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updated: 2/22/2013 6:26 PM

Rise Jones: Candidate Profile

Elgin Community College School Board (6-year Terms)

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  • Rise Jones, running for Elgin Community College School Board (6-year Terms)

    Rise Jones, running for Elgin Community College School Board (6-year Terms)




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: Elgin

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Elgin Community College School Board (6-year Terms)

Age: 46

Family: Single

Occupation: Evaluator/Social Scientist, Evaluation Solutions; Executive Director, Hamilton Wings (area arts-based, youth development nonprofit)

Education: B.S. in Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, 1998 M.S., Public Management and Policy, Public Policy Analysis, Carnegie Mellon University, 1990 Ph.D., Public Policy Analysis, Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1995

Civic involvement: Singer at Various Local Charitable Events Hamilton Wings (national and local award winning including Elgin Image Award), Executive Director/Program Facilitator Local Performing Artist YWCA Volunteer Enhancing Elgin Committee Member, Elgin Chamber of Commerce Read to Succeed Volunteer, School District U-46 African American Advisory Committee 2013 Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award nominee 2011 YWCA Elgin Leader Luncheon Harriet Gifford Education Award Recipient ECC Lasting Impact Award Recipient 1998 Outstanding Young Women of Elgin

Elected offices held: None

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

As a member of the Board of Trustees, my primary responsibility will be to ensure that Elgin Community College continues to be one of District 509's best investments in its own future. The position of Elgin Community College is truly a success story, especially given the financial conditions of the State of Illinois. However, it is the State's outlook along with the Trustees? ongoing responsibility to balance the interests of taxpayers, students, the College community and the community at large, that will fuel my vigilance and forward thinking in all policy and fiscal decisions.

Key Issue 2

I am committed to and passionate about success for all students. My personal and professional mission is the same as Elgin Community College's mission: to improve people's lives through learning. Every day, I have a front row seat to the profound, positive impact that education can have in transforming people's lives and the life of the community at large. I support initiatives likeAchieving the Dream? and the Alliance for Academic Readiness. Additionally, theachievement gap? and the success/completion rate particularly among black and Latino students represent someunfinished business? that I have grappled with first-hand. I support and will support initiatives at Elgin Community College to address educational disparities.

Key Issue 3

Personally and professionally I am committed tocommunity building.? I will work to ensure that Elgin Community College continues to be a good neighbor and community partner. As a Trustee, I will continue to be active in the District 509 community keeping an eye to how the College can best serve and partner. This idea of community building extends to the readiness of students tohit the ground running? upon degree or certificate completion. On a policy level, I will work to ensure that individuals who take advantage of opportunities available at the College are able to thrive and contribute and are not left burdened with excessive debt. Therefore, I support initiatives like the College's financial counseling to improve the outlook for graduating students and the communities affected by their potential contributions.

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?

One of the strengths that I bring to the position of Trustee is my research background. My training and profession are geared toward using the data to make informed decisions. As Trustee, I support initiatives on two fronts designed to ensure responsible management of time sensitive demands on the Institution. I will be active in the reviewing reports from: 1. the analysis of human resource policies and practices; and 2. employment and industry trend data from the College's recently purchased software (EMSI Analyst Tool). As Trustee, I am responsible for ensuring that policies are in place to ensure qualified personnel are being efficiently and effectively placed and that policy affecting course work is responsive to both community and business interests.

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?

Although tuition has increased slightly, it still remains one of the greatest personal investments a person and family can make in their futures. I was raised in a family whereeducation? was one of the greatest values and was always taught that an education is something that can never be taken from you. Ultimately, the value of any educational opportunity is what a student puts into it. However, as a Trustee, my job will be to ensure that the College is allocating its resources responsibly so that it can provide the highest quality education; implement best practices and policies in educational and career counseling; and, maintain relationships in the community with businesses and industry to ensure that the education a person receives is relevant and positions him/her to be successful in their chosen profession.

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

As a lifelong resident of Elgin and a property owner in Kane County, I take tax concerns very seriously. The factors weighed in a tax rate increase decision would include the overall benefit to District 509, the employment opportunities represented by the College (not only in on-campus employment but jobs to local contractors), an equitable balance with tuition increase, and the economic and social benefit of existing and possibly expanded educational opportunities for the overall community.

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?

The College's reach is strong in various communities in District 509. One challenge for the College is how to best convey its value over other educational options in a highly competitive market. This case is particularly true with regard to competing messages from many for-profit institutions with large marketing budgets. Although a viable option for some, for many, these educational options prove costly because of hidden costs and long-term debt incurred by students. The College needs to continue to appeal to interests of individuals wanting to better themselves and their life situations the recent high school graduate, the first generation college student, the displaced worker, and the baby boomer needing to re-tool and re-enter the workforce. ECC needs to continue to demonstrate the long-term cost effectiveness and value of its education. The best way to do this is through the sharing of success stories of diverse graduates from ECC's graduate and certificate programs.

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.

I am a strong supporter of the Community College as a gateway to individual, family, and community learning and success. As a credit/non-credit student, as a patron of the arts at ECC, and as a community partner, I have been actively involved in the Elgin Community College life and community since high school. I am eager to support ECC's long-standing tradition as a leader in providing high quality learning opportunities that are community responsive and reflective and in supporting the College's multi-layered effects on individual students? lives, on their families and on our local economy, citizenry and community life. In December 2012, following an interview and review of my credentials, I was appointed by the ECC Board of Trustees to fill the five-month vacancy created when John Dalton was elected judge. I believe that my background as an evaluator and co-founder/executive director of an area non-profit (Hamilton Wings) and my doctorate in public policy analysis position me to be a strong candidate in the upcoming election for a six year seat. I have had extensive experience with outcome measurement and in supporting continuous improvement efforts through the use of data and evidence, and I have a deep appreciation for and understanding of the importance of accountability to stakeholders, fiscal responsibility, community engagement and mission-driven work. And as a member of a family of educators, I am committed to creating nurturing environments where educators can do what they do best and students are motivated to learn.