Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Lake Zurich
Office sought: Kildeer-Countryside Elementary D96
Family: Married 16 years to Cathy Two children, Michael & Jack, age 13 (twins) District 96 resident 14 years, with kids attending Willow Grove Kindergarten Center, Kildeer Countryside Elementary School, and Woodlawn Middle School (presently)
Occupation: Financial Communications Consultant Former financial and Wall Street Analyst
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1991
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
Elected offices held: Current School Board Member of District 96 - Kildeer Countryside Community Consolidated School District 96
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Maintain academic and financial strength
Key Issue 2
Accelerate technology in the class room
Key Issue 3
Balance academic achievement with social-emotional development
How satisfied are you that your district is preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be from elementary into high school or high school into college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?
I believe the district is doing an excellent job of preparing our kids for academic success later in life. Through a Professional Learning Community (PLC) model, teams of teachers and administrators work collaboratively and inter-dependently to: 1) clarify exactly what each student must learn, 2) monitor each student's learning on a timely basis, 3) provide systematic interventions to deliver additional support for struggling students, and 4) extend and enrich learning when students have already mastered the intended outcomes.
The area which I believe the district has the biggest opportunity to improve is the use of technology in the classroom. Given the rapid advancements and widespread adoption of technology in society, we have an obligation to continue integrating technology into the every-day classroom.
What budget issues will the district have to confront? What measures do you support to address them? If cuts are needed, be specific about programs and expenses that should be reduced or eliminated. Do you support any tax increases for local schools?
Fortunately, the district is financial solid -- receiving the highest Financial Recognition from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in each of the past six years and being recognized as a ""high-achieving/low-spending"" district. With the passing of the last education fund referendum in 2006, the board made a commitment to the community to maintain the current tax rate for a minimum of 10 years. Despite the difficult financial environment over the last four years, I believe the district is on plan to meet that goal. At the same time, the district has kept the average class size at or below its goal of 22, invested in the training and certification of our teachers and administrators, upgraded our systems and technology, and invested in our buildings and facilities.
Is experience as a teacher or support from a union valuable because it suggests educational insights or detrimental because it creates pro-teacher bias? Please clarify whether you have such experience or would accept union support.
I have a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree in Finance and a professional background in finance, accounting and communications. I do not have any formal teaching or educational experience. Our PLC operating model -- which drives everything in the district-- is built on collaboration and support between all district team members. So I would hope to have the general support of any member within the district, but would not be interested if this support came with ""special interest"" or an agenda.
As contract talks come up with various employee groups, what posture should the board take? Do you believe the district should ask for concessions, expect employee costs to stay about the same as they are now or provide increases in pay or benefits?
Under the framework of the PLC model, the board, the administration, certified teachers and non-certified staff all work collaboratively to make District 96 a premier school district. This requires trust, dedication, compassion, communication, support and an understanding that we are all on the same team, working towards the same goal. I believe it is in the board's and district's best interest to attract and maintain the best people by providing a positive culture, collaborative working environment, continuous training, competitive pay and benefits, and performance incentives. If done properly, all district stakeholders are aligned to do what's best for kids and share in the district's rewards and concessions.
If your district had a superintendent or other administrator nearing retirement, would you support a substantial increase in his or her pay to help boost pension benefits? Why or why not?
I believe in using data to drive decisions and evaluate performance. I also generally believe in the basic theory of recognizing and rewarding performance that is measurable. As a result, I would be generally supportive of merit increases that are in-line with performance and competitive industry practices, provided that this is within the overall means of the district. However, I am against automatic merit increases that are not linked to some type of performance/achievement metrics or outside competitive industry practices.