Rachel Hayman, left center, hosted the campaign kickoff for Monique Parsons, right center.RoundTable photo

Evanston Township High School alum Monique Parsons kicked off her campaign for the District 202 (ETHS) school board on Feb. 8 at the home of retired District 202 Board member Rachel Hayman. To a standing-room-only crowd Ms. Parsons described how she developed various skills in college and through jobs at a department of corrections, at a union-and-company job at Ford and now as chief operating officer (COO) of the McGaw YMCA.

“I made it back to Evanston after being in Minnesota … I wanted to raise my son here,” Ms. Parsons said, adding she has “the pleasure of leading the McGaw YMCA.”

Ms. Parsons said she feels that Evanston’s diversity can be seen most fully at the McGaw Y and ETHS. She added, “When I speak of community, I’m speaking of Evanston … the holistic Evanston, the idea of Evanston that we respect. We’re not talking about a divided Evanston, about serving [only] one community, one neighborhood.”

She is still educating herself on the issues that ETHS faces, will face and could face. “I’m being a student to build that knowledge base,” she said. She also said she knows what the work of the Board is supposed to be. “As COO, I know how to hire well. I know who the experts are.”

Speaking of how she envisions ETHS and what part she would play if elected, Ms. Parsons said, “I believe that ETHS has a responsibility to be prepared for every student who walks through their doors.” She said she would support the school’s successes, “make sure we don’t go backward … … make sure the high school continues to be strong financially and make sure both districts work together.”

“I want the community to be well,” said Ms. Parsons. “If every child is successful – whatever ‘success’ looks like for that child – we will have a good community. … If we are intentional and if we are thoughtful in making the right decisions for every child who walks through that door [at ETHS], we will have the Evanston everyone talks about.”