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posted: 12/2/2013 1:59 PM

Leaders begin work at U-46's advisory council inaugural meeting

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Submitted by U-46

Elgin Area School District U-46 recently hosted its first meeting of the newly created Business & Civic Leadership Advisory Council at the district's Educational Services Center in Elgin.

Approximately 35 business and community leaders attended the meeting, offering a wide range of input and expertise about how the district can experience continued improvement.

"At U-46, we value our community partnerships and believe they can make a powerful impact in our schools," said Superintendent Josť M. Torres. "We want to capitalize on the wealth of expertise, knowledge and resources that our business and community leaders have to offer and we will put their input into play to make U-46 a better place."

Chaired by Michael Bleke of AXA Advisors, LLC, the council was created to facilitate business and community involvement in U-46, provide assistance with strategic planning, participate in advocacy work and provide assistance in developing resources.

"I have been part of the U-46 community for nine years; now to give back and help launch this council is very exciting for me," Bleke said. "I intend to help develop a council that can be instrumental in assisting Dr. Torres and the district work toward their strategic goals for years to come. During last week's meeting, I saw a room full of leaders who share my excitement to make a difference in U-46."

"It was a great start and we had very productive conversations about how to increase parent involvement," said John Celmer, who works at Hilton Worldwide and has children who attend Eastview and Prairieview in Bartlett. "I am interested in exploring further how we change the mindset of parents who are quick to criticize U-46, but slow to get involved in their child's school. I enjoyed hearing the passion Dr. Torres has for making U-46 a stronger district and learning about the strides that are already being made."

"I was impressed that so many people from our business and civic arena turned out for the meeting. We all need to pull together to do what's in the best interest of children and caring adults in our schools because that's our future," said Rodney Craig, mayor of Hanover Park. "I'm a great advocate to create an environment where all children are capable of success. "

Others who attended include: Michael Baggot, RNBK; Lynne Bosley, United Way of Elgin; Jeffrey Burton, KJWW Engineering Consultants; Carlos Chavez, Renz Center; Maria Dierking, Mechanical Inc.; Emma Eschenfeldt, Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois; Amy Feely, Bartlett Chamber of Commerce; Jennifer Ford, Gail Borden Public Library; Jaime Garcia, Centro de Informacion; Carol Gieske, Elgin Chamber of Commerce; Howell Granger, AXA Advisors; Yvonne Irving, KCT Credit Union; Larry Jones, village of South Elgin; Jeff Julian, Elgin Community College; Susana Mangriotis, marketing; Bill McLeod, Mayor of Hoffman Estates; Kiarra Miles, Illinois Department of Human Services; Ronald Mitchell, Sedgwick; Cherie Murphy, city of Elgin; Gary O'Rourke, village of Streamwood; Rose Reinert, Greater Elgin Family Care Center; Juan Rodriguez, Joyeria Eclipse; Maxwell Sachs, AXA Advisors; John Sias, Edward Jones; Sue Wielunski; and U-46 staff members Tony Sanders, Patrick Mogge, Carol DePue and Sue Smith.

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