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posted: 3/31/2017 5:30 AM

Lake Zurich District 95 candidates offer their top issues

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  • Upper from left, Kathy Brown, Eileen Maloney and Scott McConnell and, lower from left, Vasili Russis, Andrea Trudeau and Lisa Warren are candidates for Lake Zurich Unit District 95 school board.

    Upper from left, Kathy Brown, Eileen Maloney and Scott McConnell and, lower from left, Vasili Russis, Andrea Trudeau and Lisa Warren are candidates for Lake Zurich Unit District 95 school board.

 
 

Six candidates have different issues they'd want to tackle if elected to the Lake Zurich Unit District 95 board in Tuesday's election.

Incumbents Scott McConnell, Eileen Maloney, Lisa Warren and Kathy Brown are competing with political newcomers Vasili Russis and Andrea Trudeau. The six candidates are competing for four 4-year seats.

All of the candidates participated in Daily Herald candidate endorsement interviews and answered questionnaires on the issues.

Russis alluded to the Forward 95 strategic planning process that included feedback from employees, parents and others last year. He said concerns expressed by teachers would be an issue for him on the board.

"It is the board's responsibility to make sure to communicate with staff and understand their concerns so we can advocate for our children and their curriculum," said Russis, a 50-year-old lawyer and a certified public accountant from Hawthorn Woods,

Brown, 52, of Hawthorn Woods, a teacher first elected to the board in 2005, said she wants the district to continue an effort to increase technology in the elementary schools. She also said she would want to direct more money toward science, technology, engineering, arts and math initiatives and programs, known as STEAM, for all grade levels.

Trudeau, 40, a Kildeer resident who is a library information specialist at Alan B. Shepard Middle School in Deerfield, said she's passionate about bringing to District 95 more innovative instruction, which she describes as engaging and authentic with a project-based and personalized approach to student learning.

"Students should be encouraged to be self-directed learners with an innovator's mindset who are provided with opportunities each and every day to curate and create, collaborate and communicate with others, think critically and demonstrate their creativity in a variety of ways," Trudeau said.

McConnell, 44, of Kildeer, a managing technology director of Allstate Investments who was appointed to the school board in 2012, said he wants to ensure District 95's finances remain sound. He said the district must be prepared if state lawmakers shift employee pension costs to suburban school districts, enact a property tax freeze or change the state aid formula.

"While the district is well-managed and is prepared to meet these challenges should they occur, it is imperative that the school board is populated by individuals who have the background and ability to ensure that the district's administration is appropriately managing its finances," McConnell said.

Maloney, a 52-year-old attorney from Lake Zurich, identified an issue based on the opinions the district received during the Forward 95 process. She pointed to teachers' concern about morale problems due to an expectation of handling simultaneous initiatives without adequate time, training or follow‑up support to be successful.

"The administration is taking active steps to address this concern, but given the amount of Forward 95 participants that identified it as a weakness, it certainly warrants attention," Maloney said.

Warren, 51, a homemaker and volunteer from Kildeer appointed to the school board in 2012, said she would want to continue supporting the Forward 95 strategic planning process. She said Forward 95 has provided information and insight beneficial to the community and district officials.

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