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: Naperville Unit District 203 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married, two children, one in the district
Occupation: Founding Board Member MWA non-profit organization
Education: Attorney, DePaul College of Law; B.A. Bendictine University
Civic involvement: Co-Founder and Director of Community, MWA, established in 2007, this non-profit focus on philanthropy, community service, and personal development. In 2012, MWA donated over $120,000 to fight hunger, poverty and homelessness and 1900 volunteer hours to various organizations throughout the Chicagoland area. Served as member of NEF Grant Evaluation Committee member, ICN Girls Club Program Director, HSA Secretary, Chair of Multicultural Fair, Room Parent, Junior Great Books Coordinator and Boys Scouts volunteer
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Academic Excellence through Adequate Support
Most of us moved to Naperville for it's excellent education system. We need to continue to remain at the forefront of education by providing clear expectations and support for all students, teachers and parents as we align ourselves toward the Common Core, implement new ways to assess student learning (PARCC) and work toward closing of the Student Performance and Achievement Gaps.
Key Issue 2
Collaboration and Communication
A good school system is developed through cooperation and teamwork. As we implement the many changes within our school system, I will effectively facilitate communication between the board, community, administration, staff, teachers, parents and students through a variety of forums and work to ensure that the needs of our diverse student body are addressed.
Key Issue 3
With financial challenges that lay ahead, my priority would be to look for solutions that would have the least impact on our students and make budgetary decisions with prudence and foresight.
The school board has struggled with major issues such as boundary changes and implementing all-day kindergarten. How can the board improve its process of addressing such major undertakings and how will you specifically help it succeed?
The school board must be open to input from a greater cross section of the community. We cannot assume or take for granted the cooperation of the community. It is important that the board garners trust, listens intently and works from a solid fact base to build a framework within the community. This can be done through regular town hall meetings like Future Focus as well as smaller groups setting within the schools where participants can have conversations to understand the changes and challenges facing our school system.
What in-the-classroom change would you like the district to make?
Along with academic success, the classrooms should focus on emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the foundation for a host of critical skills-it impacts most everything, helping to create empathy and understanding between students and is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.
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?
The Common Core standards have been adopted by the state and the school district is in the process of implementing the Core. The Core is much needed reform and will help our students strive for higher academic goals. District 203 has an excellent academic program and I don not see the Common Core Standards being too out of range for our students. The Board will need to provide support to the staff so that the instruction is clearly aligned with the Core and that there is a clear understanding of expectations and assessments.
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 am fairly satisfied with the transition of high school students into college. We are now living in a society where college education has become a necessity; we need to prepare our students for a life beyond a high school diploma, whether it is a career, community college or a university. The transition from junior high school to high school needs to be strengthened with more emphasis on study skills so that all students are prepared to handle the rigors of high school.
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?
If elected to the school board, one of my main priorities is to be fiscally responsible since many of the school board's responsibilities have a direct impact on our taxes. It is a fact that state and federal funding will decline and the school system will be under immense pressure. I intend to collaborate with other school board members to tackle this problem early on and begin implementing measures to avoid a fiscal cliff. We need to look at innovative methods to tightening the budget.
To lower cost, I will look to eliminate redundant programs, programs in which costs have outweighed the benefits, along with those programs that have been created and not properly implemented. All this requires objectivity, the ability to work effectively across multiple constituencies, and resolve. This is why I would like for you to support by candidacy. I would also strongly push for an external audit of our finances and benchmarking against high performing school districts that have been able to deliver exceptional results despite budgetary cuts and cost pressures.
Our excellent schools are a draw to Naperville for families with children. But we also need to consider those, who are retired and living on a fixed pension that cannot afford taxes and costs to go unabated. I will do my best to keep those families who have been involved with our schools and community, but do not have children in the school system in mind when making decisions. Those families are important and have layed the groundwork for our great community.