Christopher Geier: Candidate Profile
Barrington Unit District 220 School Board (4-year Terms)
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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.
City: Lake Barrington
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Barrington Unit District 220 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Wife - Adriana Daughter - Jayden, 6 years old, Roslyn Road student Son - Mason, 3 years old, St. Marks pre-school student
Occupation: Partner in Charge of investment banking at Sikich LLP
Education: MBA, University of Chicago Booth School of Business BA, Criminal Justice, Washington State University
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Budgetary pressures over the near-term (next 5-7 years and beyond) when the housing market will likely remain depressed, new housing starts will likely be flat, and an increasing age distribution, among other more macro affects, will ultimately affect revenues and enrollment negatively. Continuing to balance the budget will be challenging given the overall declining revenue outlook and the need to control expenses in what will likely be an inflationary environment over the coming few years, and in particular, the ongoing issues with the BEA. Education of our youth is among the most important factors in the success of our society, and thereby our economy. It is my number one concern for our country.
Key Issue 2
The Board, administration, faculty and community need to commit to a vision of high expectations for student achievement and quality instruction. Collaboration around a common vision ensures a constant drive to improve performance at every level. There is a strong correlation between student achievement and the effectiveness of the faculty, administration and Board. And there must also be in place a feedback loop at every level in order to monitor progress based on data. Also, a broad strategic plan, with specific goals and action items necessary to achieve those goals, needs to be developed and communicated to both internal and external stakeholders. I would also include here the importance of professional development for faculty.
Key Issue 3
Technology, technology, technology. We are becoming an ever-increasing technology driven society. Being innovators and early technology adopters is of paramount importance. How students learn today and how we envision them learning in the future needs to be studied, developed and ultimately implemented. Development of an instructional technology roadmap should be developed. Be data driven, analyze outcomes, measure results and hold people accountable.
How do you think District 220 has handled budgetary pressures in recent years? Amid the uncertainties of outside funding sources, are there ways the district could be more in control of its own destiny?
The District Board has clearly handled budgetary pressures very well, having balanced the budget in each of the last 17 years. Given the legislative and fiscal issues in Springfield and the mounting debt at the federal level, additional, new sources of revenue must be explored, including additional fundraisers and private pay solutions, as well as cost control measures and reductions identified and implemented.
How should the district balance the providing of unique programs or classes with being fiscally conservative?
I?m not sure one has anything to do with the other. This question implies that providingunique programs? does not conform to conservative thinking. Fiscal conservatism doesn't have to mean reductions or termination ofunique programs.? If these programs are deemed beneficial to our students, both intellectually and culturally, and demand continues to be strong, we need to find additional revenue sources to support these programs, including additional fund raising activities and private pay options.
How would you define the ideal working relationship between a school board and its administrators and teachers? To what degree does your school district represent this relationship now?
In any good working relationship there is a basic foundation of mutual respect, alignment with goals and objectives and a well articulated common vision. At the core of the relationship should be an unwavering joint commitment to the success of the students. Communication is also very important in order to create a collaborative relationship with internal and external stakeholders. The additional dynamic involved in the working relationship with the Board and its administrators and teachers is the communities for which they serve. Strong community involvement, not only by parents of current students, is a very important component to the success of the District. From an outsider's perspective, it appears the relationship is good. Student achievement is indicative, in part, of such a relationship.
Do you see a present need for redrawing the school boundaries? If so, explain where the need is and how you would go about it. If no at present, will there be a need in the future?
Given the recent redistricting in 2008, and the presumption, without seeing the data, that the demographics have not changed in any substantial way given the last five-year recessionary period, I don't currently see the need to redistrict. There may very well be a need in the future as the economy recovers and additional areas throughout the District are developed.
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 makes a lot of sense. Consistency in standards across 45 states and still counting provides clear and consistent requirements and provides parents and teachers with a common understanding of learning expectations. This level of consistency also provides for fairness across performance metrics used to not only evaluate students, but to also evaluate the performance of teachers. As with many things in life, competition is a common tenet of successful organizations wherever possible it should be present the Common Core provides a level playing field. One of the responsibilities of the Board is to approve curriculums. To the extent that individual Board members have the qualifications necessary to opine on such matters, I would suggest they do so. Education is a profession and should be left largely to those qualified professionals to propose, justify and defend individual curriculums. The Board's obligation therefrom is to approve those curriculums in the best interest of the students. Possible changes to the curriculum could include more emphasis on critical thinking skills and abilities. Teaching students not what to think, but rather how to think.
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