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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.
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Office sought: Antioch Elementary D34, 4-year term
Family: Married, 4 children
Occupation: Literacy Consultant
Education: 1) Bachelors in Elementary Education, Western Il Univ.
2) Masters in Reading, Northeastern Il Univ.
3) Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Loyola Univ.
Civic involvement: Antioch 34 Board of Education (4 years)
Elected offices held: Antioch 34 BOE 2007-2011
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
To monitor the progress of the superintendent in carrying out our vision of Antioch D34 being an outstanding environment to raise a child in both academically and socially. This can only be done when all stakeholders, both internal and external, are satisfied and held to high standards.
Key Issue 2
To monitor the Board's charge for the district being ""An Exceptional Educational Experience for Everyone.""
Key Issue 3
To remain fiscally responsible and transparent with taxpayer dollars.
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?
There is always room for improvement. The transition from 8th grade to high school is a challenge for every student. The best thing is to have vertical articulation between middle and high school to be certain of what the high school expects and what they are seeing. Other changes that need to be made: 1)Teachers need to have higher expectations for students in terms of the work they can produce and hold them accountable. 2)Parents need to make education a priority, not soccer or football. School work comes first! 3)Administrators need to be the best instructional leaders they can be to support best practices in teaching.
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?
Thankfully, our past boards with our financial officer have made sound decisions which has put us in a solid place to be. However, the board is aware that the day-to-day operations of running a district, as with any business never end. Therefore our reserves continue to deplete, and like many districts, we must rely on property taxes in the end to support our schools. Eventually our expenditures will be greater than our revenue. Our job, as a board, is to hold off that time as long as possible by scrutinizing every penny spent. Hopefully when the day comes we need to ask the taxpayers for an increase, they will trust that it is time given our history of being financially prudent.
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.
It could be either valuable or detrimental. That completely depends on the person and the situation. If there is trust at every level of the organization and the board member uses his/her insight to ask questions that will take the district to the next level, it could be very beneficial for the organization. If there is no trust at any level, then the board member may feel forced to use their background or relationships to probe or get the honest answers they don't feel they are getting. I have experienced both and have witnessed many cases of each in numerous districts. The keys appear to be 1)the level of trust the board member has with the superintendent and 2)how fair/honest the board member is perceived to be.
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?
I feel it depends on 2 things: 1) the economy and 2) the state of the district's projected finances. I would hope everyone would come to the table knowing each side has to give a little; hence the term ""negotiations.""
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?
No. The state and school districts cannot afford it. However, I would want to make that a transitional thing, whereas some people are grandfathered in and others are made aware of it ahead of time to plan their future according. However for those grandfathered in, that increase would still not be substantial. That is absurd and reckless spending.