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.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Antioch District 34 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: I am happily married with two children in District 34 schools.
Occupation: I've spent my 24 year career in the pharmaceutical industry, with a variety of roles from Analytical Chemist to Information Technology Program Manager. In my current role, I run a Data Privacy Program for a Fortune 100 Medical Products company.
Education: I hold Bachelor's degrees in Chemistry and in Business, and I have completed approximately 30 hours of Master's level coursework in Business Administration. I also hold certifications in Project Management and Information Privacy.
Civic involvement: I am actively involved in District 34 PTO activities, and am a classroom volunteer in the district each week. I also recently served on the Strategic Planning Committee for District 34. This committee's purpose was to provide the key focus areas for the district's 5 year plan. In prior years I was an active volunteer for The Super Jake Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping cure pediatric cancer. My husband and I are also United Way of Lake County Pillars, and have been so for many years.
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
Key Issue 2
Health and safety of the district's children
Key Issue 3
District transparency and communication
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 move to the Common Core Standards is critical to the district's success, and the move could not come at a more opportune time. The district has already recognized that the existing curriculum needs significant improvement, as evidenced by the Strategic Plan that was published last year. The issuance of the Common Core Standards, and particularly the fast track issuance of the most recent standard (science) gives the district the foundation it needs to do this curriculum modification once, and do it right. This effort is complex, but I believe that it must be done quickly to get today's students where they need to be when they leave District 34. During the past several years, the district has undertaken the changes necessary to prepare for an effort of this magnitude. I believe that the district has the talented and dedicated teachers and administration necessary to succeed. It will be the role of the Board of Education going forward to ensure that the curriculum changes are aggressively prioritized and implemented, and that the curriculum content and deployment is effective. To accomplish this, the Board must also ensure that accurate, timely data is available to the Board, administrators, teachers and parents so that meaningful in-process adjustments can be made (where needed) to ensure successful alignment and roll-out. Implementing a formal, frequent reporting process for Strategic Plan goal progress would help to ensure that the Board consistently understands how the district is tracking to the critical goals.
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?
Unfortunately, the district's data indicates that the students leaving District 34 are not adequately prepared for high school. Per the district's 2010-2011 data: - 41% of district students did not meet math growth expectations - 36% of district students did not meet reading growth expectations - 67% of 8th grade students did not meet high school readiness standards 2011-2012 Explore data showed a slightly improved high school readiness percentile of 61% not meeting the standard. Additionally, for the first semester of this school year, 69% of the children at Antioch Upper Grade (700 of approximately 1012) were on the honor role. How is it possible that a large percentage of children who are being recognized for their excellent school performance do not even meet the high school readiness criteria? When I look at these two disparate data points- 69% of upper grade students on the honor role, yet 61% leaving the district do not meet the readiness criteria, it becomes obvious that there is a dire need for change in the district. I believe that the learning gap here is primarily related to the curriculum content. This is not a problem related to a group of teachers, a particular school or a subset of students. It is a pervasive district issue that can only be addressed by improving the depth, rigor and continuity of the district's curriculum. A district can have world class teachers, and the finest facilities, but if the curriculum is inadequate the resultant education will also be inadequate.
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?
The Board of Education plays a key role in assuring that the district is financially viable, and has the resources needed to attract and retain high quality staff. Historically, District 34 has done an excellent job demonstrating fiscal responsibility, as evidenced by the district's AA credit rating. Fortunately, because of this District 34 is in a much better position financially than many of the neighboring districts. Maintaining this fiscal strategy is imperative to assure the continued success and viability of the district, particularly in light of the uncertainty of continued state funding. Going forward I would like to see the Board take a more active role in partnering with local government, helping to attract businesses to the area to provide an additional tax base for the district. Growing the commercial tax base not only adds jobs to the area, but provides revenue for the schools without placing additional burden on the homeowners. I would also like to see the district work more proactively to utilize the resources that we already have available. For example, the district did an extensive volunteer inventory two years ago. I'd like to see us utilize some of that talent pool more strategically, for activities like identifying and writing grant proposals to bring external resources into the district. I would also like to see the district implement low cost, high value enrichment programs, like Illinois Math and Science Academy's Fusion program, to further enhance the district's move to the Common Core Standards.
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?
The district's top priority must be providing a quality education, a goal that cannot be accomplished without offering compensation that is competitive enough to attract and retain an excellent teaching staff. Asking for concessions from employees should be approached only when there is no other viable alternative that will allow the district to continue to remain solvent and provide a quality education.
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?
No, I do not support pension manipulation.