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updated: 12/21/2010 5:41 PM

Several notable names won't be on April ballot

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Who isn't on the ballot will be as notable as who is running in this year's school board elections in the northern Fox Valley.

In the largest school district in the area, Elgin Area District U-46, two veteran board members are not seeking re-election: board President Ken Kaczynski and former President Karen Carney, who will have served 20 years on the board when her term expires in the spring.

Kaczynski has said he wants to spend more time on his business. Carney said that after two decades on the board, it was time to move on.

"It's time for the next generation to step in," Carney said. "That doesn't happen unless you walk away."

The two other incumbents who are up for re-election in U-46 -- Maria Bidelman and Amy Kerber -- have decided to run again.

Bidelman and Kerber face four challengers: Gary Percy, Traci O'Neal Ellis, Jennifer Schroder and Mary VanSlyck.

Percy is a member of the Citizens' Advisory Council and an aircraft maintenance technician. He ran unsuccessfully for a board seat in 2009.

VanSlyck is also a Citizens' Advisory Council member.

The six candidates competing for four, 4-year terms on the board all have something in common: they all live in Elgin, according to the district.

Monday was the deadline for candidates to file for local elections. Here is a listing of who is seeking office in your school districts.

District 300

Four incumbents are running to keep their seats on the Community Unit District 300 school board.

Board President Joe Stevens and board members Monica Clark, Karen Plaza and Chris Stanton have filed for re-election. They face challenges from former board member Suzie Kopacz and Steve Fiorentino.

Plaza was appointed to the board this year when John Ryan resigned. Fiorentino was one of 11 who applied to fill Ryan's vacancy.

Kopacz is a former teacher and Hampshire resident who was elected in 2003 and decided not to seek re-election in 2007.

District 158

There will be six names on the ballot when Huntley Unit District 158 voters elect a new school board in the spring.

But only four people are running for the board. How is that possible?

Two candidates -- board Vice President Skala and board member Tony Quagliano -- have both filed for a 2-year and 4-year seat on the board. Skala and Quagliano are the only two who are seeking the single 2-year seat. They will face board President Kevin Gentry and William Gerehen for the three, 4-year seats. Board member Aileen Seedorf is not seeking re-election.


Elgin Community College has a competitive race for its board of trustees, with eight candidates filing for three 6-year terms.

Among those eight are two incumbents: board President Eleanor MacKinney and John Duffy. MacKinney and Duffy are running on a slate with Elgin attorney John Dalton. Dalton, who ran unsuccessfully for 16th Circuit judge this year, has said he was recruited to replace Trustee Phyllis Folarin, who is not seeking re-election. Folarin is a former board chair who was first elected in 1999.

"I just feel that this time, it's time for a different direction in my life," Folarin said. "I felt I had contributed much on the board. I just wanted to do something different."

The other challengers are L. Robert Russell, Darwin Adams, Richard Geary, Robin Lisboa and Edgar Pereda. Lisboa ran unsuccessfully for the ECC board in 2009, while Russell ran unsuccessfully for Kane County Sheriff this year.


There's a crowded field in the race for three seats on the McHenry County College board of trustees. Eight candidates have filed petitions for the two, 6-year terms, and two candidates are running to fill a lone 2-year term.

Incumbents Bob DeWitt and George Lowe face challenges from Linda Liddell, Darren Fortin, Robert S. Jackson, Cynthia Kisser, Erik Sivertsen and Gordon Tebo for the 6-year seats.

For the 2-year term, Dennis Adams will face Dave Boger. Adams was appointed to fill the seat of Donna Kurtz, who joined the McHenry County Board in December, but must run in the April election to finish the remainder of the term. District 301

Seven candidates have filed for four open seats on the Central Community Unit District 301 school board. They include two incumbents -- board President Rose Diaz and Gary Weigand -- as well as five challengers: Dave Maracini, Richard Perry, Tim Petschke, Rick Pryor and Laura Rabe.

Board Secretary Laurie Kling and board member Keith Boron are not seeking re-election.

Perry is the former principal of Howard B. Thomas Grade School in Burlington and the chairman of the 301 Central Education Foundation. He is now retired. Rabe is the president of the PTO at Prairie View Grade School in Elgin.

District 26

Five candidates are running for four seats on the Cary Elementary District 26 school board. Incumbents Jason Larry, the board's vice president, along with Kevin Carrick and Scott Coffey, will be challenged by Joseph Alfe for three, 4-year seats on the board.

Floyd Myers is running unopposed for the lone two-year seat on the board.

District 155

Three incumbents running for re-election to the Crystal Lake High School District 155 school board will be unopposed. Current board members Jim Nelson, Barbara Slusin and Karen Whitman are running to keep their three seats on the seven-member board.

District 3

It's more than likely that everyone running for positions on the Fox River Grove Elementary District 3 school board will get them. There are only four candidates running for four open positions on the seven-member board. Gerry Blohm, the board's vice president, fellow incumbent Tom Mollet, and board appointee Devin Bright are running for three available 4-year seats. Stephen Pickering is the lone candidate seeking to fill a 2-year unexpired term that Bright has held since Steve Knar vacated the position to become a trustee in Fox River Grove. Knar is running for election to the village board in April.

District 47

Four candidates are running for three available seats on the Crystal Lake School District 47 board. Nancy Gonsiorek, the current board vice president, and incumbent board member Rob Fetzner will be challenged by Ryan Farrell and Carlo Agnello for the three seats on the seven-member board. The positions are 4-year terms.

District 303

The St. Charles Unit District 303 will lose two of its most vocal school board members this spring.

There are three seats open with three candidates: incumbent Kathy Hewell, Nick Manheim and Judith McConnell.

But school board President Scott Nowling and Vice President Jim Chimienti won't be on the April ballot. Nowling decided not to run again after serving out his four-year term. He's spent the past year as school board president.

Manheim lives in the Wild Rose Elementary District. His wife is an English teacher at St. Charles North High School. Local residents may recognize McConnell from her involvement with the Tri-City Tea Party Patriots organization.

Staff Writer James Fuller contributed to this report.