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.

Claudia Garrison 

Thumbnail Profile: University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, B.A. Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa; National –Lewis University, masters in teaching. Worked in Evanston for 11 years, resident since 2010. Work experience includes producer-reporter for WMVS-TV in St. Paul, Minn.; worked as writer, editor, and researcher for the St. Paul, Minn. planning department; joined Bank of America in San Francisco as a writer of consumer literature, subsequently managed large-scale computer projects, served as chief financial consultant in charge of planning and reporting on financial performance for the retail side of the bank, and was vice-president for management information for the Hong Kong branch. Most recently, taught reading, language arts and social studies at Haven Middle School from 2001-12. Retired from District 65 in June 2012. 

Civic Activities: Two sons who attended schools in Hong Kong, Singapore and London. Served as treasurer, auction treasurer and president of parent organizations at the schools; regular parent volunteer in the libraries at each school.

Vision and Priorities

Achievement Gap. I believe the achievement gap needs to be addressed in two ways.  I would like to see pre school made available to all low income families in the District to ensure that District 65 students begin their academic careers on a more equal footing. I also plan to work for improved articulation with District 202 so that District 65 students are fully prepared to take on the challenges of high school.  The curricula of both systems need to be planned together so that entering freshmen are prepared for the requirements of ETHS.

Communication. The Board needs to improve its communications with all stakeholders in the District:  parents, teachers, administrators and students.  I would like to see all Board members facilitate direct input from these groups rather than relying on information conveyed by the central administration.

Teacher Morale. The well-being and achievement of the District’s students are most directly affected by their classroom experiences.  I would like to see the District move away from the centralized, hierarchical management style it has adopted in the past few years and return to a more collaborative and collegial approach in which the professionalism of the teachers and principals is genuinely valued and utilized.

Governance. In recent months, the District 65 Board has become more assertive about requesting data and other information that has allowed the Board members to make better decisions about the issues before them.  I applaud those Board members who have actively sought to be better informed and look forward to joining those efforts.