Evanston Township/District 202 School Board member Monique Parsons, seeking another term on the high school board, and Martha Gaines, vying for return to the Ridgeville Park District Board after a nearly six-year break, were among the big winners Election Day April 2, with the third seat on the Ridgeville Board still undecided.
Ms. Parsons and newcomers Elizabeth Rolewicz and Stephanie Teterycz were elected to four-year terms on the District 202 Board.
Evanston candidates also turned in strong performances for Oakton Community College board, landing on top of a 13-candidate field for the three open seats.
Unofficial results for that race showed Gail Bush, with 9,622 votes or 13.61% of the vote, Wendy Yanow, with 8,399 votes or 11.88%, and Marie Lynn Toussaint, with 7,635 votes or 10.80%, as the top vote-getters with all precincts reporting.
Michele Hays, another Evanston resident, registered a strong initial run for office, garnering 6,419 votes, or 9.08% of the vote, finishing just outside the trio.
Ridgeville Park District, a separate taxing district from the City and located in south Evanston, provided the closest race of the day.
Mr. Coyne and Mr. Bady – friends and active together in a number of initiatives locally, including an out-front fight against what they perceived as nepotism at the small district – were tied with 950 votes as of Wednesday morning with results back from all 16 precincts.
Mr. Coyne said Wednesday that Evanston City Clerk Devon Reid informed him that some still uncounted mail-in ballots may figure in the results.
In the meantime, Mr. Coyne said he and Mr. Bady planned to get together later in the day “to make sure one of us is on the board and help the new board join the 21st century.”
Ms. Gaines along with newcomer Matthew Marley Mitchell, will join the Board in the two other seats. She received strong support in her return to the seat, her backers including Alderman Ann Rainey, whose Eighth Ward falls within the district
“I’m not surprised,” Ald. Rainey said Wednesday, asked about the results. “She was a fabulous candidate. She’s not a newcomer – she served previously. She’s been watching the board very carefully and found she could not sit silent any longer and wanted to make a difference. The way the board has been operating … it needs a little bit of professionalism. She’s really going to make a difference.”
Reacting to her victory, Ms. Gaines said, “I’m grateful to have been able to connect with so many Ridgeville neighbors as part of my campaign and listen to their ideas and hear their concerns. I look forward to working with the board to make management of the parks more equitable, collaborative and community-driven.”
Unofficial results show Ms. Gaines leading the way with 1,103 votes or 27.83% and Mr. Mitchell receiving 960 votes or 24.22%.
Mr. Coyne and Mr. Bady were 10 votes behind Mr. Mitchell, whom they had backed, collaboratively canvassing for signatures and posting on Facebook, highlighting their support. “I do believe Matt’s presence on the board is a game-changer – his legal expertise will significant improve decorum, policy and programs,” Mr. Coyne said.
In District 202, Ms. Parsons, vice president of the Board, was easily the top vote getter, with 4,057 or 31.36%, votes, repeating her performance in her run for office in 2015, where she also led the field.
Newcomers Elizabeth Rolewicz, with 3451 votes or 26.68%, and Stephanie Teterycz, with 3,075, or 23.77%, landed the two other open spots. Slaney Palmer, with 2,354 votes, or 18.20%, finished a farther-back fourth
Ms. Parsons, currently President and CEO of the McGaw YMCA, said in her profile that she was running for re-election to the District 202 Board “because I have seen firsthand how our work positively impacts young people, their families, teachers and staff and the entire Evanston/Skokie community.”
Her top priorities include attempting to increase resources to support the well-being and emotional development of students; a reassessment of the joint literacy effectiveness between District 65, the elementary district, and District 202; and continuing to be a good steward of the District resources.”
Ms. Rolewicz brings a background in educational advocacy. Her top priorities serving on the ETHS District 202 Board is to address “the persistent problem of race predicting outcomes, through auditing curriculum, disciplinary policy, and racial basis within our systems,” she said in response to questions from the RoundTable staff, compiling profiles.
Ms. Teterycz’s background includes nearly 20 years on staff at Northwestern University in various capacities, including serving as director of the school’s summer session. If elected to the board, she stated her primary goal “is to champion the extraordinary equity work that the high school has been doing for several years. The Board must be fully aligned with the administration to promote a thoroughly equitable, accessible and inclusive culture that elevates all students and addresses systemic barriers to academic achievement and opportunity.”
“I’ve been active in higher education for 20 years, and I’ve been really involved in the community, trying to make Evanston more equitable, and was having more conversation around the issue of race, inclusivity and equity,” Ms. Teteryczs said, while waiting for results Election Night at the Firehouse Grill at 750 Chicago Ave., “and I started to think I wanted to have a bigger impact.”