2014 readers choice results
Article updated: 2/22/2013 6:28 PM

Sandra Ficke-Bradford: Candidate Profile

Barrington Unit District 220 School Board (4-year Terms)

Sandra Ficke-Bradford, running for Barrington Unit District 220 School Board (4-year Terms)

Sandra Ficke-Bradford, running for 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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Barrington

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Barrington Unit District 220 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 45

Family: Married 20 years this year 3 children in Barrington schools

Occupation: Director of Operations, Law Department Motorola Solutions, Inc. 17 years

Education: Six Sigma Black Belt, Motorola Solutions, 2005 Masters of Science, Engineering Management, Northwestern University, 1999 Bachelor of Science, Industrial Engineering Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 1990

Civic involvement: Co-Leader of Enrollment Monitoring Committee, 2006-2008 Sub-Committee of Barrington 220 Board of Education Futures Committee, Barrington United Methodist Church, 2004-2005 Building Committee Member and Head of Interiors Sub-Committee, 2000-2003 Barrington United Methodist Church

Elected offices held: Secretary Board of Education, 2012-2013 Board of Education Member, 2009-2012 Barrington 220 School District

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Academic Excellence Enhancing and maintaining Barrington 220 Educational Programs is my primary objective. Barrington 220 school district has a strong history of providing excellent education. The programs offered currently serve more than 9000 students with diverse needs and backgrounds, while also maintaining reduced class size. The programs need to be continuously evaluated and reviewed to meet the individual needs of each student to support the mission of "Inspiring all learners to achieve excellence". These programs define our district and augment our property values. Most of us moved to the Barrington area because of the excellent reputation of our schools. The Board should aspire to continued academic excellence, while also keeping their eye on the budget.

Key Issue 2

Fiscal Responsibility Being fiscally responsible and maintaining a balanced budget is an equally important objective. During these economic times, it is important for the Board of Education to stay aware of any legislation or potential budget impacts. Recent discussions in Springfield regarding changes in the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) and other budget reductions need to be monitored and plans made to prevent threats to thriving District programs.

Key Issue 3

Sound Decision Making Evaluating each matter objectively, thoroughly with relevant data is my continuing purpose. As a Board member, it is essential to consider all stakeholders: the community, the staff and especially the students when making decisions.

Questions & Answers

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 Barrington 220 Board of Education has a AAA Standard & Poors bond rating and has kept a balanced budget for more than 12 years. The Board constantly watches external budget impacts. In recent years amidst the budgetary pressures, has made cuts to maintain a balanced budget, while also adding staff in critical places to maintain academic excellence. The district should also continue its proactive engagement with State legislature to keep them apprised of how pending legislation could impact Barrington 220.

How should the district balance the providing of unique programs or classes with being fiscally conservative?

The District must keep academic excellence while being fiscally responsible. The Board should continue to push the administration to find additional ways to reduce costs outside of the classrooms. The District should also persist in monitoring activities in Springfield and Washington DC in order to provide adequately planning in each budget cycle. As necessary, the Board should provide ways for the community to be engaged in creative solutions to help preserve unique programs and small class size.

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?

The key to success in any working relationship is transparency and trust. While there is always room for improvement, the working relationship in Barrington 220 is positive. The District has taken several measures in the past few years to increase transparency and trust, including the introduction of the District Dashboard and improved communications. The current Board is dedicated to continuous improvement in this area.

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?

At this time, I do not think redistricting is a primary concern. When student population increases, the Board will need to potentially address re-districting. The elementary boundaries were re-drawn a few years ago. This exercise utilized the Enrollment Monitoring Committee which was comprised of 33 community members that worked with the community and ultimately made a recommendation to the Board. In my opinion, the Enrollment Monitoring Committee was very effective as the community was involved and informed throughout the entire process.

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 holding the nation to a higher set of standards is good. In Barrington 220, we are already recognized nationally buy Newsweek and rank high in the State of Illinois. Assessing our curriculum and developing new curriculum to meet the Common Core will help teachers and parents understand not just what the students need to learn, but also why it is important. The standards are based on input from teachers, administrators and other experts and include benchmarking nationally and internationally. The Barrington 220 administration has been working towards development of new curriculum in the elementary level for the past few years based on the parameters set by the Board of Education. The Board should continue to be involved in the timeline of the rollout and ensuring the parameters are met. As a unit district, I believe Barrington 220 should be able to roll out the Common Core Standards more effectively and efficiently.

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