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Office sought: Lake Park High School District 108 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married, 2 adult children
Education: Bachelor of Arts in History and Government, College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN Master of Arts in Teaching, National Louis University, Wheeling, IL
Civic involvement: Lake Park Educational Foundation Board Illinois Association of Teachers of English National Council for the Social Studies USO O'Hare Mid-America Japanese Club
Elected offices held: Lake Park School District 108 Board of Directors 2009 to present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
My number 1 campaign issue is to ensure continued opportunities for academic excellence for all students of Lake Park High School.
Key Issue 2
My number 2 campaign issue would be to ensure an on track balanced budget for the district.
Key Issue 3
My number 3 campaign issue would be to ensure a safe, non-threatening environment for all students, faculty and staff at the high school.
What do you think about the shift to the common core standards? How big a role do you think the board of education should play in setting the curriculum for students and what ideas do you have for changes to the current curriculum?
I think the shift to common core standards is a breath of fresh air for education in America. Common core standards are a top down college and career readiness meter for students. As an English teacher, I am most familiar with the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards. The key concept for schools is to have students demonstrate independence in reading and writing through building strong content knowledge, and showing value in evidence and analysis. I feel that Lake Park High School is right on track with its curriculum in implementing these standards because of a curriculum committee that reviews and aligns curriculum to the common core standards. Work from the committee is reported back to the Board by a Board member that sits on that committee. Since I have been on the Board, this committee has brought changes and new courses to the Board for approval. Various departments have also made presentations to the Board so that we can ask questions and truly understand how teachers are improving and aligning the curriculum to the common core. The Board's role is to listen and approve curriculum changes and new course offerings.
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?
As a high school only district, it is most important that Lake Park is preparing students for the next stage in their lives. For the majority of students that is college, be it a four year university or junior college. Lake Park has a great reputation for readying students for college through numerous Advance Placement courses to choose from in which our students are very successful. As with anything there could be areas of improvement. I would like to see our students make more use of the Technology Center of DuPage and use of local internship opportunities. For the students that do not make the choice to go on to college, we need to assist students into career and technical educational programs. Currently Lake Park is looking into forming partnerships with businesses to offer courses to prepare students for technical and trade positions.
What budget issues will your district have to confront and what measures do you support to address them? If you believe cuts are necessary, what programs and expenses should be reduced or eliminated? On the income side, do you support any tax increases?
As a member of the Board of Education I believe we are fortunate to have a balanced budget. This has been an extremely important issue for the Board. Our programs are solid and I don't foresee any programs being reduced or eliminated. At this point I do not believe we need to increase taxes or cut programs to balance our operating budget. As a public entity that relies on state money we are keeping a close watch on possible changes to the pension system. Changes as the ones proposed in Springfield will impact our budget.
As contract talks come up with various school employee groups, do you believe the district should ask for concessions from its employees, expect employee costs to stay about the same as they are now or provide increases in pay or benefits?
The Lake Park Board has worked very closely with our employees to keep costs and benefits reasonable. As a Board we have been presented with projected expenses to see how the budget is impacted by raises and benefits. Together the Board and employees have worked to keep a balanced budget. The difficulty comes with state mandates that schools are required to initiate without money from the state. With uncertainty in the economy, uncertainty in the state paying their bills, and uncertainty in possible changes to the pension system, the Board and the employee groups must work together for the good of the students.
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 do not support a substantial increase in pay solely for the purpose of boosting pension benefits. It is just plain wrong. This discussion has been in the media recently with not only administrators, but also teachers and other public employees. A good superintendent or administrator should work with the Board for reasonable raises and benefits and not take advantage of tax payers.