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: B.A. American Studies, Smith College; graduate certificates from the School of Education & Social Policy, Northwestern University; 18 years on staff at Northwestern in various capacities including as Director of Summer Session (2000-2016) and Director of Faculty Support at Kellogg (2016-2018); daughter in 10th grade at ETHS, and previously attended Lincolnwood, Haven, and Nichols Middle School; Evanston resident since 2011.
Civic Activities: Member of the Teaching, Learning & Assessment working group for the Northwestern University Strategic Plan 2010-2020; an advisory board member for the Change Makers program for faculty and staff since 2015; organized the Navigating Diversity parent education series through the District 65 PTA Council; in 2015, helped found a community group called MEET (Making Evanston Equitable Together) which has delivered hundreds of Black Lives Matter yard signs to residents across Evanston; leads table discussions for the ‘Racial Justice Book Groups,’ sponsored by Dear Evanston.
What are your top two or three priorities?
As an aspiring District 202 Board member, my primary goal is to champion the extraordinary equity work that the high school has been doing for the past 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. Every student at ETHS deserves an intellectually stimulating and academically rigorous experience that prepares them for life after graduation. To that end, we must urgently address the predictability of achievement according to race, while raising the bar for all students at all levels. ETHS knows this, but it needs the full backing of the Board to maintain that laser focus.
What skills do you bring to the table that would make you an effective Board member?
I bring more than 20 years of experience in higher education and arts administration to my candidacy for 202. As Director of the NU Summer Session, I supervised the College Preparation Program, an international program attracting hundreds of high school students to Evanston every summer, including those attending through NU’s partnership with ETHS and Chicago Public Schools. I’ve come to know thousands of high school students over the years, by designing innovative courses that exposed students to a world-class institution right on our doorstep. I know what it takes to prepare for college and independence, no matter what one’s choices after graduation. Of course, as a university administrator, I also understand operations and budgeting in a large educational setting. I’ve worked with diverse stakeholders, and I know what’s required to deliver a premier education in a fast-changing and often resource-constrained environment. These are great skills to have on a school board like ours.
What are two major decisions that the Board has made in the past two or three years that you agree with or disagree with, and why?
As an ETHS parent, I was delighted when the 202 Board passed its policy supporting transgender and gender expansive students as well as the dress code policy in 2017, earning national media attention and highlighting what can be accomplished when we lead with vision, courage, and compassion. Students thrive when they feel secure in their identities and forms of self-expression. Creating a safe school environment that respects and nurtures the whole person, where growth and exploration are encouraged, equips students for greater success in school and beyond. When the Board adopts such policies – that not only meet the District’s goals, but are inclusive and expansive in their conception--then everyone experiences the benefit of equity.