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The District 202 School Board was split on June 8 about how to fill the vacant Board seat left by Bill Geiger, who resigned for family considerations, effective May 27. It was proposed that, since a School Board election had taken place merely weeks before, the Board suspend established policy to fill such vacancies and instead appoint the next candidate in line. That candidate is Anne Sills.

Current policy states that all interested residents be allowed to apply for the position and that the Board select the replacement within 45 days.

The policy “disrespects the election by substituting our judgment and that’s just plain wrong,” said Board member Mark Metz, who made the motion to suspend the policy. 

“I’m troubled by the idea of abandoning policy. Is there a compelling need?” asked Board member Doug Holt.

Ultimately, the Board voted 3-3 to keep the policy intact, which defeated the motion; a tie vote does not pass. Voting in favor of suspending the policy were Mark Metz, Pat Savage-Williams and Monique Parsons. Doug Holt, Gretchen Livingston and Jonathan Baum voted against.

The application process had already begun prior to the vote taken at the June 8 Board meeting. Since Mr. Geiger’s resignation was not official at the May 26 meeting, a conversation about how to fill his spot could not be held. Board President Ms. Savage-Williams decided to publicly post the vacancy prior to the policy discussion because she “was not going to wait two weeks” since the position has to be filled in 45 days.

Fourteen residents applied for the chance to fulfill the remainder of Mr. Geiger’s term, which expires on April 30, 2017.  In addition to Ms. Sills, they are Betsi Burns, Elissa Bassler, Andrew Bezaitis, Russell Kohnken, Carl Brownell, Mindy Wallis, David Ter Molen, Karen Larkin, Liliana Barro Zecker, Maureen Kenney, John Berkley, Patricia Maunsell and Andrew Schultz. The Board will interview all of the candidates and vote on who will take the empty Board seat.

Of the 14 residents of Evanston/Skokie District 202 who applied for the vacant position on the Board, some are graduates of Evanston Township High School and many have volunteered at the high school or in District 65 schools.

Elissa Bassler: Lived in District 202 for 14 years. Volunteer activities include AYSO coach and referee, Evanston Health Advisory Council, ISBE Expert Task Force on Physical Education. Employment: CEO of Illinois Public Health Institute.

John Berkley: Lived in District 202 for 15 years. Volunteer activities include AYSO. Employment: Vice President/General Manager of Global Business Travel at American Express.

Andrew Bezaitis: ETHS alum; lived in District 202  five years. Volunteer activities include ETHS Boosters, Evanston 150, AYSO, Team Evanston, and volunteering with Math Olympiad and at District 65 chess meets. Employment: CEO of Apopleo.

Carl Brownell: Lived in District 202 for 22 years. Volunteer activities include coaching teams at EBSA, Cub Scouts. Employment: Taught in History Department at ETHS; teaches at Main East High School.

Betsi Burns: Lived in District 202 for 18 years. Volunteer activities include serving on Willard School’s School Improvement Team and Principal Advisory Committee, the McGaw YMCA board, City Parks and Recreation Board and the Evanston 150 jury, and as coach and registrar for AYSO. Employment: Assistant Dean/Senior Associate Director of Athletics at Loyola University.

Russell Kohnken: Lived in District 202 for 26 years. Volunteer activities include serving on ETHS School Improvement Team; AYSO; Little League baseball; soup kitchen, Family Promise. Employment: Teacher at ETHS since 2001, retiring this year.

Karen Larkin: Lived in District 202 16 years. Volunteer activities include ETHS Parents Engaged, Evanston Public Library Investment Committee, PTAs at Lincolnwood and Haven schools. Employment: Vice president, research, Silver Oak Services Partners.

Maureen Kenney: Lived in District 202 for 29 years. Volunteer activities include ETHS Boosters, YWCA Evanston North Shore, McGaw YMCA, Connections for the Homeless, Evanston Scholars. Employment: Kraft Foods, Inc. – brand management, cheese division.

Patricia Maunsell: Lived in District 202 for 14 years; husband is ETHS alum. Volunteer activities include McGaw YMCA, Sheil Catholic Center, Foundation 65, Kingsley School PTA, Cherry Preschool; recipient of Ganser Award for PTA volunteer. Employment: Education Communications consultant.

Andrew Schultz: Lived in District 202 for 5 years. Volunteer activities include AYSO, Lincolnwood School science fair. Employment: SapientNitro, General Manager of Chicago office.

Ann Sills: ETHS graduate; children attended ETHS; lived in District 202 for 28 years. Volunteer activities include serving on the ETHS PTSA, the ETHS School Improvement Team and the Joint District 65/202 Legislative Task Force; helped teach cooking at Haven Middle School. Employment: Retired caterer.

David Ter Molen: ETHS alum. Lived in District 202 for 14 years. Volunteer activities include serving as coach with AYSO, fundraising for Lincolnwood and Haven schools. Employment: Partner at Freeborn & Peters law firm.

Mindy Wallis: Lived in District 202 for 17 years. Volunteer activities include ETHS PTSA Parents Engaged and ETHS School Improvement Team. Employment: Senior Content and Learning Developer, Institute of Real Estate Management; instructional design and technology consultant.

Liliana Barro Zecker: Lived in District 202 for 22 years. Volunteer activities include AYSO, Team Evanston, Evanston Youth Hockey Association, mentor for Evanston Scholars. Employment: Associate professor, College of Education, DePaul University.