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On May 4, the District 65 School Board swore in three persons who were elected to the Board on April 7: Richard Rykhus, Omar Brown and Jennifer Phillips. Mssrs. Rykhus and Brown will be serving second terms on the Board; Ms. Phillips joins the Board as the only new member.
As a first order of business, the newly constituted Board unanimously elected Tracy Quattrocki to serve a third term as president of the Board and Richard Rykhus to serve a second term as vice-president.
Perhaps dominating the meeting, friends, staff and members of the Board gave tribute to Katie Bailey who is leaving the Board after completing eight years of service. During her tenure, Ms. Bailey held many leadership positions, including chair of both the Policy and Finance Committees and President of the Board.
Citing a biblical passage, Board member Candance Chow said Ms. Bailey embodied what is meant “to act justly” and “to walk humbly.” She said, “I’ve seen so many instances where you’ve looked for the just and the right path for our students and our School Board in the way you represent the needs of students and the needs of families with the greatest needs and the greatest potential. … You do this by recognizing that acting justly in education means uncovering inequities and addressing them head on.”
“What I love most is where your heart is,” said Board member Claudia Garrison. “Your instincts are solid. You are imbued with the value of what we want in a Board member which is caring about public education, caring about kids, caring about dealing with the public in a straightforward manner.”
Mr. Rykhus said people do not realize how much it takes in time and effort to be a thoughtful, committed, informed Board member. “You’ve done that for eight years and you did that in leadership roles.”
“You always made it about children, all the children,” said Boad member Suni Kartha. “You always brought the discussion back to that.”
Mr. Brown mentioned in his remarks, “I consider you the Board historian,” something mentioned by many others.
Ms. Quattrocki said Ms. Bailey changed the culture of the Board when she was president by encouraging members of the Board to appreciate the fact that they could make better decisions with data.
In addition, Ms. Quattrocki said, “You brought your passion and sense of fairness and equity. You were really one of the strongest voices for recognizing the needs of low-income kids who weren’t in Title I schools and you introduced a lot of conversations about how resources really need to follow kids who have needs.”
Superintendent Paul Goren said, “What we all see as members of the community and members of the broader staff of District 65 is your deep passion for making things better for all children in Evanston and Skokie.”
In her remarks, Ms. Bailey said, “It has really been an honor to work here, to come together for our kids.”