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.
Office sought: Millburn Elementary D24, 4-year term
Family: Married-Kristin Children-Kaily, Collin, Justin
Occupation: Business Development and Strategic Alliance Manager for Abbott
Education: Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa,1992
Master of Science in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering, University of Iowa, 1997
Master of Business Administration in Finance & Marketing, DePaul University, 2004
Civic involvement: none
Elected offices held: Lindenhurst Forest Trail Homeowners Association Board Member 2009-present
Institute for Supply Management(ISM) Chicago Board Member 2009
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: none
Key Issue 1
Further develop and support sound, sustainable financial plans/positions that will ensure the continued viability of our school district while preserving core fundamental aspects which attracted my family to this community.
Key Issue 2
Further develop and support an environment where our children can truly learn and explore so that they can develop the deep critical thinking skills and personal character needed to be the great, effective leaders, innovators, and citizens of tomorrow.
Key Issue 3
Candidate did not respond.
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?
In order for our children and our country to be competitive in the rapidly changing global environment, all school districts, including Millburn District 24, must continually adjust and ""raise the bar"" accordingly in terms of achieving and instilling in our children academic excellence, behaviors, critical thinking, etc. that will be needed to succeed in the global future. This not only includes the traditional fundamental disciplines of science, math, reading, writing, etc. but also must include creative, social, etc. elements such as foreign language, art, music, etc. I firmly believe that the unique, delicate ""blend"" of the traditional/structured arenas with the freedoms/creative/self-exploring opportunities/teachings provided historically has and will continue to develop the critical thinking skills necessary for succesful innovations, leaders, etc. that has historically made the United States a great nation. Of course the challenge for today and the future that must be addressed is defining that ""special blend"" given the constraints and priorities of today's environment which is no easy task nor exact science. Additionally, we all need to recognize that the responsibility of preparing our children to be the future leaders, innovators, etc. of tomorrow does not solely rest on our school systems. Parents, friends, family, our communities, etc. are all influential ""teachers"" in some form such that we all need to be ""stepping up"" and positively contributing towards meeting our ""teaching"" obligations to our children and our communities.
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?
In the economic environment today, financial gaps in everyone's budgets, including Millburn's, are becoming larger and dangerously unsustainable quickly. All priorities/objectives need to be established and all options/strategies must be considered. Nothing should be off the table. Our global environment continues to rapidly change and we all must be willing to change and adapt through compromise, efficiency, self sacrifice, etc. if we are to secure the future of our children and this country.
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 am a firm believer that effective leadership and problem solving must involve consideration from various perspectives and thus I personally value any insights that could be provided from any person, group, etc. such as a teacher or union. From my work experience and training, I have found that objectivity/minimization of bias can be achieved though appropriate transparency, collaboration, goal setting, prioritization and use of data to make sound, prudent decisions to be highly effective in most, if not all situations.
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?
The Board should develop and implement fact based strategies and assume positions supported by those data/strategies. If the current labor market rates and/or trends indicate employee compensation & benefits have consistently not been in alignment, then it is reasonable to request or support alignment to those current market rates and/or trends which may justify increases, decreases, or no change at all as long as performance, budgets, and/or priorities permit.
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?
If this were the primary motivation/factor, then absolutely not, as I do not believe this to be in the best interest of the community and is quite frankly, irresponsible selfish behavior that can not be condoned. However, if the individual's salary were consistently significantly below market rates and/or outstanding performance had been consistently achieved, then a salary increase potentially could be justified if budgets & priorities allowed. Lastly, I would apply the same approach and thought process in the converse situation where adjustments would be needed if salary and benefits were beyond market rates/trends or if performance had not been satisfactorily achieved.