Thumbnail Profile: B.S. Mathematics, Western Illinois University; Retired Pension Plan/Asset Manager. Three children attended Orrington/Haven/ETHS; Dewey/Nichols/ETHS.
Civic Activities: District 202 School Board Member (2009-present), past president; ETHS baseball coach; EBSA coach for more than 20 years, former Evanston Baseball and Softball Association president; City of Evanston Parks and Recreation Board, 10 years; Chair, Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Police and Fire Pension Plans. Evanston resident for 35 years.
Top Three Priorities: Mr. Metz says his top three priorities are: First, “continue to work toward eliminating the predictability of achievement according to any subgroups, including economic and racial, while raising the bar for all students at all levels.”
Second, “I will strive for individualizing educational structures for students. Recognizing that students learn in different ways and have different needs, we must, to the degree possible within the constraints of our resources, differentiate instruction so that every student is supported in a way that facilitates realization of his or her greatest potential. We must also, continue and enhance efforts to foster within the school a pervasive student culture, encompassing all students, in which intellectual curiosity, learning and high achievement is valued and expected.”
Third, “We need to know more about eventual outcomes for our students so that we can better understand how well we are preparing graduates for what comes next. We measure college and career readiness by a number of metrics, including but not limited to test scores, grade point averages, and degree of rigor in course work. These are intermediate measures that we assume
to be indicative of long range outcomes. I would like to test that assumption by finding ways to collect reliable data on outcomes that will inform our decisions about how to best prepare students for their adult lives.”
Two Major Decisions of the Board You Agree/Disagree With: “Our decisions to implement Freshman Advisory Study Hall, and to offer Geometry In Construction are two decisions that I strongly support,” says Mr. Metz. “Helping freshmen to get off to a good start, keeping them on track, and defining a process for connecting each student to at least one adult in the building in a solid interpersonal relationship are worthy goals that should reap long-term benefits for students. I eagerly await data that helps measure the impact of this initiative.
“Geometry in Construction, where students learn the same rigorous material as students in the traditional geometry classes while building a home, is groundbreaking and potentially game-changing. The interdisciplinary approach to curriculum development assures that students will come away from the course having mastered the requisite mathematical skills, as well as valuable construction and real-life skills associated with the building project. Moreover, this popular course has already helped to de-stigmatize courses offered in our Career and Technical Education department, so that they are seen as viable options for all students, including the highest achievers.”
How You Will Enhance Student Achievement: “Designing curriculum, instruction, and systems of support that raise performance of students at every strata is clearly the work of the administration, not the Board,” says Mr. Metz. “As a Board member, I will continue to challenge the administration to continually improve student achievement at all levels. Initiatives must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
“Standardized testing is necessary to compare our students to State and national norms. However, I am concerned with how accurately standardized tests fairly assess student achievement. I am also concerned about the amount of time we spend testing students. Every day devoted to testing is a day of instruction lost. The key is to develop better, more accurate, racially and culturally sensitive tests, and balance the value of the tests against student well-being and instruction time.”
How You Will Influence Fiscal Efficiencies: “As chair of the Audit Committee, and as the only current Board member with a background in business and finance, I am well positioned to understand school finances and help with decision-making,” says Mr. Metz. “I will continue to work closely with the CFO and Superintendent to identify and capture efficiencies. My priority will be to protect students in classrooms from the effects of budget cuts. We practice values-based budgeting. I am willing to make hard decisions, but I will insist that we do it according to a plan and a well-developed philosophy.”
Preparation of Candidate Information
In the April 7 election, three seats will be filled on the District 65 School Board and on the District 202 School Board.
Omar Brown, Jennifer Phillips and Richard Rykhus are seeking a seat on the District 65 Board. Adrian Dortch is seeking a seat on both the District 65 and 202 Boards. Larry Gavin prepared the profiles of these candidates.
In addition to Mr. Dortch, Jonathan Baum, Mark Metz, Monique Parsons and Anne Sills are seeking a position on the District 202 Board. Kelley Elwood prepared the profiles of these four candidates.
The profiles were compiled based primarily on each candidate’s answers to five of 13 questions contained in a PTA Council Questionnaire.
Each candidate’s complete answers to the questionnaire are available in the “Election” section of the RoundTable’s online site at www.evanstonroundtable.com, and also at the PTA Council’s website, http://ptacouncil.weebly.com/. Videos of candidate forums sponsored by the PTA Council, the Evanston League of Women Voters and ETHS Parents Engaged are also available on these sites.