Kelly Pinter: 2023 Candidate for School District 95 Board Member


Town: Lake Zurich

Age on Election Day: 41

Occupation: Senior Lecturer of Criminal Justice and Sociology

Employer: Carroll University

Previous offices held: None


Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?

A: I was born and raised in Lake Zurich and I am now raising my children here. I am 100% dedicated to this town and these schools. I believe that schools have the ability to not only prepare future generations for adulthood, but they can also bring community members together. I think that confident kids who are in spaces that value them have an easier time learning and a culture like that leads to safer schools and high teacher and staff retention. I want our children to attend schools where they get excited to learn about cultures that might be unlike than their own, while also knowing that they can safely be who they are in the halls of each District 95 school. I want to help foster a welcoming environment in all of our schools.

Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?

A: It is the role of the school board to ensure the curriculum prepares the children in the district for lives after graduation while making sure that tax dollars are spent wisely. I will be working with experts in various fields and leaning on my experience as an educator to help guide me with curriculum concerns. I think it's important to listen to experienced teachers about what they think is crucial for young people to learn in their classrooms. At the same time, I will always have a focus on equity and preparing young people for the global world that they will encounter in college, the trades, or their careers.

Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?

A: District 95 has a very strong curriculum. Our school leaders and students have proven this with the high rankings that they consistently earn. Even so, there is always room for improvement. I think we could prepare our young people more for the global society that they will encounter upon graduation. I want to ensure that teachers are aware of the importance of an inclusive curriculum. We live in a very global society and we need to continue to improve on the curriculum and help the students build bridges across cultures and viewpoints.

Q: How do you view your role in confronting policy or curriculum controversies: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents - even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?

A: I am not afraid to stand up for what is fair and ethical, even if I am the only one doing so. Being a leader is not always about doing what is popular, but it is about doing what is moral for the greater good. I do think that it is important to give a voice to diverse groups of constituents, but I will always make every decision with the viewpoint that children are ultimately influenced by my decisions. Every child deserves to be seen and feel valued within our district. They deserve to be safe and for the school board to keep the focus on them.

Q: Concerns are growing regarding a new resurgence of the pandemic. If another massive outbreak of infectious disease occurs, what have we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that will guide your decision making?

A: It's important that we follow the guidance of experts in the field of infectious disease. Additionally, we need to follow the laws regarding pandemics in our district to protect our schools from liability. The district has developed a system for dealing with changing circumstances, but I am always willing to listen to what constitutions think.

Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage school district policy? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions of your school board.

A: I work at a university and am on multiple committees that determine academic policy. I have always been open-minded and have focused on doing extensive research to answer policy questions. I realize that my own experiences might be very different from other people, so I review literature from diverse groups. I look at policies from various perspectives and think deeply about how a policy I make could influence the people who are affected by that policy. I also think open communication is key to policy creation and I always welcome views from community members, students, and teachers. When working in groups, I believe everyone should be respected and heard. This approach is effective because everyone feels comfortable contributing to the conversation.

Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?

A: I have a unique perspective to add to the board as a graduate of the District 95 K-12 school system. I am also an educator at the college level as well as a parent of two children in D95 schools. I recognize that each child is unique and that all kids can succeed as long as we value their differences. As an educator of criminal justice and sociology where I teach future police officers and attorneys, I have a deep understanding of safety. I think that we need to prevent bullying and provide an inclusive culture in order to have the safest schools. We also need a strong curriculum that includes a focus on teaching children about a global society so that they are prepared for their lives in college, in their careers, or in trade school.

Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?

A: I would love to expand the use of the high school greenhouse. It's wonderful that it has been used for the Life Skills and Transitional Programs but I think it could also be incorporated into more hands on learning for some STEAM classrooms. It is also a space that could bring folks from various walks of life together to learn about sustainability and to connect with one another. In addition to the plant sale that already occurs, I would love to create a program where we donate extra plants to community members who face food insecurity. The greenhouse could truly be an educational space that brings people together but also teaches children about important local and global issues.

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