuring each student receives a challenging, engaging educational experience.
Challenge for Every Child by assessing our implementation of differentiated learning and exploring how we can do better. I believe in differentiated learning and at the same time acknowledge how difficult and complex it is to implement successfully and consistently. We need to focus more attention to this strategy and evaluate its practical success, using that evaluation as a platform for refocusing our efforts.
Smart Classroom Innovation and Management by evaluating investments and appropriate resources in the classroom. We need to do a better job in defining success from the outset and committing to measuring our progress throughout the implementation of our programs and strategies. D65 has made significant capital investments that need to become educational investments helping us to deliver on the promise of differentiated instruction and other curriculum initiatives. Our Inclusion Program success is critical and impacts every classroom. We must ensure our commitment to Inclusion is supported with the appropriate classroom resources and that we evaluate adjustments and challenge our thinking aggressively and often.
Improved Strategic Collaboration by harnessing the power of educators, community and parents in service of our students. District 65 has amazing assets in our faculty and staff, our engaged parents and partners in the community. However, I don’t think we have fully leveraged the power of these individuals, groups and organizations in service of our students. I think we can do better by focusing on: 1) intentional alignment with D202 beginning with joint goal-setting and curriculum development; 2) expanded partnerships with community to better support students from social/emotional supports to parental/home based support; and 3) fostering school-to-family and family-to-family relationships that provide mentoring, connection and community.