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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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Office sought: Antioch District 34 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married to my husband Scott and together we have 3 boys. Robbie 10, Charlie 7, and Jack 4.
Occupation: I currently am a Teacher/Service Learning Coordinator in Northbrook School District 31. I teach at the middle school level and have been an educator for 17 years.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Education, Northern Illinois University, 1995 Masters in Educational Leadership and Administration, NIU, 2001 + 38 hours of Post Graduate hours in the areas of Special Education and Psychology
Civic involvement: Member of St. Peter's Church Asst. Den Leader, Cub Scouts Pack 191 Outdoor Classroom Committee, District 34, Antioch Volunteer for District 34 (varied school sponsored activities)
Elected offices held: none
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: no
Key Issue 1
Making sure that within the next few years, Antioch classrooms will be transitioned into "21st Century Clasrooms" in terms of technology, content, and learning skill sets. This essentially means that when our children graduate from high school and college, they will be completely ready to join the global work force feeling fully prepared and having mastered all the proper skill sets: technology, content area learning, social emotional, and problem solving. This will mean proper training for teachers as well as time for them to develop or newly "remodel" their curriculum to meet the "21st Century Classroom" needs. I would like District 34 to be recognized as a top district in Lake County and the State and to keep up the current trend of rising ISAT and MAP scores.
Key Issue 2
In order to transition into "21st Century Classrooms", it will involve taking a look at our facilities. There has already been a lot of work done by the District in this area and several meetings have already been held to discuss how we currently utilize our buildings and grounds. I also know that the final recommendations that the hired firm and school board may suggest will impact the community in terms of a possible referendum and tax levy increase. It is my goal to make sure that if we do move forward as a school district with changing over to neighborhood schools, using our classrooms more innovatively and possibly building new schools, we have exhausted all efficiency cuts as best as possible. The economy has had an impact on every family and money is tight. While I understand new facilities and equipment are a must, it is going to involve a lot of creative financing and efficiently using the tax payers money to ensure that we squeeze every cent as far as it will go within our district to benefit not only our students - but to have the least amount of burden on the taxpayer.
Key Issue 3
Candidate did not respond.
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 believe the newly adopted Common Core Standards was a positive move on the Illinois State Board of Education's part. These more rigorous standards were created with the help of teachers, administrators and education experts who took their "cue" from high achieving countries. The expectation is to make sure that students will be "job ready" upon graduation. There are a clear set of grade level standards that will make teaching easier for educators and lets parents know the academic expectations for their child and what they will accomplish for that school year. The job of the board will be in supporting teachers to make any shifts or adjustments in their curriculum and how they may go about teaching the new Common Core Standards. This may involve workshops, conferences, time for curriculum writing and support in outfitting our classrooms to be "21st Century" ready. There will undoubtedly be some shift in the curriculum, and it will take time to adjust to the new standards. However, the innovative and creative ways that teachers go about teaching will always be constant. Teachers are committed to making sure that their students will be nothing but successful.
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?
I have found District 34 to have made wonderful strides in the last 10 years. Test scores are way up from 2000 and teachers are working harder than ever to ensure their students are successful. However, there has been a clear shift in how students learn...especially these past 10-15 years. Parents will notice that many times their own kids know how to figure something out on a computer or set up a new piece of technology far better than they can. The way students research, learn from books, even to how they type their papers is far different from when we were in school. We have to be able to support the district in transitioning to how students are learning by outfitting the schools with the proper technology and teacher training. If we don't, our students sadly will not be prepared to adapt to the ever changing job market which will require them to be skill set ready. I'm not prepared or willing to let other districts pass us by. Even though we may not have the money that some other districts may have - I'm willing to find creative and innovative ways to get our district at even par with any other progressive and forward thinking 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?
I know that the top area to tackle in our district will be the issue of how we are using our facilities and the current state of our facilities. In order for us to transitioning to the "21st Century Classroom" , we will without a doubt need to make cuts. It will be important to look at efficiency cuts first...the little things that we can do to help save money, and with those savings....shift it elsewhere. I'm also a big believer in looking to outside sources for revenue. There are still a lot of grants available from not only the state, but quite a few private and public corporations. Currently, I am working on the Outdoor Classroom Committee at Hillcrest School with a wonderful team of members. The $100,000 dollar classroom space which will be usable for the whole district, and will be funded almost entirely by outside donors and grants. When completed, it will be a "one of a kind" outdoor learning facility that is truly second to none in Lake County. It takes motivated and creative stakeholders to find ways in order to get these types of projects done. None of us want programming cut or for band and sports to go away. We need to keep all those things in place in order for our students to be well rounded and privy to any experience they might want to become involved in. I would do my best to help support outside funding and to see that the district is using the tax payers money to the best of its ability. Of course no one wants to see tax increases, but it would take a "last resort" to want to put a levy increase on the ballot.
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?
Contract talks have been extremely rough for many districts throughout the state. The economy has dictated how some districts have responded and several of them have made salary and benefit concessions already. The question is for how long? That will depend on sound district financial practices. I think it is fair to ask for concessions in some cases, but if that is to be, administrators and all district employees alike need to be willing to make equal concessions. Nobody wants a pay cut or freeze, but when all district employees alike are asked to concede, many times the district will work its hardest to find ways to regain reasonable raises through creative and good financial practices.
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?
If my districts superintendent or administrator were nearing retirement and a substantial pay increase was asked from them, I would not support such an inflated increase. Of all district employees, superintendents and administrators are paid the most handsomely. While their job does require extended education and a certain knowledge base, I feel their salary is already reflective of their education and does not need an additional "boost" before retirement.