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updated: 2/22/2013 6:29 PM

Joan DiLeonardi: Candidate Profile

Oakton Community College School Board (6-year Term)

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  • Joan DiLeonardi, running for Oakton Community College School Board (6-year Term)

    Joan DiLeonardi, running for Oakton Community College School Board (6-year Term)




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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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Des Plaines

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Oakton Community College School Board (6-year Term)

Age: Candidate did not respond.

Family: Two adult children, six grandchildren.

Occupation: Retired Executive Vice President of a multi-state health and human service agency. Faculty member in the PhD program at the Institute for Clinical Social Work. Community volunteer.

Education: PhD, Jane Addams School of Social Work, UIC 1982 Certificate, State and Local Government program, John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University 1991

Civic involvement: Former board member, The Harbour, Park Ridge Volunteer and Master Gardener, Chicago Botanic Garden Team leader and peer reviewer, Council on Accreditation of Services to Families and Children Trustee,Vice Chair, former Chair Oakton Community College Former member of Executive Committee, Illinois Community College Trustees Association Member regional nominating committee American Association of Community College Trustees

Elected offices held: Trustee, Oakton Community College, 2001-present

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: no

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Maintaining Oakton's fiscal and educational stability during the current crisis in state finances.

Key Issue 2

Completing the updating and improvement of the Des Plaines campus on time and on budget.

Key Issue 3

Continuing to support Oakton's academic excellence and cooperation with local businesses.

Questions & Answers

With enrollment up at my many community colleges, it can be challenging to keep pace as far as available classroom/lab space, the number of qualified teachers and available course work options. How would you manage that?

Support and advise the administration and faculty in their efforts to do so. This district has had no trouble in recruiting qualified teachers. There is an ongoing effort to keep pace with educational needs by working with in-district businesses and the Workforce Development Board to offer relevant courses. The new science building in Des Plaines will offer up-to-date lab facilities so that students are trained for current jobs. Partnerships with NIPSTA and local hospitals allow us to offer training on expensive and high tech equipment without having to purchase it.

In tough economic times, many students (and working professionals) turn to a community college for its educational value. How do you ensure that a person's financial sacrifice results in an educational benefit?

By ensuring that there are sufficient qualified faculty and by using information gathered from local and statewide sources to identify areas in need of well trained workers.

Is a tax rate increase needed and, if so, how do you justify it?

Not at this time. Oakton has the lowest tax rate of any community college district in Illinois other than Chicago and makes every effort to keep that rate down. The Board is acutely aware of the need to balance high quality education with the lowest feasible cost. The efforts of the Board and administration over many years have resulted in a healthy surplus which was used to fund a large portion of the current construction, thus lessening the impact on local taxpayers.

Community colleges provide many services to a diverse population. Is there a service your college should be providing that it is not, or reaching a segment of the population that it is not?

Over my tenure on the board we have added an Office of Access, Equity and Diversity and a Director of Student Success to ensure that we know our community and provide easy access to all elements of it. The current board has representation from every township in the district, ensuring that there is local access and local knowledge represented.

If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the community college board? If you're an incumbent, list your accomplishments or key initiatives in which you played a leadership role.

Over the past twelve years I have served as Secretary, Vice-Chair and Chair of the Board, working with my colleagues for the good of the college. I have served on the facilities Master Planning committee to develop the new science building and student center. I have also represented Oakton on the state and national trustee associations, holding offices at the state level and committee memberships at the national level. I have served on scholarship selection committees. I truly believe that a good education is the key to a good and productive life and Oakton is an important key to that for this district.