The RoundTable asked the four candidates for the District 202 School Board to provide information about their education and civic activities and provide answers to three questions. RoundTable staff compiled the Thumbnail Sketch. The answers to the questions are in the candidates’ own words.
Background Summary: B.S. Sociology of Law, Criminology and Deviance, University of Minnesota; currently President and CEO of McGaw YMCA; previously Chief Operating Officer, McGaw YMCA; Center Director of Ford Motor Company Family Service and Learning Center; and Club Director, Boys and Girls Club of Chicago.
Civic Activities: currently Vice President of the District 202 School Board; has served as Walker School PTA, FAAM Executive Board Member, Leadership Evanston Graduate, Youth Job Center mentor/Steering Committee, ETHS Booster Club/E-Ban/Parent Ambassador, Dajae Coleman Foundation Volunteer, Connections for the Homeless Board member, External Advisory Committee for the District 65 strategic planning process.
What are your top two or three priorities?
I am running for re-election to the D202 Board because I have seen firsthand how our work positively impacts young people, their families, teachers and staff and the entire Evanston/Skokie community. My top re-election campaign priorities are to increase resources to support the well-being and social-emotional development of students, re-assess the joint literacy goal effectiveness between D65 and D202, and continue to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars and prioritize funding to provide educators with the resources they need to support all students. I remain committed to persisting in our District’s efforts to provide strong and equitable public education at ETHS and continuing our Board’s commitment towards being champions of equity, both individually and collectively.
What skills do you bring to the table that would make you an effective Board member?
As a current member and Vice President of the ETHS District 202 Board of Education, a graduate of Evanston/Skokie public schools, and a parent of an ETHS alumnus, I deeply understand the value of public education. I have watched our community’s ability to stand behind our educators and students to lead our school district through incredible, life-changing work. Since being elected to the D202 Board in 2015, my Board colleagues and I have worked with members of the school community to respond to the ever-changing needs of our students. I’m proud of our work, but there is more work to do.
With over 20 years of professional experience in community-based nonprofits, I currently serve as the President/CEO of the Evanston McGaw YMCA. I have seen firsthand how education lifts an entire community and have experience leading youth programs that focus on youth literacy, digital media, the opportunity / achievement gap, and college readiness. The bulk of my career has been youth-centered and community-focused, allowing me the opportunity to work directly with my neighbors, engage in community building and lead nonprofit operations, including equity and inclusion work, budgeting, board relations and program evaluation. When our youth, families, and schools thrive, so does the school community.
What are two major decisions that the Board has made in the past two or three years that you agree with or disagree with?
I live through my belief that the best decisions are those made by the people most impacted. Since my time on the Board, I am proud that we listened to students and their lived experiences at ETHS and approved school Board Policy (7:10) that establishes equal educational opportunities for transgender and gender expansive students. I’m also proud that my colleagues and I stood in our Board equity mission and purpose by establishing a Safe Haven School District Resolution to offer protections and create a welcoming environment for students and families who are undocumented immigrants.
This is exactly how I will continue to approach my role as a District 202 School Board member if I am re-elected – seek to understand the needs of people most impacted and lead with an intentional and thoughtful approach that is informed