Rise Jones, co-founder of the youth arts organization Hamilton Wings, started taking classes at Elgin Community College when she was in middle school, continuing the practice through high school, college and most of her adult life.
The Elgin woman became the latest member of ECC's board of trustees Tuesday when she was appointed to fill the vacancy left by John Dalton, who was elected in November to be a Kane County circuit court judge.
Jones said she is a regular attendee at college events and workshops. And Hamilton Wings, which offers low-income youth access to the arts, is an ensemble in residence at ECC. She said much of her work has been about ensuring young people and their families are able to take advantage of the educational opportunities in the community.
"ECC presents one of the best institutions for bringing all that together and really providing access for families to pursue the American dream and really be able to find success in multiple ways," Jones said.
Jo Ann Armenta, Robert Siljestrom, Donald Waters, Nadia BlancDaley and Patrick Keane also applied for the five-month term, which will be up for election in April.
Robert McBride, chairman of the board of trustees, said the group of high-caliber applicants all were dedicated contributors to the college and the wider community. The board ultimately found Jones to be a better fit for the board at this time, according to McBride.
"She's familiar with ECC and has a long-standing tradition as a leader," McBride said.
Jones will also add an element of racial diversity to the group of trustees, becoming the only black member of an all white board.
Jones is a partner at Evaluation Solutions Inc. of Elgin, providing evaluation and professional development services. She got her doctoral degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in public policy. McBride said that expertise will be an asset to the board and her appointment will meet a need for diversity trustees felt was important to address.
Jones plans to run in April for a six-year seat on the board. McBride and Clare Ollayos are also up for re-election.