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updated: 2/22/2013 6:21 PM

Jeanne Engelkemeir: Candidate Profile

Hawthorn District 73 School Board (4-year Terms)

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  • Jeanne Engelkemeir, running for Hawthorn District 73 School Board (4-year Terms)

    Jeanne Engelkemeir, running for Hawthorn District 73 School Board (4-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: Vernon Hills

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Hawthorn District 73 School Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 53

Family: Husband, Greg, American Airlines Pilot; 9-year-old girl/boy twins, Brianna & Parker, 3rd grade Dual Language students; Rescues:Mustang yearling, "Caramel Fire"; Chihuhua-mix, "Manchas"; cats, "Bijou", "Nick", "Lady Chat"; Mini-Rex Rabbit "Mr. Nibbles".

Occupation: Certified teacher.(1980's -2012: Montessori school, middle school, H.S., alternative H.S., community college, university; Chicago, suburban Chicago, abroad; English, ESL,TESOL, Oral Com, Lit. French (AP), Art, CrossCultural Stud.) French Translator.

Education: MLS French, Lake Forest College 2011 MAT Secondary Ed, National-Louis University 2002 MAT ESL (all coursework)School for International Training 1997 MA Interdisciplinary Arts Educ, Columbia College 1988 BS International Studies/CrossCultCom, SIT 1982

Civic involvement: Kindergarten - present: Hawthorn Room Parent Coordinator, Classroom parent assistant, Field Trip Chaperone, Art Adventure Volunteer. AFS (American Field Service) Student Exchange Program (former host family, former high school student abroad), Girl Scouts (former Troop Leader), Wild Horses/Mustang Advocate, Homeless Pets Advocate, ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Member, WIF (Women in French) Member, CHICTA (Chicago Area Translators and Interpreters) Member, ALTA (American Literary Translators Association) Member, MLA (Modern Languages Association) Member, AATF (American Association of Teachers of French) Member. 1993-95 State of Illinois Art Gallery Education Consultant 1990-93 The Art Institute of Chicago Teacher Advisory Board Member 1997-98 Korea TESOL National 2nd Vice President 1997-98 Korea TESOL JALT (Japanese Association of Language Teachers) & ThaiTESOL (Thailand) Liaison 1996-98 Korea TESOL TEC (The English Connection) Newsmagazine Cofounder & Editorial Board Member 1996-98 Korea TESOL TECCultural Corner? andName That Member? Columns Creator and Editor 1996-98 Pan Asia Planning Committee Member (Japan, Korea, & Thailand cosponsoring Pan Asian Conferences) 1996 Korea TESOL Pusan Chapter First Annual Mini-Conference Co-organizer and Cofounder 1996-98 Pusan National University Faculty Advisor Korea TESOL Drama Team

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: N/A

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Continue the strong educational opportunities for all our District 73 students, and being sure our resources are fairly spread amongst different student/program needs. We don't want to just service "the middle" which leaves us nowhere. But "fairly" means addressing "higher learning/"talented", "special needs/needing aides", "dual language", etc.

Key Issue 2

Work together with all school board members to continue the outstanding learning experiences our children currently enjoy and are challenged with by our excellent teaching and support staff. Continue making sure the goals set by school board members are reached, especially keeping in mind goals as set and pulled from the "Future Search" weekend several years ago, I was most fortunate able to take part in to dissect and reassemble and reflect upon our district goals and where we are and going forward with them all!

Key Issue 3

Act as a voice for our community in assuring the above two issues remain solid and continue to grow even more so, with all our children's best interest always primary, especially by way of supported top notch teaching and in school staff.

Questions & Answers

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?

Our District 73 school board does not set curriculum but rather sets goals, provides resources, and measures, to assure that all our district schools are meeting the common core standards set by the state of Illinois, under the leadership of the superintendent, as implemented by the teaching and support staff. I believe the board of education should carry on in this manner to assure that all our children are being equally served, be it by assuring supplemental help and assistance or by greater challenge and higher level stimulation for all district students.

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?

We are fortunate to have teachers who LOVE our students, and provide for them on the "front lines" day in and day out. We as school board members want to always improve our funding and assessment styles so as to fairly measure learning made by our students of various learning styles and backgrounds, so that they all continue to do well and exceed even more so, to be successful in all aspects of their lives. The "No Child Left Behind" policy, predecessor to the current AYP policy, has had the "best of intentions" for some, but in reality, has to be understood, so that parents, students, and community members realize there is no need to panic, mistakenly fearing that their school is suddenly "failing" them. The school board has already just implemented a task force to investigate what's going on specifically in which areas of the AYP compliance with our different schools. With thoughtful reflective thinking, critical problem skills shall allow us to properly access and improve upon and tweak our schools where necessary to meet state standards, while still allowing for the individual growth and achievement of each of our totally unique students. We are not a cookie cutter school, or state or country or world -- nor can we measure ourselves or anyone else as such. But by balancing the external "norms" of measurement in place, while accounting for the differences in learning styles and experiences of our vastly multi-cultured student body we can and we shall create an educational learning arena in which each of our students shall pass successfully onto whatever next phase of their life is beckoning. One example, would be with dual language, and the need for extending their program up through the middle school, so as to not have these students lose all their dual language immersion learning from grades K-5 -- have the kids fall into a great hole for the next three middle years -- and then try to pick back up in high school. This dual language middle school continuation is a priority and must to best service these students' continuing learning. Special needs children -- those children whose learning would most strongly benefit by the state mandated "least restrictive environment" -- what about an aide for those children who could mainstream with the assistance of an aide? This is another area of critical investigation for assurance we are not failing these students in our district.

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?

Without specific numbers in front of me at this time, I can only say, that as Nick Brown, the new superintendent had said during his round of interviews, of which I was gladly selected as a community member volunteer, "We need to be creative and think outside the box. As long as the student is the first priority, how we service each and every student, that is how we decide finances. Making choices having the least immediate impact on that child."

As contract talks come up with various school employee groups, do you believe the district should ask for concessions from its employees, expect employee costs to stay about the same as they are now or provide increases in pay or benefits?

Again, as long as that common goal is the benefit to FAIRLY servicing ALL our district children, we make decisions with that as the over-arching guide, difficult choices line-up and fall into place. Obviously, having been a teacher for so many years myself, in a wealth of different learning environments, I am quite familiar with the many challenges and needs of a good teacher to solidly be there for her students. Also, as a former Fine and Performing Arts Coordinator at one of my high school positions, I was responsible for overseeing the budgets of our different arts programs, and balancing the needs and wants of the different teacher sponsors with their available funds for their students. So, again, the most intelligent, sympathetic, and empathetic way of working one's way through these potentially challenging issues, is to honestly and genuinely "speak and listen from the heart" (as one model of conflict resolution training "lingo" provides) while being open to all realities and concerns while creatively, as Nick had said, thinking outside the box, to make it still fit within the parameters of set district learning goals.

If your district had a superintendent or other administrator nearing retirement, would you support a substantial increase in his or her pay to help boost pension benefits? Why or why not?

Wooo! Off hand, that would have to be a rather big N.O. Again, I'd be willing and have to look at all circumstances involved, but heck, our goal is our children. Not lining the pockets of the administrators who yes, worked diligently (ideally) for our kids -- and our future -- all of ours -- but that with no other information in this raw question format as presented here, would be, "I think not!"